Marie de France: Lai La Fresne (1362 words)



Composed in the early fourteenth century, c.1330, Lay le Freine is a close Middle English translation of Marie de France’s late twelfth century Lai le Fresne. The Middle English text retains the lay form, being composed of short couplets and comprising 408 lines (making it slightly shorter than the French poem, which is 518 lines). It was likely composed in south east England and is extant in a single manuscript, National Library of Scotland Advocates 19.2.1, or the Auchinleck manuscript.


Lay le Freine opens with two knights of the West Country who are great friends. The wife of the first knight gives birth to twin sons and both f…

Citation: Bolton, Kirsty. "Lai La Fresne". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 January 2021 [, accessed 24 October 2021.]

39376 Lai La Fresne 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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