English translation [LP]
Ia. With finesse and joy I begin for you a
peerless lay. Whoever does not know how to compose a song should listen well,
for it is with pure joy that a joyful melody begins. Gracefully I now unloose a
courtly song, as a fine example.
Italian translation [lb]
Ia. Con eleganza e gioia comincio un
lai senza pari. Chi non sa come comporre una canzone dovrebbe ascoltare
bene, perché è con pura gioia che comincia una melodia gioiosa. Con grazia ora
sciolgo una canzone cortese, come buon esempio.
Text: Paterson 2014. – Rialto, 22.i.2015.
Mss.: W (= French M) 213v (Nompar), d (= French T) 74r-75v (Li lais nompar).
Critical editions: Karl Bartsch, «Zwei provenzalische Lais», Zeitschrift für romanische philologie, 1, 1877, pp. 58-78, on p. 66; Dominique Billy, Deux Lais en langue mixte: le lai Markiol et le lai Nompar, Tübingen 1995, p. 78; Paolo Canettieri, «Guillem de la Tor, En vos ai mesa (BdT 236.3a); An., Finamen<s> (BdT 461.122)», Lecturae tropatorum, 7, 2014; Linda Paterson, Anonymous (Nompar de Caumont?), Finament (BdT 461.122), Lecturae tropatorum, 7, 2014 (a few modifications have been made to the present edition in the light of Canettieri 2014: see the translation and notes to vv. 55-62 and the note to vv. 105-120).
Other editions: Ismael Fernández de la Cuesta and Robert Lafont, Las cançons dels trobadors, Toulouse 1979, p. 760 (text Lafont, Mod. Occ. version based on Bartsch; unreliable German, English, Castilian and French translations).
Versification: Ia = a3 a3 a3 b3 b3 b3 b5 c6’ d6 d4 d5 d4, -ent/-ens, -ar, -ence, -ant; Ib = a3 a3 a3 b3 b3 b3 b5 c6’ d6 d4 d5 d4, -ens, -ar, -ence, -ant; Ic = a3 a3 a3 b3 b3 x3 b5 c6’ d6 d4 d5 d4, ens, -ar/-ous, -ence, -ant/-anc; IIa = a4’ a5’ b5 c5’ c5’ b5 b6 b5, -ine, -os/-ous, -ire; IIb = a4’ a5’ b5 c5’ c5’ b5 b6 b5, -ine, -ous,- ire; IIc = a4’ a5’ b5 c5’ c5’ b5 b6 b5, -ine, -ous,- ire; III = a3 a3 b4(*) a3 a3 b3 a3 a3 b3, -au, -or; IV= a5’ a5’ b5 a5’ a5’ b5 a5’ a5’ b5, -ece/-ese, -ai; V = a3 a3 b3 b4 a3 a3 c3 b4 a3 a3 b3 b4, -ai,-ir, -is; VI = a7 a7 b7 b7 a7 a7, -in, -is; VII = a4’ a4’ b4 c4 / d4’ d4’ d4’ b4 / a4’ a4’ e4 c4 / a4’ a4’ e4 e4 / d4’ d4’ d4’ c4 / d4’ d4’ d4’ b4, -ie, -an(s), -en/-an, -age(s), -ai; VIII = a5 a5 b5’ / a5 a5 b5’ / a5 a5 b5’, -en/m, -ighe/iche; IX = a3 a4 b3 b4 / a3 a4 c3(**) b4 / a3 a4 b3 b4, -as, -or, -es; X = a4’ a5’ b6 a6’ c5’ b5 b6 b6 b5, -aire, -el, -ent; XI = a3 a3 b3 c3 d3 c3 c5 e6’ a6 a4 a5 a4, -ent/-ant, -ar, -on, -ence.
(*) In vv. 62-63 W’s melody, unlike that of d, elides au / a, effectively making 63 trisyllabic in line with all other lines of this stanza.
(**) As Billy observes, rendas would be possible here, making this a «b» rhyme.
Music: Friedrich Gennrich, Der musikalische Nachlass der Troubadours, 3 voll., Darmstadt 1958-60 and Langen bei Frankfurt 1965, vol. I, p. 255, no. 281 (on W, modernised and adapted); La Cuesta, Las cançons, p. 749, diplomatic edition; Billy p. 65.
Notes: The text almost certainly dates from before the end of the 13th c. It is generally accepted that the source of the Occitan section of one of the two manuscripts in which it has been preserved, French ms. W, was a collection of Occitan poems probably made in Lorraine in c. 1250 and copied from an Occitan ms. of the second quarter of the 13th c., though the lai Nompar falls outside of the Occitan section. The other manuscript, d, dates from the late 13th c. The absence of allusions to the liberation of the holy places or the loss of Jerusalem and the holy cross suggests a date far removed from any immediate pressure for a new crusading expedition, even if this does not mean that there were no such expeditions or calls for them. In support of, or at least compatible with, this rough dating, is the relationship with a descort by Guillem de la Tor composed before 1225 (see Paolo Canettieri, «Descortz es dictatz mot divers.» Ricerche su un genere lirico romanzo del XIII secolo, Rome 1995, pp. 267-268 and Antonella Negri, Le liriche del trovatore Guilhem de la Tor, Soveria Manelli 2006, pp. 11 and 113). – The name Nompar has been used from the Middle Ages to this day by the older branch of the aristocratic family of Caumont La Force; three men of that name appear to have lived during the course of the 13th c., and since the name is so unusual outside the Caumont family it seems reasonable to suggest that the song is associated with one of these Nompars. The rubric Nompar of ms. W, simply giving the name, tends to suggest that the scribe considered Nompar as the author. Ms. d’s rubric might, alternatively, mean that the lai is the story of Nompar, though the text is not a narrative so this seems less likely. For further details see Paterson 2014 in Lecturae tropatorum. – Line 4: this line can be construed as ‘Nonpar or Nompar’s lai’ as well as indicating the poet’s claim that his song is «matchless» because it has no equal; he is is perhaps also introducing its variable versification and rhyming. – Line 42: the word delaitous appears to encapsulate the central conflict of the piece, namely the tug between the divine call of the crusade and the intense longing for the beloved lady. Occitan delech and delechamen can mean both ‘pleasure’ (< deligere, FEW, III, 34, «auswählen») and ‘sin’ (< delictum, FEW, III, 34, «vergehen») (compare FEW «Apr delech» and TL, II, 1333 delit). For further details see Paterson 2014, p. 23 in Lecturae tropatorum. My translation ‘Devoted to worldly delight’ attempts to convey this ambiguity. – Line 45: the cry of lament is because the husband, whatever his jealousy, still remains with the lady. – Lines 53-60: the poet is probably referring to the lausengier, typically associated with sharp beaks. It is tempting to suspect a connection with the little foxes that spoil the vines (of love) in Cantica canticorum, II:15 Capite nobis vulpes parvulas quae demoliunter vineas; nam viens nostra floruit. For further details of these problematic lines see Paterson 2014 in Lecturae tropatorum. However, I now take lou cor as the subject of est in v. 59. – Line 76: Bartsch (p. 73) saw this reference to the land of Urgel as proof of the Catalan origins of the poet. – Line 77: for gent bersendese as a possible reference to the people of Barcelona, see the notes to this line in the editions of Billy and Paterson 2014 in Lecturae tropatorum. – Lines 91-96: this stanza is highly problematic. Billy heavily emends at the rhyme, changing the united readings of the two mss. in 92 (fin to feus), 93 (rin to ris), 94 (mis to meus), and 96 (romin to romeus): see his long note on pp. 87-88 and further remarks on p. 116. He translates «Que les bons pèlerins de Saint Martin prient Dieu qu’il [me] donnent un bon fief, et si les gens me sourient, ma joie sera toute louange. Alors que je suis ici, seul, très affligé, et morne comme un pèlerin sans foi». For the present edition see the long note to these lines in Paterson 2014 in Lecturae tropatorum. – Lines 105-120: because of the difficulties of this stanza Billy, following Bartsch (see p. 89) changed the line order, placing the original vv. 117-120 before the original v. 110. He translates «Mais j’aurais tout, s’il plaît à Dieu [105-106]. Ne venez pas ici: je n’aurais plus de volonté [107-108]. A la première traversée de cette douce expédition, je reprendrai fermement courage [117-120]. Sainte Marie, tu rends mon amie, et je retourne là où elle demeure [109-112], puisque du rivage où je ne vois ni message ni allégresse, je ne jouis pas, je ne guéris pas» [113-116]. The change of line order might seem to explain «Mais j’aurais tout» if it follows on from a «douce expédition» provided that we suppose the latter to be a journey to see the lady and «having everything» to mean to have all her love. But given that the troubadour has just complained about the cruelty of the journey to the Holy Land, how can it suddenly be regarded as «sweet»? In my Lt edition I decided with some hesitation to respect the manuscripts’ line order, even though it violates the rhyme scheme in which the second half of each of the three eight-line sections has the pattern dddb. Cannettieri follows the line order proposed by Bartsch and Billy and suggests a plausible solution to the problem of sense by placing most of stanza VII in direct speech: see his edition in Lecturae tropatorum 7, 2014, p. 26 (Or di folie et vilenie, / com hom vilans: «de cor <me> ren, / car cil viages et romansages / mi par salvages, del flum Jordan. / Sancta Marie, tu rens m’amie, / et torne lai ou ele estai. / Pos del rivage ou non vei message / ni alegrage n<i> joi non sen, / maiz tot aurie, se Dieu plaisie / non vines chai, non volgre ren: / al prin passage cel douz voiage / verrai corage fin et certan». – Lines 105-108: these lines are particularly impenentrable. With much hesitation I have interpreted v. 107 as introducing a type of senhal or pseudonym: see the note in my edition in Lecturae tropatorum. – Line 141: as Billy notes, the poet is evoking the romance of Floire et Blancheflor, where Floire is separated from his childhood sweetheart and locked up in a tower in Babylon, where he finally manages to find her. – Lines 145-150: for the conjectural emendations here see the note to these lines in Paterson 2014 in Lecturae tropatorum, who suggests that as a «good thief» (bon laire, an emendation) the speaker will be like a thief taking a secret communication into the lady’s castle, but also be like the good thief crucified but forgiven alongside Christ. – Line 148: the word oufin is a recognisable form of alfin, the chess piece now known as the bishop, and understood in the Middle ages as bishop, count, judge or counsellor (see Richard Eales, Chess. The history of a game, London 1985, p. 45). The alphinus and the queen were less powerful than they are in the modern game: the alphinus moved and captured along the diagonal, but its movement was a rigid jump of three squares including the one landed on. The queen also moved and captured on the diagonal alone, moving only one square, so was the weakest of the major pieces, the most powerful being the rook, which could move and capture as the modern piece but could not castle with the king. The alfin is nevertheless a powerful piece The poet here is saying he would like to be introducing his song into the lady’s castle by means of the alfin: in other words, through a chess manoeuvre.