Rialto

80.17

 

 

 

Bertran de Born

 

 

 

 

 

 

Folheta, vos mi preiatz qe ieu chan

 

 

pero non hai ni seinhor ni vezi

 

 

d’aqest afar aia cor ni talan

 

 

ni vueilha ges q’en chantan lo casti.

5

 

Mas vos o tenes a joia

 

 

amta ab pro mais qe honor ab dan;

 

 

e aves mal chauzit al mieu semblan.

 

 

 

 

 

La raucha vos don cridaz en chantan

 

 

e·l niegre cors don semblas sarrazi

10

 

e·l paupre mot qe dizes en contan,

 

 

e qar flairaz sap e gema e pi

 

 

con avols gens de Savoia,

 

 

e qar es lag garnitz e mal estan,

 

 

ab qe·us n’anes, farai vostre coman.

 

 

 

15

 

Ara parra de prez qals l’a plus gran

 

 

de totz aqells qi·s leveron mati:

 

 

mesier Conratz l’a plus fin, ses enjan,

 

 

qe·s defen lai a Sur d’En Saladi

 

 

e de sa mainada croia.

20

 

Dieus l’acorra, qe·l secors vai tardan.

 

 

Sols aura·l prez, pos sols suefre l’afan.

 

 

 

 

 

Mesier Conrat, a Jesu vos coman,

 

 

q’ieu fors lai, ab vos, so vos afi,

 

 

mas laissei m’en qan vi qe li plus gran

25

 

si croiçavan, li rei e li primsi.

 

 

Pueis vi midons, bella e bloia,

 

 

per qe mos cors mi vai afreollan,

 

 

lai for’ab vos, s’ieu en saupes aitan.

 

 

 

 

 

D’En Oc-e-No mi vauc ara duptan,

30

 

qar peza li si nuilha re·l casti,

 

 

e·l reis frances vai si trop apriman

 

 

ez ai paor qe veinha sobre mi.

 

 

Mas anc al seje de Troia

 

 

non ac tan duc, primce ni amiran

35

 

con ieu ai mes, per chantar, a mon dan.

 

 

 

 

 

A mon Ysombart, part Troia,

 

 

vai, serventes, e di li·m, q’ieu lo·l man,

 

 

q’als reis crozatz es amta, qar non van.

 

 

English translation [LP]

I. Little-leaf, you beg me to sing, yet I have neither lord nor neighbour who feels any inclination or desire for this business, or who has the least wish for me to berate him in singing. But you, you delight more in a shameful profit than in an honourable loss; and you have chosen badly, it seems to me.
II. Because of your hoarse, screeching singing voice, and your black body that makes you look like a Saracen, and the poverty of expression in your storytelling, and because you reek of fir and resin and pine like the disgusting Savoyards, and because you dress poorly and slouch, if only you’ll go away I’ll do what you command.
III. Now it will be clear who has the greatest merit of all the early risers: Lord Conrad’s is the purest and truest, for he is defending himself overseas at Tyre against Lord Saladin and his vile troops. God will help him, for help is slow in coming! He alone will have the prize, since he alone suffers the hardship.
IV. Lord Conrad, I commend you to Jesus, for I would be there with you, I assure you, but I held back when I saw the greatest men were taking the cross, the kings and the princes. Then I saw my lovely blond lady, who makes my heart grow weak, but I would be with you if I knew as much about it as they do.
V. Now I’m afraid of Lord Yes-and-No, as he doesn’t like me to rebuke him in the least, and the French king is being far too sensitive and I’m afraid he will come down on me like a ton of bricks. But I’ve braved more dukes, princes and emirs in song than were ever at the siege of Troy.
VI. Go to My Isembart beyond Troyes, sirventes, and tell him from me, for it’s to him that I’m sending it, that it is shameful for the kings who have taken the cross not to leave.

 

Italian translation [lb]

I. Foglietta, voi mi pregate di cantare, ma io non ho né signore né vicino che abbia voglia o smania di questa faccenda, né che voglia minimamente che io gli faccia la morale con i miei canti. Ma voi, voi vi rallegrate maggiormente di un profitto vergognoso che di una perdita onorevole. E avete fatto una cattiva scelta, a mio parere.
II. A causa della vostra voce roca con la quale gridate quando cantate, del vostro corpo nero che vi dà l’aria di un Saraceno, dell’indigenza espressiva dei vostri racconti, perché voi odorate di abete, di resina e di pino alla maniera dei vili Savoiardi, e poiché siete mal vestito e sgraziato, vi obbedirò.
III. Ora si vedrà chi ha il merito più alto fra tutti quelli che si sono alzati presto: quello di messer Corrado è il più puro, privo di artifici, lui che si difende laggiù a Tiro contro Saladino e le sue truppe malvagie. Dio lo soccorrerà, poiché il soccorso tarda. Solo riceverà la gloria, poiché solo patisce la pena.
IV. Messer Corrado, vi raccomando a Gesù, poiché sarei con voi, laggiù, ve l’assicuro, ma vi ho rinunciato vedendo che i più grandi prendevano la croce, i re e i principi. E poi, ho visto la mia dama, bella e bionda, e così la mia determinazione si affievolisce, ma sarei con voi, se avessi saputo!
V. Ora, io temo il signor Sì-e-No, poiché egli non ama che gli faccia la minima rimostranza. E il re francese è troppo suscettibile e ho paura che mi schiacci come una formica. Ma ho sfidato con le mie canzoni più duchi, principi ed emiri di quanti ce ne furono all’assedio di Troia.
VI. Sirventese, vai a trovare il mio Isembart, oltre Troyes, e digli da parte mia, poiché a lui lo mando, che per i re crociati non partire è una vergogna.

 

 

 

Text: Gouiran 1985 (XXXIV-XLII). – Rialto 5.iii.2013.


Mss.: M 232v; stanzas III and IV are also transmitted by Dc 257r, F 100v, I 176r, K 161r, d 279v.

Critical editions: Albert Stimming, Bertran de Born, sein Leben und seine Werke, mit Anmerkung und Glossar, Halle 1879, p. 157 (XVII); Antoine Thomas, Poésies complètes de Bertran de Born, publiées dans le texte original, avec une introduction, des notes, un glossaire et des extraits du cartulaire de Dalon, Toulouse 1888, p. 81 (XXI); Albert Stimming, Bertran von Born, Halle 1892, p. 129 (XXXVI); Albert Stimming, Bertran von Born, zweite, verbesserte Auflage, Halle 1913, p. 133 (XXXVI); Carl Appel, Die Lieder Bertrans von Born, Halle 1932, p. 77 (XXXII); Gérard Gouiran, L’amour et la guerre. L’oeuvre de Bertran de Born, 2 voll., Aix-en-Provence 1985, vol. II, p. 684 and p. 795; William D. Paden - Tilde Sankovitch - Patricia H. Stäblein, The poems of the Troubadour Bertran de Born, Berkley - Los Angeles 1986, p. 408 (XL).

Versification: a10 b10 a10 b10 c7’ a10 a10 (Frank 347:2); two coblas unissonans of seven lines: stanzas III-V and the tornada represent a different version of BdT 80.4.

Notes: The manuscript tradition of this song is complicated and the text appears to have been re-worked on at least two occasions. The mss. present two different versions, one in DcFIKd and one in M. The M version begins with two stanzas addressed to the jongleur Fuilheta, which are followed by two stanzas corresponding to stanzas I and II of the DcFIKd version, and a further complete stanza and tornada isolated from the rest of the tradition. Paden prints the M version in its entirety (poem 40, p. 411) followed by the DcFIKd version (poem 41, p. 417). Gouiran sees stanzas III-VI of the M version as the early, core, version, and argues that the two Fuilheta stanzas were tacked on at the beginning of this at a later stage of reworking. He therefore edits the two parts of M separately: the Fulheta stanzas as poem 42 of his edition (II, p. 796) and the rest as an alternative version of poem 34 (II, p. 684). On Rialto I have followed Gouiran’s texts for both of these, but presented the M version as a single text, as Paden does, since this is what is in the ms., though the Fuilheta stanzas make no difference to the question of dating the core stanzas III-VI. In the following discussion I follow the line numbering as given in the Rialto texts. The general background to events referred to here are that after Saladin’s defeat of the Christians at Hattin on 3 July 1187, Conrad of Montferrat, holed up in the Christian stronghold of Tyre, sent desperate messages to the West for aid. Although Richard the Lionheart, then Count of Poitou and Duke of Aquitaine, took the cross as soon as he heard the news, other leaders showed less sense of urgency, eventually doing so in mid-January 1188. However, it took another three years before Richard and King Philip II Augustus of France set sail for the East, by which time King Henry II of England was dead, as they continued to wage quarrel amongst themselves at home (see Gouiran’s edition, pp. 659-664 and Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, 3 voll., Harmondsworth 1971, first published Cambridge 1951-1954, vol. II, pp. 457-472). The M text clearly postdates mid-January 1188 when the kings and princes took the cross (vv. 24-25). While Paden suggests for this version a date of «not long before the departure of the crusaders in spring 1191», with the DcFIKd version being composed «not long thereafter» (p. 409), I accept, with one exception, Gouiran’s different arguments for a date of spring 1188 for the M version, with the DcFIKd version dating from well over a year later. To deal with the exception first: Gouiran relates the lines e·l reis frances vai si trop apriman / ez ai paor qe veinha sobre mi (vv. 31-32) to a period when Philip Augustus of France was threatening Aquitaine and opposing its duke, Richard the Lionheart, between February and November 1188, and more specifically the end of spring of that year (pp. 671-672). This argument rests on his translation of vai si apriman as «se met trop en avant». However, although aprimairar means «se mettre au premier rang», aprimar means «amincir, raffiner» (PD); compare Paden, «goes so daintily», and Bertran appears simply to be complaining that the French King, like Richard in the previous lines, is being over-sensitive to criticism. However, Gouiran’s other arguments are much more persuasive. As he observes, the line Ara parra de prez qals l’a plus gran (v. 15 of 80.17, but the opening line of the original core version), responds to lines in a song by Conon de Béthune, who is mentioned under the senhal Mon Ysombart in v. 36: Dieus est assis en son saint iretaige; / ore i parra con cil le secorront / cui il jeta de la prison ombraje, and or i parra ki a certes iert preus (Ahi! Amors, com dure departie, ed. Wallensköld 1921, pp. 6-7, vv. 17-19 and 42). Conon composed his song after Saladin’s defeat of the Christians at Hattin on 3 July 1187, probably soon after the fall of Jerusalem in October and his taking the cross in January 1188 (Gouiran pp. 663 and 671). While the M version seems to be a relatively immediate response to Conon’s crusade song, in the DcFIKd version the connection with Conon de Béthune, who is no longer mentioned in the envois, fades and the line Ara sai eu de pretz qals l’a plus gran (v. 1) no longer echoes the trouvère’s song; and while the formulae Ore i parra and Ara parra gave the western barons the opportunity to show their valour, from now on everything is over and done with and Bertran can proclaim: Ara sai eu de prez quals l’a plus gran» (p. 673). He also comments on ways in which the two stanzas retained from the earlier M version have been brought up to date in DcFIKd (pp. 673-674). In M, Bertran, who seems never actually to have intended to go on crusade, offers the excuse that there was no point in rushing off to help Conrad once he saw the great leaders taking the cross (24-25), evidently referring to the ceremony of January 1188. But in the DcFIKd version this is no longer relevant, since the leaders are not in fact leaving, so his excuse is that he held back because the leaders were delaying so much (vv.10-11). Gouiran adds that Bertran’s other excuse in both versions is that he weakened before his lady’s charms, and that in M he expresses this in the present tense: pueis vi midons bella e bloia, / per qe mos cors mi vai afreollan (26-27), needing to explain his present attitude in the face of his belief in an imminent departure, whereas in the DcFIKd version he does not need to explain why he is not leaving since no-one else is going, but instead has to explain why he held back earlier, and so expresses his excuse in the past tense: pois vi midonz bell’ e bloia, / per qe s’anet mos cors afeblaian (12-13). Moreover in v. 28 of M the very general formula lai for’ab vos, s’ieu en saupes aitan becomes much more precise in DcFIKd, v. 14, qu’eu fora lai ben ha passat un an, indicating that it is over a year since Bertran thought initially of leaving, so at least early 1189; in fact the reference to Richard as king in v. 18 proves that the DcFIKd version must have been composed after he succeeded his father in July 1189, if not after his coronation on 3 September (for further discussion of the dating of the DcFIKd version see the notes to 80.4 on Rialto). – Line 1, Folheta: a jongleur. – Line 2, the «early risers» are pilgrims or crusaders: see Gouiran’s edition, p. 687. – Line 29, En Oc-e-No: a senhal for Richard the Lionheart. – Lines 31-32, for the translation of vai si apriman see above. I have translated veinha sobre mi idiomatically, as has LB. – Line 35, Gouiran translates mes a mon dan as «attaché à ma perte», Paden «turned against myself»; but see SW, II, 6-7, 6, citing Meyer’s gloss to Flamenca, 6315, que tot lo mon a son dan sia, «metre a son dan, c’est admettre (qqun) comme étant mal disposé pour soi, le braver». – Line 36, mon Ysombart: a senhal (pseudonym) for Conon de Béthune of Artois, northwest of Troyes.

[LP, lb]


BdT    Bertran de Born