Analysis of manuscripts: I 101 (Denbertolome çorçi), K 85 (Denbertholomei çorçi), d 276-35, ρ 23v (Canzone di Bartolomeo Giorgi). − IK transmit some errors from their common source (9, 10?, 13, 61). The photographic reproductions of K are faint and hard to read, so I have preferred to use I despite its greater number of minor slips; the main difficulty in 61 is unaffected by illegibility. Mss. dρ are copies of K and are not taken into account here. Levy 1883 alters some graphies and discusses the problem of such normalisation on pp. 3-4.

Critical apparatus:

4 remac I    5 penzanza K    9 penre lautz IK (−2)    10 don IK   13 deshauzitz I, dechauzitz K; anctatatz IK (+1)    19 forg I    23 entrebaillz IK    30 agrandanza I    35 cozenz I    37 quergueillz K    43 fides iauzime I    48 ben K    49 faig I    54 far missing I (−1)   61 valgidutrals IK.


Dating and historical circumstances:

The sirventes was composed between 16 March 1270, when Louis IX set out for Africa (leaving Aigues-Mortes on 1 July), and 25 August, the date of his death (Levy, pp. 10-11). Levy (p. 90) identifies the King of Navarre (46) as Thibaut II (1253-1270), the Count of Toulouse (51) as Louis’s brother Alphonse of Poitiers (1249-1271), and the English king as Henry III (1216-1272). He follows Diez’s view that the praise of the latter must be ironic, since although Henry had been contemplating a crusade since 1253 he was now too old and frail for this (Friedrich Christian Diez, Leben und Werke der Trobadors, Leipzig 1829, p. 498 [sic]). However, this is to ignore the crusading activities of his son the Lord Edward, whose crusading commitment is not in doubt. Edward took the cross in Northampton in June 1268, along with his brother Edmund whom the pope had already selected as his father’s substitute (Frederick Maurice Powicke, King Henry III and the Lord Edward, 2 voll., Oxford 1947, p. 562), and during a visit to Louis in August 1269 agreed to be at Aigues-Mortes by 15 August 1270. In the event there were delays in completing the practical arrangements. Edward left England on 20 August, reached Aigues-Mortes by 28 September, and Carthage on 10 November in time to join the withdrawal of the crusading army to Sicily, where he stayed on, determined to fulfil his crusading vow, sailing to Cyprus in the spring of 1271 and arriving in Acre on 9 May (Peter Lock, The Routledge Companion to the Crusades, Abingdon 2006, p. 184; Simon Lloyd, English Society and the Crusade, 1216-1307, Cambridge 1988, p. 115 and the whole chapter devoted to Edward’s crusade, pp. 113-153; Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, 3 voll., Harmondsworth 1971, first published Cambridge 1951-1954, vol. III, p. 335). Rather than Zorzi’s references to the English king being ironic, it seems more likely that he is not very well informed, that the relevant leader is in fact Edward, and that Zorzi’s idea that he was to be accompanied by an unsurpassably powerful army is based on poetic licence, misinformation and/or wishful thinking, since English recruitment to his crusading army was poor. – A Venetian merchant, Zorzi was one of the several Ghibelline troubadours hostile to Charles of Anjou, composing a planh for the young Conradin whom Charles put to death after the battle of Tagliacozzo on 23 August 1268 (see the notes my edition of BdT 107.1, on Rialto). He was imprisoned from 1266 to 1273 during a war between Venice and Genoa, and it was therefore in Genoa, where he was a prisoner, that he composed this sirventes (see Hermann Suchier, Giornale storico di letteratura italiana, 2, 1884, pp. 425-427). Louis has set out from the north of France (see the note to v. 10) in other words his forces are heading south, but with no indication that they have yet embarked on the sea crossing. Lines 19 and 57 show Zorzi anticipating the English King’s arrival from across the Channel to join Louis «here on the Continent». The sirventes most probably celebrates the start of the crusade, with the combined French forces heading for the Mediterranean and the English expected to follow up behind. This would place it between 16 March and the end of June 1270, though as a prisoner in Genoa Zorzi was probably not privy to details of Louis’ exact timing and whereabouts.


Textual notes:

4. I has omitted an abbreviation mark over remac.

9. Corr. Levy 1883. Albert Rohleder, Zu Zorzi’s Gedichten. Doctoral dissertation, Halle 1885 lists Lois as a French form. The form is also found in BdT 217.2, 40 (Guilhem Figueira, hg. Levy, II) and Les Joies du Gai Savoir, éd. Alfred Jeanroy, Toulouse 1914, 23, 77 and 79; 24, 33, and see COM for other examples).

10. Levy retains IK don. Since he does not translate it is unclear what he thought it meant. Franza is northern France, or more specifically the royal domain of the Île-de-France. See Frank M. Chambers, Proper Names in the Lyrics of the Troubadours, Chapel Hill 1971, Simon Gaunt, Ruth Harvey and Linda Paterson, Marcabru: a Critical Edition, Woodbridge 2000, p. 608, and compare BdT 76.9, 25-29, Mas est afar vey qu’er leu retengutz, / que de Fransa es vengutz lo ressos / que mos senher se n’es tant irascutz / que tug dizon qu’el n’a levat la cros / e vol passar en terra de Suria (Bertran d’Alamano, my edition on Rialto).

13. Levy 1883 apparently read I deschausitz.

14. deissenda is otherwise unattested as a noun on COM or in the dictionaries.

15-16. Levy read K chrestiainz. Literally «for a man is not rightly a Christian if he can be of support to it (our religion), and this is not allowed». These lines seem to mean that a Christian’s right to support his religion is curtailed. For valer de, see SW, VIII, 576, 11, «helfen in betreff…»

19. For que introducing a final-consecutive clause indicating purpose see Frede Jensen, Syntaxe de l’ancien occitan, Tübingen 1994, § 613. Sa presumably means «here across the Channel».

23. The correction of en to e is Levy’s.

25. I noi, K noy: Levy prints no with no variant.

31. K sbarailhador, Levy sbaralhador. This is the only example of this word attested in the dictionaries (where SW, III, 132 and PD present it as esbaralhador) and on COM; in his edition Levy suggests that the lack of initial e is likely to be an italianism, and notes that Raynouard has baralhar and esbaralha, though not esbaralhaire. Rohleder (p. 25) states that sbaralhador is found in the «provenz. Wörterbuch von Honnorat» («= qui romp») and baralhador («= brouillon, querelleur, tapageur»). Alternatively it might be a case of elision at the rhyme of 30.

37-39. Levy registers qui as missing in I, though it is hard to see what he understood: «if there were anyone who were to extend pride so far»? But orgueillz must be the subject of s’estenda.  The only example I have been able to find of the collocation dreg rendre is aisi es dreg rendutz / per ver a cada part («ainsi justice est faite de part et d’autre»), ed. Joseph Linskill, Les épîtres de Guiraut Riquier, Liège 1985, pp. 249 and 269, Épître XII, 90-91. However, here the sense must be «the right to something»: compare SW, II, 298, 3 «das von rechtswegen Zukommende», and Chanson de la croisade contre les Albigeois, ed. Eugène Martin-Chabot, 3 voll., Paris 1931-1961, 146.45, eu te clami la terra e·l dreg e la eretat («contre toi je réclame la terre, le droit et l’héritage»).

47. tan gent acompaingnatz presumably refers to the King of Navarre rather than Louis, though the syntax is ambiguous.

48. This is the only line not to place the caesura after the fourth syllable (though there is a lyric caesura in 41); it is tempting to imagine that it originally read que senbla.m be aver.

54. Rohleder suggests Zorzi has substituted the subjunctive for the indicative for the sake of the rhyme. It may be that the subjunctive has consecutive force: compare the note to 19, above.

57. Levy s’a cor, which I do not understand. See note 19 above.

59. Levy cujon, but what would be the plural subject?

60. Suggested corrections to qus (Levy ques, Chabaneau quei or que) appear unnecessary.

61. Levy, note: «Valgidutrals. Wie ist zu bessern? Valgr’outrals? Aber gibt das einen genügenden Sinn?» Chabaneau, p. 199, believed this correction to be certainly right, translating «car autrement il ne vaudrait pas, comme il vaut, plus que les plus prisés». Rohleder, Zu Zorzi’s Gedichten, p. 18 emends to valgr’outrals. I take valg as a 3 p. preterite of valer: compare Martin-Chabot, Chanson de la croisade, 136.23-24, de que fon grans pecatz, si m'ajut Dieus ni fes, / en valg mens totz lo mons, and   137.1-3, Totz lo mons ne valg mens, de ver o sapiatz, / car Paratges ne fo destruitz e decassatz / e totz Crestianesmes aonitz e abassatz. The i may have arisen through a previous exemplar having a filler of this typical form at the end of a line. I understand literally «for other than he is worth (in the present) beyond those who are prized, he was not worth (in the past)», in other words he has never been more valuable than he is now, and his worth exceeds that of others who are valued: a hyperbole evidently designed to flatter and spur on the English King.

62. Levy acor’, though it is hard to see how acorar can be right (PD «frapper au coeur, percer, tuer; toucher au coeur, intéresser vivement»).

64. For the conditional reflecting an attitude of politeness, modesty or obligation (as in French je voudrais), see Jensen, Syntaxe, §§ 561 and 566.

65. Levy corrects yhacoron to acoron, Chabaneau to quey ac. From his introduction (p. 21) it is clear that Levy understood plazenz as a wrongly-inflected adjective qualifying chantar, and he censures Zorzi for unjustified obscurity in this alleged praise of his own composition («und mit einem durch den Werth seiner Gedichte ganz und gar nicht gerechtfertigen Dünkel schliesst er das Sirventes»). Chabaneau (p. 200) saw plazens as an adverb, but does not otherwise disagree with this interpretation. It is clear to me (as it was to Gianfranco Folena, «Tradizione e cultura trobadorica nelle corti e nelle città venete», in Storia della cultura veneta. Dalle origini al Trecento, ed. Girolamo Arnaldi and Gianfranco Folena, 7 voll., Vicenza 1976-1987, vol. I, «Dalle origini al Trecento», pp. 453-562, p. 123) that plazenz qualifies the baros: the poet wishes his song could commemorate all the crusaders in detail (baros may mean «barons» but it could simply be a term of respect for «men, warriors»). What is the force of y? Does it mean «there» as in «at the attack» (62, q’us n’ai’assaut qu’el no·i sia prezenz? Or «here», picking up sa cor from 57? Or even a dative, «to Him», echoing pois Deu acor in 62 (see Jensen, Syntaxe, §§ 680 and 682)? The distinction would hardly have mattered at the time of composition. I have opted for «here» but with no certainty.

[LP, lb]

BdT    Bertolome Zorzi

Songs referring to the crusades