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(CONTENDING IDEAS in WESTERN EUROPE – continued)

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CONTENDING IDEAS in WESTERN EUROPE (5 of 6)

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Aucassin and Nicolette

The Middle Ages was full of men wrestling with reason and their Christianity and their concern and approach to truth – their philosophy. Abelard and William of Ockham were among those whose wisdom would be respected in ages to come. And there were other rebels. One of them expressed his opposing attitude in a work called "Aucassin and Nicolette," a medieval French chante-fable, probably written in the 1200s. One part of it reads:

In Paradise what have I to do? I do not care to go there unless I may have Nicolette, my very sweet friend, whom I love so much. For to Paradise goes no one but such people as I will tell you of. There go old priests and old cripples and the maimed, who all day and all night crouch before altars and in old crypts, and are clothed with old worn-out capes and old tattered rags; who are naked and footbare and sore; who die of hunger and want and misery. These go to Paradise; with them I have nothing to do; but to Hell I am willing to go. For, to Hell go the fine scholars and the fair knights who die in tourneys and in glorious wars; and the good men-at-arms and the well-born. With them I will gladly go. And there go the fair courteous ladies whether they have two or three friends besides their lords. And the gold and silver go there, and the ermines and sables; and there go the harpers and jongleurs, and the kings of the world. With these will I go, if only I may have Nicolette, my very sweet friend, with me.

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