Silence : A Twelfth Century French Romance

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Silence: a Thirteenth Century French Romance, was translated from the original Le Roman de Silence written in thirteenth century medieval Europe by a man known as Heldris de Cornwall. The actual name of the author remains unknown. The original manuscript for the poem was discovered in 1911 in Nottingham, translated, edited in 1960, and finally published in 1972 to be read by the public. This version of Silence is a facing page translation containing both the French and the English by Sarah Roche-Mahdi. The intended audience for this poem in unknown because the author is unknown, and it is unknown whether it was published when it was written. The poem is about a young girl, Silence, who is forced by her parents to live as a boy. She leaves her parents and sets out on adventures that eventually reveal her secret. The poem starts out with the life of Silence’s parents, Eufemie and Cador. Cador is a knight for King Evan of England, and Eufemie is the Daughter of Renald of Cornwall. Cador goes on a quest with his fellow knights when a dragon attacks and kills 30 of the men. The king says to the men that if anyone is valiant enough to kill this dragon, “[The king] will give him a county and [The king] will let him have his choice of any woman in the kingdom” (Mahdi, 19-21). Cador is the one to kill the dragon so King Evan grants him a county and the woman of his choosing. Cador was in love with a woman she was “the most beautiful girl in the world, and they called her Eufemie…

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