Analysis of manuscripts: C 326v (Bernatz de rouennac), R 38v (Rozenac). − CR are close, as expected, and may derive from a defective source: see the notes to 40 and 42. They contain indifferent variants 4-5, 7, 13, 14, 16 and 22. Because R is garbled or erroneous in 24, 29, 31 and 33, C has been chosen as base, but is corrected from R in 3, 36 and 37 (minor errors), and 42 and 44 where R shows better understanding.
3 del C 4 quen coratiai que r. R 5 dels] lurs R; issernitz R 7 flax or flacx C, fols with the ‘s’ apparently corrected R 12 quels sieus C 13 flac R 14 sien dormitz R 16 angieus R 17 daragon R 22 re R 24 prezar | lay l. R 26 non R 29 sia be | be f. R 31 sas tenezos] sai be | de followed by an erasure R 33 la] li R 34 soles R 36 lojatenda C 37 queu C 42 en uey hom or enuey om C, enueion or enueiom R; mals ditz C 44 ia men lays p. u. C.
Dating and historical circumstances:
Bernart’s sirventes relates to the Occitan uprising of 1242: see Bosdorff, pp. 768-773 and Alfred Jeanroy, «Le soulèvement de 1242 dans la poésie des troubadours», Annales du Midi, 16, 1904, pp. 311-329, on pp. 326-327. As a result of defeat in the Albigensian crusade, Raimon VII of Toulouse had been forced to accept the humiliating Treaty of Paris of 1229, which stipulated that if he produced no male heir all his lands would revert to the king of France through the marriage of Louis IX’s brother Alphonse to Raimon’s only daughter Jeanne. For years the Count sought hesitantly and unsuccessfully to re-establish his position by asserting his claims on Provence, and in 1241 he concluded an agreement with the Count of Provence, Raimon Bérenger V, which saw him betrothed to Sanchia, the Count’s third daughter and the sister of the queens of France and England. Powicke observes that «The part played by James of Aragon at this time is very significant of the complicated tugs and strains to which a medieval king might be subjected», and explains why since 1234, despite his claims and titles in the south, «when war with King Louis of France on behalf of his rights and the rights of his vassals in Languedoc had been imminent, he had preferred a peaceful policy. He felt that a family compact between Raimon of Toulouse and Raimond-Berenger of Provence under his and papal auspices would be the best way to check French advance. If Raimon could have a son the treaty of Paris of 1229 would not operate. Hence it was arranged that Raimon’s marriage with Sanchia of Aragon, James’s aunt, should be annulled on grounds of consanguinity and papal approval be procured also for a new marriage with Sanchia of Provence. The former object was obtained, but Pope Gregory IX died before the second could be reached. Raimon was affianced by proxy at Aix on 11 August 1241, the pope died on 22 August, and during the vacancy in the papal chair Raimon-Berenger repudiated the contract» (Frederick M. Powicke, King Henry III and the Lord Edward, 2 voll., Oxford 1947, vol. II, pp. 192-194). – The failure of James’s plans led Raimon to align himself with Henry III of England and Count Hugh of La Marche. Henry’s attempts to recover Normandy, Brittany, Anjou, Poitou, and their satellites had been the central element of Henry’s foreign policy since their loss at the beginning of the thirteenth century (Simon Lloyd, English Society and the Crusade, 1216-1307, Cambridge 1988, p. 219). On 24 June 1241 Alphonse was knighted at Saumur, and at Poitiers in July he was invested with the county of Poitou. Hugh paid him homage with some reluctance, and then regretting it he «rallied the barons and castellans of Poitou at Parthenay and then, with them, entered into a sworn confederacy with the seneschal, cities, and barons of Gascony» (Powicke, pp. 188-189). Henry welcomed the opportunity this offered him and bound himself by oath to go to Gascony and demand his rights of the King of France, sailing there in May 1242, when he was the centre of a widespread alliance of southern princes pledged to support Henry in a war against Louis. After the battles of Taillebourg and Saintes (20-22 July) the Count of La Marche submitted humiliatingly to Louis, Henry withdrew, and «within a few weeks of his arrival, all hope of the restoration of Poitou to himself and his brother was destroyed, and he was thrown back on the southern allies whom Raimon of Toulouse had gathered together». He seems to have taken no further military action while bogged down in this incoherent alliance and having only limited ability to give unqualified support to Raimon: in the Bordeaux convention of 28 August Henry said that «if the Church of Rome attacked Raimon, and the king of France, at the mandate of the pope, moved against him and entered his land in person, he would not desist, at the prayers or admonitions of the Church of Rome, from helping him, unless compelled to do so by sentence of excommunication». Powicke comments that the French armies «soon relieved him of any sense of dilemma». Raimon capitulated on 20 October 1242, and in January 1243 accepted the peace of Lorris where he undertook to abide by the treaty of Paris of 1229, which put paid to further resistance to French influence in the Languedoc. «Henry complained bitterly of Raimon’s desertion, but could do nothing. In April he made another truce with Louis of France. In September he returned to England» (Powicke, pp. 191-195). – I agree with Bosdorff (pp. 768-772) that Bernart’s sirventes was composed in the aftermath of Alphonse’s knighting and establishment in his apanage of Poitou and Auvergne in July 1241, an event which aroused fury and hatred in the south. But his claim that it must predate Henry’s departure from England in May 1242 since Bernart is trying to incite him to set out and the fighting has not yet begun, is far from certain. It would make much more sense for Henry to be in France, since Bernart is hoping for Henry actually to listen to him, and sending a song over to England would not be a quick process. – Bosdorff assumes that fighting has not yet begun, which is why he places the song before Taillebourg. But Henry appears to have done no more fighting after Saintes, which means that vv. 9-16 could easily apply to any period from the defeat in July 1242 to his return to England in September 1243. Moreover it is unclear how far Raimon was actually engaged in any fighting after Saintes and before his capitulation at the approach of the King’s army in October 1242, so vv. 33-40 might apply to that period, with the troubadour spurring him on to greater action. However, another possibility is the spring of 1243. At Easter Henry III agreed a truce with Louis to last for more than five years. Raimon travelled to the Rhône region with the intention of taking up arms again against Raimon-Bérenger V, but was persuaded to sign a truce with him on 29 June in Beaucaire (Recueil des actes des comtes de Provence appartenant à la maison de Barcelone (1196-1245). Alphonse II et Raimon Berenguer V, ed. Fernand Benoît, 2 voll., Monaco and Paris 1925, vol. II, pp. 446-447 no. 364, a truce that was apparently prolonged at the request of the King of Aragon. This could readily explain the disgust expressed by the troubadour against the inaction of all three leaders, with the mention of Beaucaire in v. 35 having particular pungency. As Bosdorff notes, Beaucaire was one of the main towns of the county of Toulouse and was often referred to by the troubadours as standing for the whole region. The loss of this rich city at the treaty of Paris in 1229 was a painful sacrifice for Raimon VII. So the sirventes would not be an incitement to fight on the eve of Henry’s arrival to support the 1242 uprising; rather it would represent a hopeless, unrealistic last-ditch attempt to revive the Count of Toulouse’s claims. – Jeanroy’s article on the 1242 uprising was published before Bosdorff had time to take full account of it. His dating is similar to Bosdorff’s, in that he notes that on 30 May 1241 Raimon attempted to recover Beaucaire by drawing up an act with the archbishop of Arles by which the latter granted him Arles as a fief, even though it was the seat of a royal sénéchaussée, and he concludes that Raimon had specifically asked the troubadour to support his cause: the Count, he commented, «selon une pratique qui paraît avoir été fort usitée en ce temps, se faisait précisément conseiller par l’officieux troubadour les actes qu’il se préparait (ou qu’il était en train) d’accomplir». This is dubious, both for the reasons outlined above, and because there is no evidence that the troubadour could not have expressed independent views, or views of a wider public disgusted with the turn of events. – Bosdorff does not indicate who he thinks the king referred to in v. 37 is; Jeanroy (p. 327) declares that it can only be Jaume I. He argues that although an alliance between the Count of Toulouse and the King of Aragon did not actually happen (see also the notes to BdT 126.1 and BdT 365.1, my editions on Rialto), a rumour to this effect spread, and the Count of Toulouse may have contributed to the belief that it had. Montaignagol reports this rumour: Si.l reys Jacmes, cuy no mentim, / complis so qu’elh e nos plevim, / segon qu’auzim («Si le roi Jacques, à qui nous n’avons pas manqué de parole, avait exécuté ce qui, entre lui et nous, avait été convenu, selon ce que nous comprenons...»). However, it is much more likely that the reference in the present piece is to Henry III, who had bound himself by oath to go to Gascony in support of Raimon VII.
1-8. Bernart’s defiant assertion of his indifference to any favourable response of part of his potential public seems to be a negative development of Raimon de Miraval’s canso on which he based his versification and almost certainly tune. Raimon’s song begins: Chans, quan non es qui l’entenda, / No pot ren valer, / E pus luec ai e lezer / Que mon bel solatz despenda, / Ses gap si’un pauc auzitz; / Quar totz ditz es mielhs grazitz, / Quant a la fi pauz’om ben las razos, / Per qu’ieu vuel far entendre mas chansos («Une chanson ne peut rien valoir s’il n’y a personne qui la comprenne; et puisque j’ai l’occasion et l’inclination de prodiger ma belle joie, qu’on mécoute sans bruit! car tout chant est mieux apprécié si à la fin on établit bien le sujet. C’est pourquoi je veux faire comprendre mes chansons»; Les Poésies du troubadour Raimon de Miraval, ed. Leslie T. Topsfield, Paris 1971, XXII, 1-8, pp. 198-201). The word entendre can of course also mean «to hear, to listen to» as well as «to understand».
3. Translation of saber is always tricky; here I interpret it to mean that the rich and powerful think they always know best, belied by their lack of judgment in their actions (v. 5). But there may also be a nuance of «learning» or «education». The adjective fals implies both «unsound» and «assumed».
5. All previous editors print yssernitz, though C’s reading is clear (R issernitz). It appears that all subsequent editors relied on Raynouard’s transcription.
7. Raynouard (who sometimes «normalises» graphies, e.g. Angieus for Angieu) and subsequent editors print flacx.
12. Bosdorff (whose choice of ms. readings is eclectic) opts for C’s que.ls sieus, but the context shows that the concern here is the defence of property, not people.
14. Bosdorff opts for R’s si’endurmitz which avoids hiatus.
15. Bosdorff prints reis here and in 37, apparently misreading C.
16. The line in both mss. mixes places and people. Bosdorff opts for R’s angieus which he translates as ‘Anjou’. Given that Tors is unambiguously ‘Tours’, Angieu probably refers to Angers rather than Anjou (compare Wilhelmina M. Wiacek, Lexique des noms géographiques et ethniques dans les poésies des troubadours des XIIe et XIIIe siècles, Paris 1968, p. 73 and Frank M. Chambers, Proper Names in the Lyrics of the Troubadours, Chapel Hill 1971, p. 48. Bosdorff notes that Touraine, Normandy and Anjou had already been seized from John Lackland by Philip Augustus, but Henry, as his father John, regarded the judgment delivered by the peers of France in 1204 as invalid. Henry tried on several occasions to recover them through force of arms, until at the treaty of Paris in 1259 he finally renounced his claims (see Powicke, p. 169).
17. Bosdorff corrects to Reis, unnecessarily: see Ruth Harvey and Linda Paterson, The Troubadour Tensos and Partimens: A Critical Edition, 3 voll., Cambridge 2010, vol. I, pp. xxii-xxvi.
19. As Bosdorff observes (p. 806), such etymological wordplay on names is not infrequent among the troubadours. Here the link of James’s name Jacme (jac me, «I lie down») to jazer («to lie») mocks James not only for idleness but also for his well-known womanising.
23-24. For the concessive sense of the conjunction e «and yet» see Frede Jensen, Syntaxe de l’ancien occitan, Tübingen 1994, § 733. Bosdorff comments that despite the troubadour’s gibes at the King of Aragon for his inactivity in Occitania, his resounding successes against the Moors were too well-known simply to be ignored. – The allusion to the shame James is suffering in the vicinity of Limoux concerns his seigneurial rights over the district of Carcassonne (Bosdorff, p. 807), which had been taken from Raimon VII in 1229.
25. For car vendre in the sense of «to take revenge for», see SW, VIII, 633, 7, citing this line, and Bosdorff’s note (p. 807). James’s father Peire II of Aragon was killed by the French during the Albigensian crusade at the battle of Muret in 1213, a disaster for Occitan resistance to the northern army under Simon de Montfort.
32. For the sense of heretar here, see Bosdorff’s note (p. 807) and SW, III, 121. As Jeanroy observes (Alfred Jeanroy, «Le soulèvement de 1242 dans la poésie des troubadours», Annales du Midi, 16, 1904, pp. 311-329, on pp. 326-327), Louis IX had not conceded any fief held directly by the king of Aragon, but he had perhaps granted Alphonse some rights that the treaty of Paris allowed him upon the succession of Raimon VII, and in Raimon’s lands there were fiefs where James also claimed rights.
35. As Bosdorff notes, Beaucaire was one of the main towns of the county of Toulouse and was often referred to by the troubadours as standing for the whole region. The loss of this rich city at the treaty of Paris in 1229 was a painful sacrifice for Raimon VII.
40. Bosdorff justifies retention of autas tors at the rhyme in 40 by reference to Stimming and Levy. While most of the numerous examples on COM of tors = «towers» rhyme with -ors, two non-lyric examples show it rhyming with -os: Liurez aces cloceis e murs e tors. / Ne cuit Carles Martels ja baut per vos (Girart de Roussillon, ed. W. Mary Hackett, 3 voll., Paris 1953-1955, vv. 803-804), and E le bons Costantins, qu’era rey poderos, / tota la sieutat fes rebastir e las tors (Nicola Zingarelli, «Le roman de Saint Trophime», Annales du Midi, 13, 1901, pp. 297-345, vv. 741-742). For the fairly common licence of -ors rhyming with -os, from Marcabru onwards, see Ruth Harvey and Linda Paterson, The Troubadour Tensos and Partimens: A Critical Edition, 3 voll., Cambridge 2010, vol. III, p. 1207.
42. Milà and Bosdorff were puzzled by the mss. readings (Milà had translated «todos ven lo malo que de vosotros puede decirse (?)») and the latter corrects to Enueia.m. There is no need for emendation: the readings echo the troubadour’s professed indifference to public acclaim in stanza I. – For the possessive pronoun vostres used as an objective genetive, see Bosdorff’s note (p. 808) and Jensen, Syntaxe, § 286.
44. C’s m’en lays is facilior. In BdT 66.2 Bernart also declares he will not lie to powerful men: see my edition on Rialto, vv. 7-8 and 51.
BdT Bernart de Rovenac
Songs referring to the crusades