Gaucelm Faidit








Mas la bella de cuj mi mezeis tenh,


qu’ieu vuel e prec et am per bona fe,


no vol ni·l platz qu’ieu l’am ni·l clam merce,


no sai [guaire] a que·m fos mais chantaire;


quar del maior afar en qu’ieu aten,


non esperi plazer ni iauzimen;


per so no puesc guaya chanso retraire


et er esfortz si la fauc ne·y atenh.






Quar tot m’auci e·m trebalh e·m destrenh


selha cui am mil aitans mais que me,


e pus li platz qu’enaissi·m luenh dese,


no·i sai cosselh mas un, que no·y val guaire:


si vol que·m lays de lieys, tuelha·m lo sen


e·l cor e·ls huelh[s], e pueys partirai m’en,


si puesc; si no, fassa·n ylh son veiajre,


qu’encontra lieys non ai forsa ni genh.






Ni re no sai, s’ap merce no·i atenh,


cum puesc’esser qu’ieu de lieys aja re;


et ab merce ni ab als non o cre.


Que farai doncs? Liuratz suj a maltraire


e mortz de tot, si·l bon esper no·m ren,


en que pauzet mon cor celadamen,


lai o·m retenc e sufferc qu’ieu fos laire


d’un bel plazer, per qu’ieu autra non denh.






Ad honor pris adoncas lo mantenh


de son gen cors; e promes mi maint be,


quan m’autreiet s’amor, don no·lh sove.


E si·l plagues, no·lh fora ges d’estraire


so que promes per forsa franchamen,


qu’ieu suj de tot a son comandamen,


fors que d’aitan: que ges no puesc desfaire


qu’ades non l’am, que ren als no·i retenh.






E quar estauc que ades no·m empenh


ves Suria? Dieus sap per que m’ave:


que ma domna e·l reys engles mi te,


l’us per amore l’autre per pauc faire


del gran secors que m’avia en coven.


Ges non remanh, mas ben iray plus len;


quar d’anar ai bon cor, don ges no·m vaire,


qu’e nom de Dieu ai levat entresenh.



4. no | sai a quem f. (-2) ms.    14. huelh ms.    37. coven] covinen (+1) ms.



English translation [LP]

I. Since the fair one, from whom I hold myself (in fief) and whom I desire, beseech and love in sincere faith, does not wish or welcome that I should love her or beg her for mercy, I hardly know the point of continuing to be a singer, since I hope for neither pleasure nor satisfaction from the greatest thing to which I aspire; therefore I cannot produce a joyful song and it will be a miracle if I manage to compose one.
II. Since the one I love a thousand times more than myself completely kills me, torments me and tortures me, and as it pleases her to keep me at a distance from her in this way, I know of but one possibility, which brings no aid in this predicament: if she wishes me to withdraw from her, let her take away my mind and heart and eyes, and then I will leave her, if I can; otherwise, let her do what she thinks best about it, given that I have no strength or ability to withstand her will.
III. And I have no idea how it may be that I obtain anything from her, unless I achieve this through mercy; but I do not believe this will come about either through mercy or through anything else. So what shall I do? I am delivered over to ill-treatment and am utterly dead, if she does not give me back good hope, in which she secretly placed my heart, when she retained me and allowed me to steal a lovely pleasure, wherefore I disdain any other lady.
IV. At that time I undertook to celebrate her gracious person in an honourable way; and she promised me many good things when she granted me her love, which she fails to remember. But if it pleased her, it would not matter if she took away what she vehemently and freely promised me, because I am entirely at her command, except in this: I am utterly unable to prevent myself from always loving her, given that I obtain nothing else from her.
V. But why do I still delay spurring to Syria? God knows why this befalls me: because my lady and the English king hold me back, the one through love and the other for doing little about the great assistance he had promised me. I am not in fact staying behind, but I shall certainly go more slowly; I have the firm intention of going and am not being irresolute about it, for I have raised the sign in God’s name.




Text: Giorgio Barachini, Rialto 12.xii.2014.

Note: Line 35 of the text probably refers to King John of England, and the song is likely to have been composed after 1199 and before 1202, the year of Gaucelm’s departure for the Holy Land as shown in Ara nos sia guitz (BdT 167.9). While he may possibly have joined up with the Fourth Crusade after receiving the means to do so (see L’onratz jauzens sers (BdT 167.33, 73-76), his decision to leave on a pilgrimage is not necessarily connected to a military expedition. Here he declares he has taken and raised up an entresenh in God’s name, probably one of the distinctive signs assumed by pilgrims when they made a public commitment to undertake the journey.

[LP, lb]

BdT    Gaucelm Faidit    167.36

Songs referring to the crusades