Short summary - Le Roman de la Rose (The Romance of the Rose)
Guillaume de Lorris/Jean de Meun (Meung)
The first part
The poet sees in a dream how he walks out of town in the early May morning to listen to the singing of a nightingale and a lark, and finds himself in front of impregnable walls that surround a mysterious garden. On the walls, he sees images of various figures that symbolize Hatred, Treason, Greed, Avarice, Envy, Despondency, Old Age, Time, Hypocrisy and Poverty. They block his way to the garden, but Carelessness, the friend of Joy, lets him in through a narrow door.
Entering the garden, he sees a round dance, which leads the Fun, and among the dancers he recognizes Beauty, Wealth, Generosity, Generosity, Courtesy and Youth. He is fascinated: he is surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees, fabulous birds fill the garden of love with melodious singing, joy and carefree fun reign everywhere. Walking through the garden, he comes to the source of Narcissus, in which he sees a mirror image of the entire garden and beautiful roses. Stopping in front of an unblown rose, he plunges into contemplation. At this time, Cupid, armed with a bow and arrows, who all this time followed the young man, wherever he went, wounds him with five arrows, the names of which are Beauty, Simplicity, Courtesy, Kindness and Sweetness.
Pierced by Cupid's arrows, the young man, blazing with tender passion, declares himself a vassal of Love. Cupid teaches him how he should behave in order to achieve the location of his beloved: he needs to renounce everything base, completely devote himself to serving the lady of the heart, show loyalty and generosity, and also monitor his appearance and manners. Then Cupid unlocks the young man's heart with his key and introduces him to the messengers of love: troubles and blessings. The blessings of love are Hope, Sweet Thought, Sweet Speech, Sweet Gaze.
Encouraged by a Benevolent Reception, the lover approaches Rose, but he is too passionate, and his rash behavior leads to the fact that the guardians of the Rose appear: Resistance, Fear and Shame, which block his path. Blinded by passion, the young man stubbornly tries to achieve reciprocity with his beloved, disobeying the advice of Reason, which, watching him from its high tower, calls for moderation and abstinence. A friend tells the lover how to calm down the guards, and Cupid sends Generosity and Pity to his aid. But when the guards are pacified and the Resistance is finally broken, Chastity stands in the way of the young man. Then Venus intervenes, and thanks to her assistance, the lover manages to kiss Rose. This arouses the wrath of the guards: Evil Tongue invokes Jealousy, they awaken the Resistance and erect an impregnable castle around the Rose, within the walls of which they conclude a Favorable Reception. The young man laments the inconstancy of Cupid and Fortune and laments his bitter fate.
The second part
The Word takes Reason: he condemns the ardent young man for the fact that he succumbed to love passion, warns him against the deceit and deceit of women. Only because of his youth and inexperience, the lover is forgiven for his frivolous behavior. Reason explains to him that love by its very nature serves the purpose of preserving and reproducing the human race, and the accompanying sensual joys should not become an end in itself. However, in this fallen world, subject to vices and passions, it is not love itself, but only amorous pleasures that attracts most men and women. It is necessary to strive for the highest love, and this is love for one's neighbor. The lover is disappointed with the speeches of the Reason and does not heed its advice. He turns to Wealth for help and asks him to be released from captivity by a Favorable Reception. But Wealth indignantly refuses, for the Benevolent Reception has never paid attention to it.
Then Love herself decides to take the castle walls by attack. Among her confidants are Secrecy and Pretense, which enjoy great influence at the court of Love. Pretense tells Love how you can achieve a goal by acting only by deceit and flattery. The friend also convinces the young man that Secrecy and Pretense are the best allies of Love, and he agrees with him.
Meanwhile, Cupid is gathering an army to take the castle by storm. Wanting to enlist the support of his mother, Venus, he sends her Generosity and Sweet Eyes. In an air chariot drawn by a flock of doves, Venus rushes to the rescue. She is outraged that Chastity prevents the young man from drawing closer to Rosa, and promises that from now on she will not tolerate women so zealously maintaining chastity.
Under the leadership of the Pretense, Cupid's army captures the castle: the evil-tongued is defeated, the Benevolent Reception is released from captivity. But when the lover is about to pluck the Rose, Resistance, Shame and Fear again hinder him.
All this time, Nature, in tireless worries about preserving the life of she works in her forge. In her confession to the Genius, Nature says that everything in this world is subject to her laws. Only people in pursuit of transient carnal joys often neglect one of its most important commandments: be fruitful and multiply. The genius goes to the army of Love and communicates the complaints of Nature to everyone. Cupid dresses Genius in priestly garments, gives him a ring, a staff and a miter, and Venus gives him a lighted candle. The entire army, before going on an assault, sends curses of Chastity. Finally, the hour of battle comes: Genius throws a lighted candle on the fortress wall, Venus throws her torch on it. Shame and Fear are defeated and take flight. The Favorable Reception allows the young man to approach the beautiful Rose, he picks it off and wakes up.