Elias dʼUisel  ·  Gaucelm Faidit









Gauselms Faiditz si anet outra mar e si menet dompna Guillelma Monia, q’era soa moiller et era estada soudadeira et era plus grossa q’el non era. E cresia aver un fill d’ella, q’era mout desplasens hom en totas causas. E tornet s’en mout paubres e mout desasiatz. Et Elias d’Uisel fetz en aqesta cobla.






[Elias d’Uisel; BdT 136.3]


Manenz fora·l francs pelegris,


mas son aver mes al Santor;


mout lai estet a grant onor,


per cho si ac dan Safadis.


E si no fos lo granz ventres qe·ill pen,


car conpreron li Turc son hardimen!


Ancaras dis el qe lai vol tornar,


mas laissa s’en pe·l bel fill eretar.




Aqestz motz fetz n’Elias qe·ls saup far


miels q’en Gauselms q’es plus gros d’un pilar.







N’Elias d’Uisel si avia un castel qe avia nom Casluz, paubre et en paubreira de blat e de vin. E qant cavalier ni bon ome i venian, el lor dava bel solatz e bel acuillimen et en loc de grans cores lor disia suas cansos e sos sirventes e suas coblas. E·n Gauselms si·l respondet a n’Elias, recordan la paubreira del castel e de lui. E si·n fetz aqesta cobla:






[Gaucelm Faidit; BdT 167.13]


Ben auria obs pas e vis


A Chasluç, tant es ses umor


merce del paubre pechador,


q’es manenz de gabs e de ris.


Qe sei solaz son granz copas d’argen


e sas chanzos segalas e frumen


e·ill sirventes son vestir vert e var.


A lui s’en an cel que vol sojornar!







Elias d’Uisel respondet a la cobla d’en Gauselm Faidit:






[Elias d’Uisel; BdT 136.2]


Gauselm, eu mezeis garantis


que non ai d’aver grant largor;


e vos avez tan de valor


qe no·s taing q’om vos dementis.


S’ieu sui paubres, vos avez pro argen


e[n] Guillelma, la pro e la valen:


gensor pareill no·n a de chai la mar,


a lei de soudadeira e de joglar.






[Gaucelm Faidit; BdT 167.3a]


A juzamen de sos vesis


men’a g[a]rant de sa honor


n’Elias sa meia seror,


ço diz n’Ebles q’es lei cosis.


Non . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


. . . qar parlet de gruissa, fez no-sen,


q’andui em gros, mas el o es, cho·m par,


de clara fam, et eu per pro manjar.



English translation [LP]

A. Gaucelm Faidit went to Outremer and took with him Lady Guillelma Monja, who was his wife, who had been a soudadeira and was fatter than he was. And he thought he had a son by her, who in any case was a very unpleasant person. He returned very poor and very needy. Elias d’Ussel made the following cobla about it:
I. The sincere [noble?] pilgrim would be rich, but he spent his wealth on [visiting] the Sepulchre; there he stayed for a long time in great honour, which caused harm to Safadin. And if it were not for the great belly that hangs down in front of him, the Muslims would have paid dearly for his boldness! He has also said that he wants to go back there, but abandons the idea in order to provide an inheritance for his handsome son.
Sir Elias composed these words, because he knew how to make them better than Sir Gaucelm who is fatter than a pillar.
B. Sir Elias d’Ussel had a castle called Casluz, poor and ill-supplied with wheat and wine. And when knights or worthy men came there, he gave them fine company and a fine welcome and, instead of great banquets, recited his songs and sirventes and coblas to them. And Sir Gaucelm responded to Sir Elias, recalling his and the castle’s poverty. And he composed this cobla about it:
II. There would truly be great need of bread and wine at Casluz, he is so dry thanks to the poor sinner who is rich in jokes and laughter. For his sociable conversations are great silver goblets, his songs rye and wheat, and the sirventes are clothes of green and fur. Anyone who wants a pleasant rest should go to him!
C. Elias d’Ussel responded to Sir Gaucelm Faidit’s cobla:
III. Gaucelm, I myself guarantee that I have no great abundance of possessions; and you have so much worth that there is no need to contradict you. If I am poor, you have plenty of money thanks to the valiant and worthy Guillelma: there is no more noble couple this side of the sea, if she is judged in terms of being a soudadiera and he a jongleur.
IV. In the judgment of his neighbours Sir Elias relies on his half-sister as a guarantor of his property [also: honour]: so says Sir Eble who is her cousin. Not [...] Since he speaks of fatness, he speaks nonsense, as we are both fat, but he is so – it seems to me – from sheer hunger, whereas I am from eating a lot.




Text: Giorgio Barachini, Rialto 25.xi.2014.

Notes: Despite Mouzat and Riquer, it is generally accepted, for good reasons, that Saladin (v. 4) in the mss. is a scribal error for Safadin, in which case this exchange of coblas postdates 1200-1201 and was probably composed after 1203, the year after the beginning of the Fourth Crusade. − Line 4, Safadis: Saladin’s brother al-Adil, otherwise known as Saif ad-Din or Saphadin (1145-1218). − Line 12, Chasluç: Charlus-le-Paillou (or perhaps Chaslus, from *castellucium) was situated on the mouth of the Diège, in the parish of Saint-Exupéry, c. 12 km. south of Ussel. − Lines 15-18: Gaucelm is ridiculing Elias’s ability as a poet, saying his songs are a mish-mash of incongruous elements: rye is traditionally associated with the poor, wheat a noble cereal; green clothes connote jongleurs, vair (grey fur with blue lights) the rich. − Line 21: Elias is playing (ironically) on the ideas of Gaucelm’s both material and moral worth. − Line 26: soudadiera is deliberately ambivalent: Guilelma is said to be both a paid female perfomer and a prostitute (PD «femme à gages; femme de mauvaise vie»). − Lines 27-30: Barachini suggests that Gaucelm seems to be questioning Elias’s legitimacy as a feudal landholder. The ‘neighbours’ would seem to be Elias’s cousins (Eble, Peire, Gui), Eble being mentioned in v. 30. Gaucelm would therefore be saying, according to the neighbours and particularly Eble, that Elias is relying for his own feudal position on rights that come to him from a half-sister, who seems to be the real holder of those rights; it is she and not Elias who is explicitly indicated as Eble’s cousin. In other words he is insinuating that the feudal legitimacy in which Elias was invested came from what the half-sister inherited from the parent she did not share with Elias. − Line 30: Eble of Ussel was the brother of Peire and Gui and cousin of Elias, though Gaucelm maliciously implies that he is simply the cousin of Elias’s half-sister, hinting at illegitimacy or theft. − Lines 33-34: Gaucelm is insinuating that while he himself is fat because he eats a lot, Elias is fat because he pretends to his guests that there is nothing to eat – but in fact has plenty.

[LP, lb]

BdT    Elias dʼUisel    Gaucelm Faidit

136.3    167.13    136.2    167.3a

Songs referring to the crusades