Analysis of manuscripts: M 243r-v (Seruentes . durantz de paernas), a1 521-522 (Durant sartres de carpentras). – The mss. share an error in 12; their divergence at the beginnings of 35-37 may reflect damage to a previous exemplar, or else rewriting to make sense of a topical reference not fully grasped. a1 lacks 14, 20 and the second tornada; 3-8 show signs of rewriting, 8 being no doubt missing in its exemplar and the scribe confecting an extra line at 5 to fill the gap but misplacing it. It contains several errors of sense (10, 40), sense and syntax (39), and rhyme (1, 34 [also grammar]), with a further error at 12, though may have preserved a difficilior reading in 31 (qil). Its gaps and errors make it unsuitable as base, given that apart from the common error in 12, and what is probably a further error in 20, M requires no correction. M was also Jeanroy’s base. However, a1’s stanza order, which I have adopted, seems much more satisfactory than M’s: stanza IV rounds off the content of the first three stanzas, with stanza V switching from the lai of 30 to sai of 33, and from past failures to present action and policy.

Order and amount of material:

  M 1 2 3 5 4 6 7
  a1 1 2 3 4 6 5 -


Critical apparatus:

I.  1 s. en cor a1    3 qan e mantieing . non e faillira h. a1    4 et endomenz . qai arbalestre troc a1    5-8 nom laissarai qe en | estant non broc . / e brocarai per trair al maior loc / al rei | engles qe hom ten per badoc / qar sufra onitz qom del sieu (or sien) lo desroc . a1.

II.  10 after rei, «a» crossed out a1; mal tenc] mante a1    11 fo a1    12 lo fes nuels a1; naimerics Ma1    13 qieu] qe a1    14 missing a1    15 mas zel lo fes . con hom a1.

III.  19 dera] deia a1    20 enqiera nagran M; missing a1    21 o] lo a1; donon t. a1    22 qe uist agran a1    23 sabon q. naduz a1    24 aunit] honrat a1.

IV.  26 miels a1; a trap a1    27 a clap a1    28 broc ablenap with the «c» written on top of a letter that has a descender crossed out (perhaps «p»), and «ablenab» crossed out followed by «ab lenab» a1    29 mas beus a1    31 crit] qil a1    32 no·i] no a1.

V.  34 capdels a1    35 mas il tengron a1    36 qar nostra . | partz na fag a1    37 per qal a1    39 seram a1    40 rot] tot a1.

VI.  41 Qi de bon pretz uol far a1.


Dating and historical circumstances:

As Tourtoulon (II, pp. 68-69) and Jeanroy demonstrated, the sirventes was composed around the time of the 1242 southern uprising against French domination (for details of this see the general note to BdT 66.3 on Rialto). Three other pieces relating to this rebellion include those of Guilhem Montanhagol (BdT 225.3, 5-20 October 1242), Bernart de Rovenac (BdT 66.3, between July 1241 and spring 1243: see the notes to my edition on Rialto), and probably Peire del Vilar (BdT 365.1, 9 May-22 July 1242: see Linda Paterson, «Peire del Vilar, Sendatz vermelhs, endis e ros (BdT 365,1)», Lecturae tropatorum, 6, 2013, «». – Duran’s sirventes must have been composed after the defeat of the southerners at Taillebourg and Saintes on 20-22 July 1242. At this point Count Hugh of La Marche submitted to the King of France (referred to in 19-24), and Henry III of England, who had been hoping to profit from an alliance with them to regain lost territory in France (referred to in lines 6-8), withdrew and apparently took no further military action (see the general note to BdT 66.3 on Rialto). – All scholars have hitherto accepted that the two counts of stanza V are Raimon Berenguer V of Provence and Raimon VII Toulouse («Les deux comtes nommés au v. 26 sont évidemment – tout le monde est d’accord sur ce point – ceux de Toulouse et de Provence», Jeanroy, p. 320). These had long been in conflict over territories in Provence and the Venaissin. In 1239 Raimon VII, with the help of Barral of Baux, conquered the Venaissin and named Barral’s daughter Cecilia heiress to that county. During the period 1232 to 1243 Raimon made several attempts to carry out military operations from there and the lower Rhône valley, but with little success, Raimon Berenguer emerging as the eventual victor (see Florian Mazel, La Noblesse et l’Eglise en Provence, fin Xe-début XIVe siècle. L’exemple des familles d’Agoult-Simiane, de Baux et de Marseille, Paris 2002, pp. 407-410; Thierry Pécout, L’invention de la Provence: Raymond Bérenger V (1209-1237), Paris 2004, pp. 184-189). Jeanroy relates stanza V (IV in his edition) to events leading up to a truce signed by the counts at Beaucaire on 29 June 1243 (Claude Devic and Joseph Vaissete, Histoire générale du Languedoc, 15 voll., Toulouse 1872-1892 (= HGL), voll. VI, p. 759 and VIII, p. 1124; Recueil des actes des comtes de Provence appartenant à la maison de Barcelone (1196-1245). Alphonse II et Raimon Berenguer V, éd. Fernand Benoît, 2 voll., Monaco and Paris 1925, vol. II, pp. 446-447 no. 364). He recounts that in the spring of 1243 war between them, «à peine interrompue par les événements de l’année précédente, fut sur le point d’éclater de nouveau; elle ne fut conjurée que par des accords plusieurs fois renouvelés, dont on avait toutes les raisons du monde de suspecter la solidité». But, he asks, does v. 27 meant that «les comtes observeraient leur accord sérieusement», or that they «considéreraient un accord comme chose bonne et belle»? In the first case, he argues, the piece would fall after 29 June 1243, but in the second case, before it. He considers that in the first case there would have been an article or possessive adjective determining plait, and unhesitatingly places the piece in the winter of 1242-1243, «hypothèse plus vraisemblable à tous les égards, car la violence des sentiments du poète semble indiquer qu’il est sous le coup d’événements tout récents» (pp. 321 and 313). But he adduces no specific evidence of a prospective truce during the winter: his references to the HGL for «des accords plusieurs fois renouvelés» concern May-June 1243 and beyond. – References to conflict with Raimon Berenguer of Provence seem out of place in the context of southern resistance to the French. The troubadour bitterly excoriates the croi ric who have failed to defend the south against French domination and points out that the French are not unbeatable since the Turks have put up a better showing against them than they have. But how does the intermittent war between Toulouse and Provence fit into this? Is the troubadour just interested in war of any kind? This seems unsatisfactorily incoherent. Was stanza V added to an earlier version of the song – which could explain the divergent manuscript transmission – with a rather clumsy attempt at updating? This too seems unsatisfactory as the earlier stanzas would now be out of date. But in either case how could q’ar (or qar) non es qi·ls capdel (34) be explained – why should their conflict entail leadership by someone else? Jeanroy translates «car ils n’ont personne qui les dirige», but offers no comment. – These difficulties disappear if we reconsider the identity of the «two counts». The problem for modern readers is of course that we were not there at the time of performance, whereas the contemporary audience would have certainly known who was intended. One of Raimon VII’s original allies in the uprising against the French was Count Roger Trencavel of Foix, who was defeated and by October 5 1242 had concluded a peace treaty with Louis (HGL, VI, 747). During the previous month Raimon tried to negotiate peace with Louis but had been rebuffed; he in turn was forced to capitulate on October 20 (HGL, VI, 748-749). A dating of September 1242 is wholly compatible with stanza V: the two counts, Raimon of Toulouse and Roger Trencavel of Foix, are «playing at war» because they have no-one powerful, such as Henry of England or Jaume of Aragon, to lead them, but they would very much like to conclude a peace agreement. The Toulousain side is decidedly unenthusiastic about this, and the troubadour looks forward to the following spring of 1243 when proper war will break out again – a hope shortly to be extinguished in October 1242. This also fits very well with the reference to Olivier de Termes in the second tornada. Olivier had fought alongside the Count of Toulouse as long ago as 1227 and had helped the Count of Foix to provoke revolt in Languedoc in 1240. He was captured and made to swear an oath to serve the King faithfully against his enemies, and hand over his castle of Aguilar as a caution; but a year later he was following Amalric in his rebellion and was excommunicated by the archbishop of Narbonne. He and Amalric followed Raimon in capitulating at the Peace of Lorris in January 1243 (Jeanroy, p. 324; Elizabeth Hallam, Capetian France 987-1328, London and New York 1980, p. 213). – Barral of Baux (42) belonged to a family whose interests had long opposed those of the counts of Provence. He was allied by marriage to Raimon VII through the count’s niece Sibylla of Anduze, and had been seneschal of the Venaissin since 1236. Jeanroy states (p. 324) that he must have been at the heart of the rebellion, though he did not join in the fighting and emerged unscathed from the crisis. The troubadour’s admiration of him as a model of military conduct may well stem from his successes in the Venaissin.


Textual notes:

4. Rather than e croc meaning «and hook » (Jeanroy «et crochet», no note), e is equivalent to en, and the expression must refer to the spanning of a crossbow. While a combattant might carry a hook or grappling iron it is an inappropriate accompaniment to a projectile weapon. But does en croc refer to the shape of the taut bow, or to the notch where the string is stretched back along a groove in the stock and held ready for release in a release nut? See Jim Bradbury, The Medieval Archer, Woodbridge 1985, p. 10 and the illustrations on pp. 80 and 146 which gives a better idea of the groove.

7. This is the only example of descoc attested on COM or in the dictionaries. Jeanroy interprets «qu’on le dépouille de ses biens», understanding descocar to mean «enlever la coca», modern examples of coco meaning «coque, coquille, écale» (TF, s.v.).

10. There is no documentary evidence to support Duran’s accusation that Jaume had concluded an alliance against the King of France which he then failed to honour, though contemporaries believed it to be true: see 31 and the general note to BdT 66.3 on Rialto.

12. Tourtoulon (II, p. 69), followed by Jeanroy, rightly emended to Amalrics. As Jeanroy states, although the mss. refer to Aimeric there is no reason why the troubadour should have shown such ardent sympathy for Aimeric III (1200/1202-1238; not IV, given by Jeanroy) who had always been careful to avoid joining in fight against the northern crusaders, and who was commended by Pope Gregory IX for his commitment to the Catholic faith and his hatred of heresy. His son Amalric on the other hand, viscount from 1 February 1239, always showed deep revulsion towards French occupation. He probably did not take part in the 1240 uprising, but the King of France, suspecting his intentions, had thought it necessary to summon him to his court and make him repeat his fidelity oath. From the renewal of hostilities at the beginning of 1242 he admitted Raimon VII into Narbonne, which the archbishop had had to leave in a hurry, so he fell under the excommunication which this prelate fulminated against the main rebels on 21 July. The Viscount only gave up the struggle «à la dernière extrémité, alors que son suzerain avait depuis longtempts imploré son pardon», in December 1242. Jeanroy may be correct that the error arose from confusion with the legendary figure, but it could equally have been the consequence of the frequent confusion between the names of the 13th-c. viscounts of Narbonne: see Ruth Harvey and Linda Paterson, The Troubadour Tensos and Partimens: A Critical Edition, 3 voll., Cambridge 2010, vol. III, p. 946 and the authoritative table in Jacqueline Caille, «Origine et développement de la seigneurie temporelle de l’archevêque dans la ville et le terroir de Narbonne (IXe-XIIe siècles)», in Narbonne. Archéologie et histoire, Colloque organisé à l’initiative de la Direction des Antiquités Historiques du Languedoc-Roussillon, à l’occasion du XLV Congrès de la Fédération Historique du Languedoc méditerranéen et du Roussillon, 3 voll., Montpellier 1973, vol. II, pp. 9-37 (on p. 25).

17-21. Jeanroy’s suggested emendation to 20 seems what is required here, though despite his claim that such elision is impossible, it does occasionally occur: see SW, V, 413, 1 and Marcabru: a Critical Edition, ed. Simon Gaunt, Ruth Harvey and Linda Paterson, Woodbridge 2000, XV, 36 and p. 19. – Jeanroy translates 21 «s’il l’a fait, c’est qu’ils n’avaient envers lui aucun tort (?)». For another example of tenir tort as «to commit a wrong» compare BdT 167.3, 41 Domna·l major tort que·us tenia, / es can volontiers vos servia, ed. Mouzat, p. 565 (70), IKd, no variants. The sense of the expression in the present piece seems confirmed by a1’s donon tort. – In his note Jeanroy expresses surprise at its sense but cannot see how plausibly to emend. On p. 322, n. 2, he remarks that the line is rather obscure: how can the poet say the French had done no wrong to the Count of La Marche, since this would disavow his participation in the coalition and by extension the coalition itself? The explanation is that el refers back to Jaume the Conqueror (as it does in 23): «but he [Jaume, emphatic] did this [o fes = made an agreement] because they [the French] were doing him no wrong». Compare Jensen, Syntaxe, § 212, «Le pronom sujet est souvent exprimé pour des raisons d’ordre rythmique, syntactique ou stylistique qui ne sont pas toujours faciles à débrouiller», and the use of el in 14-15.

25. Jeanroy was puzzled: «Les hauts barons ont passé par tant de traverses (?)», without comment. This does not really explain lur. The reference must be either to the specific defeat at Taillebourg and Saintes, 20-22 July 1242, or to the longer-term failure of the southern barons to assert themselves against the victorious French.

26. For clap PD gives «tas de pierres»; Jeanroy notes the translation acervus lapidum in the Donatz (see now The «Donatz Proensals» of Uc Faidit, ed. John H. Marshall, London 1969, p. 1531), and SW, I, 12 aclapar, «lapider, accabler sous des pierres» [«mit Steinen bedecken, begraben»], rejecting Raynouard’s «amasser, entasser» (LR, IV, 21). He also notes TF aclapa «recouvrir», «accabler» (Levy says Mistral has «couvrir de pierres, enterrer, enfouir»), and the modern sense of the reflexive, especially in Gascony, as «s’accroupir, tomber sur ses genoux». He prints aclap, translates «que les Français ont écrasé ce qu’il y avait de mieux au monde», and interprets it as a verbal adjective. Contrast BdT 330.6, Il trovatore Peire Bremon Ricas Novas, ed. Paolo di Luca, Modena 2008, XXI, 9-12: Mas ar vei q’al Sordel es pojat sus el cap / ab los sieus sirventes dont fai tan gran aclap: / ben par c’ab broc los vers e qe·ls mescla en enap, / pero tuit semblan motz siei dit aprop en cap («Ma ora vedo che Sordello si è montato la testa coi suoi sirventesi, con cui fa una grande confusione: sembra proprio che li versi con la brocca e che li mischi nella coppa, per cui tutte le sue parole sembrano mozze in testa»); he comments in the note «Il significato di aclap è quello di “accumulo, mucchio”, e, traslatamente, “confusione”», and refers to Jeanroy’s article.

28-32. Although Jeanroy adopts ms. a1’s ab in 26, he translates «il n’y a pas [pour eux] d’autre consolation que de se servir du broc et du hanap (?). Je puis bien vous dire, en vérité, que là-bas, de l’autre côté de Tyr, au pays d’Alep, les Turcs leur ont fait [aux Français] pousser maint cri et maint aboiement. Et ici les puissants, qui sont lâches, ne savent pas prendre exemple sur eux (?)». The logic of this is obscure, though logic there must have surely been in the original text. – The reference to «serving from the jug to [or «with», not «and»] the cup» obviously cannot mean the barons will just have to resort to alcohol. It suggests the metaphorical sense of «to pay someone back in his own kind» found in the word meschar, to pour someone a drink: compare Moilheratz q’autrui con grata / ben pot saber qe·l sieus pescha / e mostra con hom li mescha / q’ab eis lo sieu fust lo bata («A married man who scratches another’s cunt can be sure his own goes fishing and showing another man how to pour him his drink in such a way as to beat him with his own stick», BdT 293.11, 49-52, in Marcabru: a Critical Edition, ed. Simon Gaunt, Ruth Harvey and Linda Paterson, Woodbridge 2000, XI, and the note). So I suggest that the sense is: given that the top nobles have put up with their massive defeat and the imprisonment of so many of them for so long, the rest of us must all fight to pay the French back. The point then of the reference to the French defeats at the hand of the Turks is to say that they are not after all invincible, yet (Jeanroy misinterprets the conjunction e in 40 as «and») the cowardly ric are incapable of winning anything back. For cap here as an intensifier of the negative, see SW, I, 201, 4 (Jeanroy, implausibly, «prob. se diriger sur eux (se régler sur leur exemple)». – Jeanroy relates these lines to events in 1239 when the northern barons, led by Thibaut de Champagne, Hugh of Burgundy and Peter of Brittany had been beaten at Gaza and withdrew to Acre in November, sailing for home at the end of September 1240 and leaving numerous prisoners in the hands of the infidels, whom Richard of Cornwall had to ransom some months later (February 1241). Among these was Aimery of Montfort, son of Simon, the most fearsome enemy of the southern cause; «n’en était-ce pas assez pour que cet échec réjouît doublement le coeur des vaincus de 1242?».

33. Jeanroy translates fan de gerra senbell (25) as «se provoquent à la guerre», noting that cembel is a hunting term initially meaning the lure or bait used to attract others into a cage, then by extension the means of luring the enemy into a trap or ambush. He suggests alternatively «“font montre, ostentation de guerre”, affectent une ardeur belliqueuse qu’ils n’ont pas». The first interpretation seems unlikely, since 27 makes clear the counts have no appetite for war. The various nuances of cembel, listed in PD, are «signe; appât, leurre, appeau; embuscade, embûche, piège; tromperie; amusement, plaisir; cadeau; combat, mêlée, dispute»; compare Walter von Wartburg, et al., Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, Tübingen 1922-, vol. II, p. 1611, and Adolf Tobler and Erhard Lommatzsch, Altfranzösisches Wörterbuch, 11 voll., Berlin 1925-2002, vol. II, pp. 103-104, «Kampf (Angriff, Ausfall)». The context here suggests nuances of mock attacks, playing around rather than taking war seriously (compare Le Roman de Flamenca: nouvelle occitane du XIIIe siècle, ed. Ulrich Gschwind, 2 voll., Bern 1976, vol. I, 1699-1700, Mout amet torneis e sembelz, / domnas e joc, canz et aucelz), or perhaps skirmishes (compare Chanson de la Croisade contre les Albigeois, ed. Eugène Martin-Chabot, 3 voll., Paris 1931-1961, vol. II, 165.1-3, Can la guerra comensa, es lo jorns clars e beus, / E per mejas las tendas es bastitz lo cembeus, / Que davan lor comensan voutas e guarambeus, «A l’heure où la bataille s’engage, le jour est clair est beau. Devant les tentes des croisés eurent lieu les premiers engagements et se firent d’abord joutes et passes d’armes»).

35-37. The mss. vary notably at the beginnings of these lines, which may suggest damage to a previous exemplar. Jeanroy’s translation of 35, «autrement ils conclueraient une trêve, sérieusement et pour de bon», fails to grasp the context: see the general note above. The repetition of the conjunction qe in M 34-35 is slightly awkward, giving two different reasons for the Counts just playing at war or skirmishing; one might think of emending qes (35) to es «and», though the vagueness of qe as a conjunction makes this strictly unnecessary (see Jensen, Syntaxe, §§ 333 and 747). a1 seems to have understood «the Counts are just playing at war because they have no leader, but they would rather have a peace agreement anyway because our side has shown little enthusiasm for whatever small amount of fighting there is; so in the spring the keenest men will make a new and serious attack». – Jeanroy opts for ms. a1’s partz; for other examples of pars in a similar sense, see BdT 323.10, 37-38, Daus maintas pars / me for’afars / per perdre o per gazagnar (Peire d’Alvernhe, Poesie, ed. Aniello Fratta, Manziana 1996, 7); Le Roland occitan: Roland à Saragosse; Ronsasvals, ed. and trans. Gérard Gouiran and Robert Lafont, Paris 1991, 937, de totas pars en veia yssir sanc, and others on COM.

43. de novel: it is hard to see how Jeanroy’s translation «que je viens de composer» (no note) can fit the syntax of the original. PD gives simply «récemment»; SW, V, 427-428, 4 «von neuem, noch einmal», 5 «vor jurzem, seit kurzen, eben erst». That the phrase can apply to the future as well as the past is suggested by BdT 389.1, 50-52, De mon nou vers vuelh totz pregar / que·l m’anon de novel chantar / a lieis qu’am senes talan var (ed. Luigi Milone, «Cinque canzoni di Raimbaut d’Aurenga (389, 3, 8, 15, 18 e 37)», Cultura neolatina, 43-44, 2003-2004, pp. 7-254, on p. 192, which Milone translates as «di nuovo», in line with LR, IV, 338 and Walter T. Pattison, The Life and Works of the Troubadour Raimbaut d’Orange, Minneapolis 1952, p. 185; Levy, SW, V, 428 comments that «das scheint doch kaum zu passen».

44. For Olivier de Termes see the end of the general note above. Later he was to demonstrate his valour on the battlefield of the Holy Land and be highly valued by Saint Louis (Jeanroy, p. 324).

[LP, lb]

BdT    Duran sartor de Paernas (de Carpentras)

Songs referring to the crusades