12.1 = 108.1



Alaisina  ·  Carenza





Na Carenza al bel cors avenenç, [Alaisina]
    dunaz conseil a nus duas serors,
    e car saubez mielz triar la meilors,
4   consilaz mi secund vostra ’scienç
    penre marit, a vostra conoscença?
    O ’starai mi pulcela? — e si m’agença,
    que far fillos non cuit que sia bons
8   e ssens marit mi par trop anguisos.
N’Alaisina ’Yselda, ’nsenghamenç, [Carenza]
    prez e beltaz, jovenz, frescas colurs
    conusc c’avez, cortisia e valurs
12   subre tuttas las a[u]tras conoscenz,
    per qu’i[e]·us conseil, per far bona semenza,
    penre marit coronat de scïenza,
    en cui farez fruit de fil glorïos.
16   Retenguta ’s sela d’aque[l e]spus.
Na Carenza, penre marit m’agenza, [Alaisina]
    mas far infanz cuit qu’es gran penitenza,
    que las tetinas penden aval jos
20   el las[c] ventril aruat e ’nnoios.
N’Alascina ’Yselda, sovinenza [Carenza]
    aiaç de mi: in l’umbra de ghirenza,
    quant isiretz, preiatz lo Glorïos
24   qu’al departir mi ritenga pres vus.




Text: Linda Paterson, Rialto 3.xii.2011.

Ms.: Q 42.

Diplomatic editions: Karl Bartsch, «Die provenzalische Liederhandschrift Q», Zeitschrift für Romanische Philologie, 4, 1880, pp. 502-20, p. 510; Giulio Bertoni, Il Canzoniere provenzale della Ricardiana (no. 2909). Edizione diplomatica, Dresden 1905, p. 85.

Critical editions: Oskar Schultz-Gora, Die provenzalischen Dichterinnen, in Wilhelm Kühne (ed.), Einundachtzigsten Nachricht von dem Friedrichs-Gymnasium zu Altenburg, Altenburg 1888, pp. 28 and 35-36; Jules Véran, Les Poétesses provençales du Moyen Age et de nos jours, Paris 1946, p. 112; Meg Bogin, The Women Troubadours, London - New York 1976, pp. 144 and 178-79; Peter Dronke, Women writers of the Middle Ages: a critical study of texts from Perpetua (d. 203) to Marguerite Porete (d. 1310), Cambridge 1984, pp. 101 and 300-2; Pierre Bec, «Avoir des enfants ou rester vièrge? Une tenson occitane du XIIIe siècle entre femmes», in Henning Krauss and Dietmar Rieger (eds.), Mittelalterstudien Erich Köhler zum Gedanken, Heidelburg 1984, pp. 21-30; Deborah Perkal-Balinsky, The Minor Trobairitz: An edition with Translation and Commentary, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Northwestern University 1986, p. 133; MatildaT. Bruckner, Laurie Shepard and Sarah White, Songs of the Women Troubadours, New York-London 1995, pp. 96 and 177-79; Linda Paterson, Rialto 3.xii.2011.

Other editions: René Nelli, Ecrivains anticonformistes du moyen-âge occitan, 2 vols, Paris 1977, vol. I, p. 255 (on Bogin); Pierre Bec, Burlesque et obscénité chez les Troubadours: le contre-texte du moyen âge, Paris 1984, p. 203 (on Bec); Pierre Bec, Chants d’amour des femmes-troubadours, Paris 1995, p. 131 (on Bec); Bernard Bonnarel, Las 194 cançons dialogadas dels trobadors, 1981, p. 36 (on Véran); Angelica Rieger, Trobairitz. Der Beitrag der Frau in der altokzitanischen höfischen Lyrik. Edition des Gesamtkorpus, Tübingen 1991, p. 155 (on Bec).

Versification: a10 b10 b10 a10 c10c10d10 d10 (Frank 577:82). Two coblas unissonans and two four-line tornadas. The identical versification is found in numerous other pieces, whose model La grans beutatz e·l fis enseignamens (BdT 30.16) by Arnaut de Maroill.

Notes: The piece almost certainly postdates the relevant canso of Arnaut de Maroill, and presumably could be as late as the 14th c. Do the interlocutors consist of three women, N’Alais, Na Yselda and Na Carenza [as suggested by Nelli, Bogin, Dronke, W. D. Paden, «Checklist of Poems by the Trobairitz», in Id. (ed.), The Voice of the Trobairitz. Perspectives on the Women Troubadours, Philadelphia 1989, pp. 227-37, p. 230], or two, N’Alaisina Yselda and Na Carenza [as suggested by Schultz-Gora, Antoine Thomas, review of Schultz-Gora, Annales du Midi, 1, 1889, pp. 407-10, Véran, Bec, Patricia Anderson, «Na Carenza al bel cors avinen: a test case for recovering the fictive element in the poetry of the women troubadours», Tenso, 2, 1987, pp. 55-63, Rieger]? Though there are only two actual speakers, three sits better with the mention of two sisters. Against this Bec argued somewhat tentatively that the conjunction et is in the great majority of cases e and not i in medieval Occitan; the name Alais is generally scanned as trisyllabic, which would disrupt scansion; and that the form Nalascina in line 21 does not support the three-person solution. Paden, «Checklist», p. 230, rejected the first two arguments by showing that the conjunction i for e is well attested, and that the name Alais scans in two syllables in all the other sources he found (BdT 437.38, 70; BdT 457.36, 1; BdT 310.3, 2; see also BdT 236.12, 70). He does not comment on the third point, though it alone is inconclusive. I have preferred another solution, taking account of the ms. representation of elision indicated above, and understanding elision of the conjunction. This would suppress the second honorific: is this acceptable in the case of an older and younger sister? The attraction of this solution is that no emendation is required in either 9 or 21 and even the word division is retained. Is the tenso ‘real’ or ‘fictive’? Thomas thought the ‘two’ sisters were definitely Italian, so presumably real, and Paden also considered it so. Anderson unconvincingly argues that Carenza is invented to connote childlessness, abstention and insolvency (hence a nun «with courtly manners and worldly graces», and N’Alaisina Iselda to suggest (a) Alice, an attractive wench, and (b) Yseut, the desired princess, embodying all the qualities of the courtly lover, so all in all, ‘Everywoman’. She unquestioningly accepts that the authorship is female. Bec, Chants d’amour, p. 132, suggests that the tenso may be an ironic parody «en l’occurrence féminine» of traditional discussions of love casuistry between male interlocutors.



Translation and notes

BdT    Alaisina    Carenza