Marginal thinking: 17. Guillaume Godard

We have seen how out of the 26 verses in Dance aux Aveugles, the 23 have been reused in "La Vie de l'Homme". Douce writes about Dance aux aveugles on page 232. Then he goes on to mention a book that contains 23 verses from Aveugles with illustrations:

Godard: Death at the cemetery
Godard, Death

Some of the editions are ornamented with cuts, in which Death is occasionally introduced, and that portion of the work which exclusively relates to him seems to have been separately published, M. Goujet138 having mentioned that he had seen a copy in vellum, containing twelve leaves, with an engraving to every one of the stanzas, twenty-three in number. More is unnecessary to be added, as M. Peignot has elaborately and very completely handled the subject in his interesting "Recherches sur les Danses des Morts." Dijon, 1826. octavo.

(138) Biblioth. Franc. tom. x. p. 436.

(Francis Douce: The dance of death exhibited, 1833)

Border decoration from "la dance aux aveugles".
Blind death

This is Douce at his most frustrating. Did he really expect his readers to figure out what was meant by »Biblioth. Franc. tom. x.«, and then proceed to track down a copy of volume 10 of the (then) 88 year old "Bibliothèque françoise ou Histoire de la littérature françoise" to read what it says on page 436?

Fortunately it is possible these days to find the "Bibliothèque" on Google Books, where it turns out that all there is on page 436 is a synopsis of the real article on page 186. Apart from this, Douce is right: The French author has seen a book, where twelve leaves contain 23 "dizains",(1) each adorned by a picture. The author gives the text from the first of these 23 "dizains", which starts »je suis la Mort de nature ennemie«, so there is no doubt we are dealing with "Dance aux Aveugles" (and not "La Vie de l'Homme").

Douce's second reference is to a book by Peignot, but Peignot only quotes a catalogue, so it's better to look in the catalogue itself Catalogue de livres imprimés. The book in question is a book of hours named "Heures de Nostre Dame à l'usage de Troyes" — printed by Thomas Englart (Anguelart) for Guillaume Godard.

In more recent times, Mary Beth Winn has described the book passingly in "Gathering the Borders in Hardouyn's Hours": »Godard's set consists of twenty-three border pieces that are reversed images of Hardouyn's and of the same size (63-5 x 32 mm.)« (page 151).

Godard has also copied 1 of the 2 male prophets from Hardouyn.
The text says:
Lex metuenda premit mortales, omnibus una
Mors scito: sed dubia nec fugienda venit.
Circuit et surgens sol vitam prestat et item.
Cum cadit adnichilat quod fugit ante nichil.
Sic dat sic retrahit iterum trahet atque retraxit
Omnia sol gerens quod dedit ipse trahit.
Godard, Prophet
Godard has also copied Hardouyn's "La Destruction de Hierusalem".
Godard, Jesus

So the solution to this puzzle is that Guillaume Godard has copied Hardouyn's Vie de l'Homme, just like he has copied Simon Vostre's marginals. And both Hardouyn and Godard have issued separate booklets with these images, that often are bound together with the proper books of hours.

The booklet mentioned by Douce resides today at the Institut de France (Bibliothèque Mazarine), but sadly the institute hasn't digitized this work.

Fortunately we can find almost all of the images in a book of hours by Godard. Let us look closer at this book (see external link).

This book of hours is disorganized, to say the least. Two of the images aren't included at all (viz. soldiers and woman in bed), while other scenes are used repeatedly. The images are laterally inversed copies that follow Hardouyn's originals closely, although they are slightly more primitive and a good deal more caricatured.

A few of the images are accompanied by a text from La Vie de l'Homme (not from Aveugles as in Douce's booklet), even though it isn't always for the right images. All in all five verses are brought, but most of the time there isn't any text, or the text is from another work, which Godard has also copied from Hardouyn, viz. "La Destruction de Hierusalem" (picture to the right).

Hardouyn had 2 male and 2 female prophets. Simon Vostre has copied the first male prophet and used him for the authority, who concludes Accidens de l'Homme. Godard has copied the second prophet (picture to the left) and equipped him with a Latin text. This text was originally authored by Dionysius Carthusiensis (Denis the Carthusian - 1402–1471), but the same lines, »Lex metuenda premit mortales […]«, also introduce the printed books with the Danse Macabre of the women.

Winn thinks that Godard has copied "Vie de lhomme" from Hardouyn (and not the other way around), because Godard has also copied — and inversed — "La Destruction de Hierusalem" from Hardouyn.(2) I am not familiar with her arguments, but we can see a blatant example to the right, where Jesus ben Ananias shouts his woes over the daughters of Syon: The words "Ve, ve, ve" (Woe, woe, woe) have also been laterally inversed.

Let us attempt a look at the connection between the different works.

Godard : Death
Adam & Eve
Godard : Adam & Eve
Guillaume Godard
Godard : Guillaume Godard
Godard : Cardinal
Godard : Bull
Godard : Usurer
Godard : Famine
Godard : Scythe
Godard : Friends
Godard : Woman
Godard : Tower
Godard : Cutthroat
Godard : Gallow
Godard : King
Godard : Soldiers
Godard : Strangling
Godard : Crowd
Godard : Table
Godard : Minstrel
Godard : Hermit
Judgement Day
Godard : Judgement Day
Godard : Jesus
Godard : Prophet

External link

Footnotes: (1) (2)

In my ignorance I though at first that "dizains" was old French for "designs". The word does in fact mean a verse with 10 lines.
Winn: »Although it is difficult to assert which set takes precedence because of the factors cited above, it is known that Godard copied another set of Hardouyns borders (on the Destruction of Jerusalem) by reversing his images«.

(Mary Beth Winn, "Gathering the Borders in Hardouyn's Hours", page 151)

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