. In Love's Counting House by Charles d’Orléans (1394–1465) One day I asked my heart to heed A claim for pay that I commended, And we in secret soon agreed That he would tell, for pains expended In risky service, what descended To me as earnings from Love’s sweets. Most willingly he so intended, But said he should check his receipts. For full accounting, there was need To seek out charges that depended On many an older bond or deed, With their conditions then appended, And later, possibly, amended. Seeing how dark were those retreats, The reckoning he soon suspended, But said he should check his receipts. Quite sluggishly did he proceed, With idle hindrances attended, Till his success seemed guaranteed: There was a ledger that transcended Other liens of pelf pretended. My heart, exulting, quickened his beats, The princely prize to me extended, But said he should check his receipts. I wondered whether I might read, Or if his pride would be offended. “The task your powers may exceed,” He said, and throbbing, superintended Recital of the whole unmended Account of Love from balance sheets. Long hours, I saw, his speech portended, But said he should check his receipts. Rankled at last, I had to concede, “Never have I apprehended The hidden quagmires of Love’s greed, Or how young lovers are befriended, Though their interests are not tended In this trade of trumped up cheats.” My heart the wastage reprehended, But said he should check his receipts. In truth, my own heart comprehended Why I denounce Love’s suave deceits And paltry profits early ended, But said he should check his receipts. . French original Ung jour à mon cueur devisoye Qui en secret à moy parloit, Et en parlant lui demandoye Se point d’espargne fait avoit D’aucun bien, quant Amours servoit. Il me dist que tresvoulentiers La verité m’en compteroit, Mais qu’eust visité ses papiers. Quant ce m’eut dit, il print sa voye Et d’avecques moy se partoit, Après entrer je le véoye En ung comptouer qu’il avoit; Là deçà et delà queroit, En cherchant plusieurs vieux cayers, Car le vray monstrer me vouloit, Mais qu’eust visité ses papiers. Ainsi par ung temps l’atendoye. Tantost devers moy retournoit Et me monstra, dont j’euz grant joye, Ung livre qu’en sa main tenoit, Ou quel dedens escript portoit Ses faiz, au long et bien entiers, Desquelz informer me feroit Mais qu’eust visité ses papiers. Lors demanday se j’y liroye, Ou se mieulx lire lui plaisoit. Il dit que trop paine prendroye, Pour tant à lire commançait, Et puis gettoit et assommoit Le compte des biens et dangiers Tout à ung, vy que revendroit Mais qu’eust visité ses papiers. Lors dy: Jamais je ne cuidoye, Ne nul autre ne le croirait, Qu’en amer, où chascun s’employe, De prouffit n’eust plus grant exploit; Amours ainsi les gens deçoit, Plus ne m’aura en tel santiers. Mon cuer bien effacier pourroit, Mais qu’eust visité ses papiers. Amours savoir ne me devroit Mal gré se blasme ses metiers, Il verroit mon gaing bien estroit, Mais qu’eust visité ses papiers. . . Margaret Coats lives in California. She holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University. She has retired from a career of teaching literature, languages, and writing that included considerable work in homeschooling for her own family and others.