The author of the first part of the poem is Guillaume de Lorris (circa 1230-1240), the second is Jean de Men (circa 1250-1305)
The poet sees in a dream how he, walking in the early May morning, goes out of town to listen to the singing of a nightingale and a lark, and faces the impregnable walls that surround the mysterious garden. On the walls he sees images of various figures that symbolize Hatred, Change, Self-interest, Miserliness, Envy, Despondency, Age, Time, Hypocrisy and Poverty. They block his way to the garden, but Carelessness, the girlfriend of Joy, lets him in through the narrow door.
Entering the garden, he sees a dance that leads Fun, and among the dancers he recognizes Beauty, Wealth, Generosity, Generosity, Grace and Youth. He is fascinated: he is surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees, fairy birds are singing the garden of love with a sweet singing, joy and carefree reign prevail everywhere. Walking in the garden, he comes to the source of Narcissus,
in which he sees a mirror image of the entire garden and beautiful roses. Stopping before the unbroken rose, he plunges into contemplation. At this time, the Cupid, armed with a bow and arrows, which all the time followed the young man, wherever he went, wounded him with five arrows, whose names – Beauty, Simplicity, Courtesy, Cheerfulness and Milovidnost.
Pierced by the arrows of the Cupid, a young man, with a passionate passion, declares himself a vassal of Love. Cupid teaches him how he should behave in order to achieve the favor of the beloved: he must renounce all the base, completely commit himself to serving the lady of the heart, show loyalty and generosity, and also monitor his appearance and manners. Then the Cupid opens his heart with the key of the boy and introduces him to the messengers of love: woes and blessings. The blessings of love are Hope, Sweet Thought, Sweet Speech, Sweet Look.
Encouraged by a benevolent device, the lover approaches Rosa, but he is too ardent, and his thoughtless behavior leads to the appearance of the guardians of Rosa: Resistance, Fear and Shame that block his
path. Blinded by passion, the young man stubbornly tries to win the reciprocity of the beloved, not listening to the advice of the Mind, who, watching him from his high tower, calls for moderation and forbearance. A friend tells the lover how to calm the guards, and the Cupid sends to his aid generosity and pity. But when the guards are pacified and the Resistance is finally broken, Chastity rises in the way of the young man. Then Venus interferes in the matter, and thanks to her assistance, the lover manages to kiss Rosa. This causes the wrath of the guards: Zloyazychie calls for Jealousy, they awaken the Resistance and erect an impregnable castle around Rosa, in the walls of which the Favorable Reception is concluded. The young man complains about the impermanence of Cupid and Fortune and mourns his bitter fate.
The word takes Mind: it condemns the ardent young man because he succumbed to love passion, warns him against the falsity and insidiousness of women. It is only because of his youth and inexperience that he 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 sensual pleasures accompanying it should not become an end in itself. However, in this fallen world, prone to vices and passions, not love itself, but only love pleasures attract the majority of 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 Reason and does not heed his advice. He appeals for help to the Wealth and asks him to release from captivity a supportive reception. But Wealth refuses indignantly, for the Gracious Reception never paid him any attention.
Then Love herself decides to take the wall of the castle by storm. Among her associates there are the Hidden and Pretense, which are very influential in the court of Love. Pretense tells Love how to achieve the goal, acting only by deception and flattery. A friend also convinces the young man that Sneakiness and Pretense are the best allies of Love, and he agrees with him.
In the meantime, Cupid gathers an army to storm the castle. Wanting to enlist the support of his mother, Venus, he sends to her Magnanimity and Sweet Look. In an air chariot drawn by a pack of dove, Venus hurries to the rescue. She is outraged that Chastity prevents the boy from getting closer to Rosa, and promises that from now on he will not tolerate that women so zealously store chastity.
Under the leadership of pretense, the army of the Amur captures the castle: Zloyazychie defeated, supportive reception released from captivity. But when the lover is about to pluck Rosa, again, Resistance, Shame and Fear prevent him.
All this time Nature in the tireless care of preserving life
He works in his smithy. In confession before the Genius Nature says that everything in this world is subject to its laws. Only people in pursuit of transient fleshly joys often neglect one of its most important commandments: breed and multiply. Genius goes to the army of Love and transmits all complaints of Nature. Cupid dresses Genius in priestly clothes, hands him a ring, a staff and a miter, and Venus gives him a lighted candle. All the army, before going to the assault, sends the curse of Chastity. Finally comes the hour of battle: Genius throws a lighted candle on the fortress wall, Venus throws his torch at her. Shame and Fear are defeated and flee. Favorable Admission allows a young man to approach a beautiful Rose, he tears it off and – wakes up.