This chapter analyzes a related central plank in Machaut's doctrine of courtly love: Hope. One of the most compact statements of the power of Hope to be found in Machaut's works occurs in a balade that appears only in the music section of his works: Esperance (B13). The balades preceding B13 in the music section culminate in Pour ce que tous (B12), whose self-conscious singer threatens to stop composing and singing songs, asserting repeatedly, “Je chant mains que ne sueil” (I sing less than I used to). B13 cures and cancels the despair of B12 with the introduction of the figure that forms its opening word: “Esperance” (Hope). The situation with respect to the lady remains unchanged: the lady of B13 similarly has not reciprocated, but the presence of Hope reconfigures the sorrow of B12 as joy and enables the composition and singing of balades (as well as the copying and reading of them) to continue.
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