"Castles In Spain"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The English translation of Guillaume de Lorris's and Jean de Meun's Roman de la Rose exists in three fragments, A, B, and C, and comprises but a fraction of the French poem. Some critical opinion holds that Fragment B was not translated by Chaucer. The poet says that the lover should set his thoughts on loving and place his heart in but one place and never remove it. He should give his heart freely and gladly, but never show it to the world. When his beloved is absent he will mourn; he will constantly try to catch a sight of her. When he fails to see her, he will be in great sadness; when he does see her, his spirits will be immeasureably quickened. When he comes into her presence, he will be dumb, and afterwards he will reproach himself for not having spoken. Finally, night will come and the lover will have to make his sad way to his lonesome bed, there to dream he has her at his side, a situation as imaginary as building a Castle in Spain.

Thanne shall thee come a remembraunce
Of hir shap and hir semblaunce,
Whereto non other may be pere.
And wite thou wel, withoute were,
That thee shal seme, somtyme that nyght,
That thou hast hir, that is so bright,
Naked bitwene thyne armes there,
All sothfastnesse as though it were.
Thou shalt make castels thanne in Spayne,
And dreme of joye, all but in vayne,
And thee deliten of right nought,
While thou so slombrest in that thought,
That it so swete and delitable,
The which, in soth, nys but a fable;
For it ne shall no while laste.