Se la face ay pale (Guillaume Dufay)

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  • (Posted 2017-03-03)  CPDL #43399:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2017-03-03).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 47 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Reformatting of #16003, with minor corrections to underlay. Alto in treble clef.
  • (Posted 2016-08-28)  CPDL #40933:  Icon_pdf_globe.gif Icon_snd_globe.gif Icon_mp3_globe.gif Icon_ly_ext.png Network.png Part Midis and Mp3s Available
Editor: Monique Rio (submitted 2016-08-28).   Score information: Letter, 2 pages, 236 kB   Copyright: CC BY 4.0
Edition notes: Transposed Edition available at
  • (Posted 2008-02-15)  CPDL #16003:         
Editor: Brian Russell (submitted 2008-02-15).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 23 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: NoteWorthy Composer file may be viewed and printed with NoteWorthy Composer Viewer.

General Information

Title: Se la face ay pale
Composer: Guillaume Dufay

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicings: STT or SAT
Genre: SecularChanson

Language: French
Instruments: A cappella

First published:
Description: This chanson is the source of the cantus firmus for Missa Se la face ay pale.

External websites:

Original text and translations

French.png French text

Se la face ay pale,
la cause est amer
c’est la principale
et tant m’est amer
amer qu’en la mer
me voudroye voir
or scet bien de voir
la belle a qui suis
que nul bien avoir
sans elle ne puis.

Se ay pesante male
de dueil a porter
cest amour est male
pour moy de porter
car soy deporter
ne veult de vouloir
fors qu'a son vouloir
obeisse et puis
q'elle a tel pooir
sans elle ne puis.

C’est la plus reale
qu’on puist regarder
de s’amour leiaule
ne me puis guarder
fol sui de agarder
ne faire devoir
d’amours recevoir
fors d’elle je cuij (cuis)
se ne veil douloir
sans elle ne puis.

English.png English translation

If my face is pale,
the cause is loving.
That is the principal one,
And for me so bitter is
loving that into the sea
I want to send myself.
Now she can well see,
the lovely one I belong to,
that to have any well-being,
without her I cannot.

If I have a heavy load
of sorrow to carry,
it's that this love is painful
for me to bear.
For to please oneself
she will not consent;
only her wishes
may one obey. And since
she has such power,
without her I cannot.

She is the most regal woman
that one could look upon.
From loyal love for her
I cannot keep myself.
Foolish I am in resolving
to make it my duty
to receive love
only from her. I sought
to be unwilling to suffer;
without her I cannot.