Gaucelm Faidit








Chascus hom deu conoisser et entendre


que riquesa ni sens ni cortesia


que sia el mon no·ns pot de mort defendre,


c’al iorn c’om nais comenssa a morir


e qui mais viu plus poigna de fenir;


doncs ben es fols cel qu’en sa vida·s fia,


si be·s penssa de prion sa folia,


car nos es tost lo gentils cors faillitz


d’una valen comtessa Biatritz.






Donc negus hom no pot per dreich contendre


oimais, en tan con Dieus ten en baillia,


non puosca mais sa part de valor rendre,


d’enseignamen ni d’aut cor, don dei dir;


e puois Dieus, se de mort non volc garir


cui totz los bes del mon complitz avia,


ia non fara als autres seignoria,


que tuich morrem e qui mais er grazitz


ni plus ama·l segle mais n’er trahitz.






Con ausam donc aquesta mort atendre


can adobat trobam a chascun dia


que nostra mort podem en vida rendre?


Car Dieus nos ditz que l’anem lai servir


on El fo mortz per nos dampnatz garir;


e qui morir per lui vengar volria,


cobran son dreich qu’a perdut en Suria,


ab gran razon venria gen garnitz


al iutgamen lai on er Iesu Cristz.






Qui per Dieu vai l’aver e·l cors despendre


de paradis l’er uberta la via


e qui no·i vai deu baissar e dissendre


de tot’honor, car tem que Dieus l’azir


qui reman sai ni pot anar garnir,


qu’ie·n sai de tals c’avers e manentia


e diables e pechatz e bauzia


·ls a retengutz con fals avars aunitz,


guerriers de Dieu e de totz bes partitz.






Ben se cuiden en las terras estendre


e far conquistz, mas autramen cuich sia,


car Dieus lo reis sap s’arbalesta tendre


e trai carrels trenchans per ben ferir


e negus hom del colp no·is pot gandir


can El s’irais e ve c’om no·s chastia;


mas, qui·l dopta ni vas Lui s’omilia,


aquel aura chapdel Sains Esperitz,


e, qui no·l fai, er en enfern punitz.






A totz degra de dolor lo cors fendre


del deseret del fill sainta Maria,


mas, co·l laire qui ve los autres pendre,


s’esforssa plus del mal ses repentir


lo mal segle, don Dieus nos lais issir


a salvamen, si con ops nos seria,


e Mon Thesaur – que lais en Lombardia –


don Dieus salut, car de totz nos es guitz,


e dels crozatz los cors e·ls esperitz.



English translation [LP]

I. Each person should know and understand that no riches or wisdom or courtliness in the world can defend us against death, for on the day of one’s birth one begins to die, and whoever lives longest is keenest to reach the end; therefore the person who relies on living is a certainly a fool, if he reflects deeply on his folly, since a noble and worthy countess, Beatrice has suddenly been lost to us.
II. Therefore from now on no-one can rightly argue that he is unable to contribute in God’s realm his own share of aid, wisdom and courage, which I will speak about; and since God did not wish to save from death the person who had all the world’s perfect blessings, He will certainly not grant privilege to others, for we shall all die and whoever is most praised and most loves the world will be all the more betrayed by this.
III. How therefore can we dare to wait for this death when every day we are prepared to find that we can transform our death to life? For God tells us that we should go to serve Him in the place where He died to save us, damned as we are; and whoever is disposed to die to avenge Him, recovering His rights that He has lost in Syria, will come well-equipped with a strong line of argument to the judgment where Jesus Christ will be.
IV. To the man who goes to sacrifice his wealth and body for God’s sake the way to Paradise will be opened, and whoever does not go must decline and fall from all honour, for I fear that God hates him who remains here and [yet] is able to go and get armed, for I know of some people whom possessions and wealth and the devil and sin and trickery have held back as false shameful misers, enemies of God and divided from all goodness.
V. They certainly imagine to extend their lands and make conquests, but I think this will be otherwise, since God the King knows how to stretch His crossbow and fires sharp darts to strike well, and no man can defend himself from the blow when He is angry and sees that a man does not correct himself; but he who fears and humbles himself before Him, that man will have the Holy Spirit as his guide, but he who does not do so will be punished in Hell.
VI. The hearts of all should split asunder for grief at the disinheritance of Holy Mary’s Son, but, like the thief who sees others hanged, the wicked world makes all the more effort to do evil without repenting; may God let us go out of it towards redemption, as is needful for us, and God grant salvation to My Treasure – whom I am leaving in Lombardy – since He is guide to all of us, and to the bodies and souls of the crusaders.




Text: Walter Meliga, Rialto 21.i.2015.

Notes: Gaucelm probably composed this song in 1201 or 1202 as preparations for the Fourth Crusade were getting under way. – Lines 10-13: for these difficult lines, see Meliga’s note. As he (very plausibly) interprets them to mean that no-one can refuse God his own share of commitment to the crusade, I take valor in the sense of «aide» (PD; cf. SW, VIII, 579, 5 «Hilfe»). I think the phrase en tan con Dieus ten en baillia (11) must refer to the Holy Land as God’s property, rather than the whole world, even though it may seem odd to have God in charge of just part of it.

[LP, lb]

BdT    Gaucelm Faidit    167.14

Songs referring to the crusades