English translation [LP]
I. I wish the Pope (lit. supreme priest) and the Emperor
would make peace among themselves to give the Turks and Arabs cause to grieve.
But each of them is conducting his quarrel with great bitterness, and they are
wasting their efforts; for all that is visible is nothing in comparison with
what is to come.
Italian translation [lb]
I. Vorrei che il papa (lett. il prete supremo) e l’imperatore
facessero pace tra di loro per dare ai Turchi e agli Arabi un motivo per
piangere. Ma ciascuno di loro sta portando avanti la sua contesa con grande
acredine, e stanno sprecando le loro energie, perché tutto ciò che si vede non è
nulla in confronto a quello che verrà.
Text: Linda Paterson, 14.vi.2013.
Ms.: M 238r (enfigera).
Critical edition: Emil Levy, Guillem Figueira, ein provenzalischer Troubadour, Berlin 1880, p. 31 (many changes of graphy; no translation).
Other editions: François-Juste-Marie Raynouard, Lexique roman ou Dictionnaire de la langue des troubadours, comparée avec les autres langues de l’Europe latine, 6 voll., Paris, 1836-1844, vol. I, p. 482 (lines 1-16, 27-60); Carl August Friedrich Mahn, Die Werke der Troubadours, in provenzalischer Sprache, 4 voll., Berlin 1846-1886, vol. III, p. 116.
Versification: a6 a6 a6 b6 b6 c6 c8 c8 d10 d10 (Frank 77:2), -or, -it, -en, -ir; five coblas unissonans and two five-line tornadas. The versification is identical in all respects (bar the tornadas) with that of a canso of Folquet de Marselha, BdT 155.5 (whose melody is preserved in mss. GR), on which it is most probably modelled; there are no other pieces with this form.
Rejected readings: 7 chascuns ço qe ten (−1), 21 before temor, «i» expunctuated, 24 mout failhit (−1), 45 pasa(r)qar er.
Notes: The sirventes must predate the death of Raimon VII of Toulouse in 1249. Other elements offering some clue to dating are a bitter conflict between pope and emperor (1-7); the Holy Sepulchre being in Moslem hands (5, 47); suggestions of a crusade possibly being planned (stanzas III-V – though Guillem could simply be urging his listeners to bring their minds back to the need for one); and emphasis on Raimon VII of Toulouse who has a particular reason for God wishing him to serve Him in the Holy Land (stanza VII). – Levy (pp. 5-7) argues that the mention of bitter papal-imperial conflict could refer either to conflict between Frederick II and Gregory IX in 1228-1230, or to the «great papal-imperial war» that began in 1239 and continued until after Raimon’s death. He dates the sirventes to 1245-1248 but does not seem entirely convinced of this, since on p. 79, n. 2 he identifies the pope as either Gregory IX (1227-1241), if the date of composition falls between the end of 1239 and the end of 1240 (see p. 6), or Innocent IV (1243-1254) if it falls between 1244 and 1249. His arguments for the later period are firstly, that Jerusalem was in Christian hands between 1229-1244, except for a brief period from November 1239 to 1240. Secondly, 1220-1227 can be ruled out because the Emperor and the Pope were not in open conflict with each other. Thirdly, 1227-1229 can also be ruled out, as when Gregory IX had excommunicated Frederick and there was an open feud between them, the latter was concentrating all his energy on the crusade, and this, Levy claims, does not square with stanza I. This leaves only 1244-1249 or the short period November 1239-1240. He adds (p. 6, n.1) that at any rate the Histoire littéraire de la France (vol. XVIII, p. 657) must be wrong in dating it to 1230, since Jerusalem was in Christian hands then. Finally he suggests that the later date corresponds with Guillem’s penitential, mild tone and his expression of regret, where the contrast with the «kräftigen Klange seiner übrigen Gesänge» allows us to suspect that the piece was composed by an ageing poet (p. 6). He also suggests that perhaps Raimon VII was on the point of leaving for the East when he died, in 1249. – But why should stanza I exclude the period 1227-1229? Frederick’s determined pursuit of his crusade objective does not mean that he is not at loggerheads with the Pope. Levy is perhaps assuming that because of this conflict there can be no crusade, but actually stanza V lays emphasis on the idea of everyone going together: in other words, the conflict between Pope and Emperor is an impediment to the likely success of a crusade, since it is better for all to co-operate in God’s business. – The second tornada, which was not necessarily composed at the same time as the rest of the piece, looks likely to date from after the Treaty of Paris of 12 April 1229, whereby Raimon undertook inter alia to do penance for five years fighting the «infidel». In this light the emphasis with which the troubadour singles out the Count part totz (59) as one who should follow his injunctions to expiate his sins in the Holy Land, is interesting. Given Guillem’s invective against Rome (1227-1229) and his loyalty to his natural lord, it seems unlikely that the troubadour is implying Raimon’s particular sinfulness; rather, once Raimon had taken the cross he could be seen as a potential recruit for, or indeed leader of, an imminent campaign. – At the same time as Gregory and Frederick were at daggers drawn, the latter was in fact in the process of organising his own crusade in defiance of papal excommunication. He had originally taken the cross in 1215 but repeatedly postponed departure for political reasons. By midsummer 1227 large numbers of crusaders had gathered in the port of Brindisi, and although many had fallen sick, died or returned home, the main body of crusaders sailed by the middle of August. The Emperor and his retinue were delayed while their ships were being made ready, and by the time he set sail for Otranto he had been stricken by the plague. He sent word to Gregory to explain his failure to depart for the Holy Land but the Pope refused to receive him and on 29 September 1227 issued his anathema. Frederick recovered from his illness and was actively preparing to set out in May 1228, finally departing on 28 June, arriving via Cyprus in Acre on 7 September. Gregory insisted on maintaining the excommunication, which caused sharp division in the crusading army. Frederick arrived home in June 1229, whereupon his troops «scored success after success against the papal forces. By the autumn of 1229 Frederick stood in full possession of his kingdom. It was now only necessary for him to make his peace with the defeated pope». In May 1230 peace terms were drawn up and on 28 August the excommunication was lifted (see Robert L. Wolff and Harry W. Hazard, The later crusades, 1189-1311 in Kenneth M. Setton, A history of the crusades, 6 voll., Madison and London 1969-1989, vol. II, pp. 446-460). – It seems not unlikely that the sirventes should relate to this period. That Pope and Emperor were in bitter conflict is not in doubt. The conditions under which different groups left at different times for the crusade could explain the stress Guillem lays on the need for everyone to depart together as a body. The sirventes would have to predate news reaching the West that Frederick had made peace with the Sultan al-Kamir and entered Jerusalem, which he did on 17 March 1229 (Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, 3 voll., Harmondsworth 1971, first published Cambridge 1951-1954, vol. III, p. 188). The tornada could have been composed at the same time as the other stanzas, or slightly postdate them - conceivably explaining estiers (58). What could make sense is to see Guillem composing stanzas I-VI in 1228 as Frederick was leaving, or had left, for Cyprus, with the second tornada added after the treaty of Paris of April 1229; or else for all the stanzas being composed immediately after, and stimulated by, that event, which must have been profoundly dispiriting to the Toulousain author of the famous anti-papal tirade. This alone, rather than Levy’s dubious hypothesis of an ageing poet, could explain the tone of the poem, though so equally could the context of a crusade. – Line 7: Levy makes the suppletion and prints so que ten in the text, but adds in the note (erroneously given as 16) that Tobler pointed out that Guillem never rhymes fixed with movable n (ten - nien) so advises the correction son conten, which also gives much better sense. – Line 24: corr. Levy (hai). – Lines 31-33: Levy (p. 3) claims these lines show Guillem did not go on crusade, though in fact it does not prove that he did not do so later – not that there is any evidence that he did. (His wish that the Count of Toulouse should do so may hint at a wish to be financed by him, though of course Raimon never did make the crossing). – Lines 41-43: in a sirventes of 1270 (BdT 74.11, 28-31, see my edition on Rialto), Bertolome Zorzi enumerates apparently different types of combatant: Qu’ab lui s’en van bel feridor de lanza, / peceiador de cambas e de bratz, / envazidor per far fag d’agradanza, / sbaraillador quant l’estors es mesclatz, / bon sofridor s’esfortz n’a qui·s defenda («For along with him go fine lancers, leg- and arm-breakers, assault forces to perform splendid deeds, combatants for the mêlée stage, men of strong endurance if defence is needed»). Is Guillem Figueira also distinguishing between types, rather than simply listing synonyms? – Lines 45-46: in his note to this line Levy indicates that Tobler suggested correcting qar er to guerrier. Paul Meyer (review of Levy’s edition, Romania, 10, 1881, p. 267) rejected this and remarked that the ms. reading would be «supportable», or perhaps one might emend to on er, construing complit with de cobrar; however, the latter construction does not appear possible from the examples of complit + de on COM, and Meyer does not explain how on could have been mistaken for quar/qar. The ms. reading leaves the puzzle as to the subject of er. It seems to me that Tobler’s suggestion was a good one, especially if one postulates the form gerer: compare The ‘Canso d’Antioca’: an Epic Chronicle of the First Crusade, ed. Carol Sweetenham and Linda Paterson, Aldershot 2003, 158, nobili gerer. It looks from the way in which pasar qar have been written in the ms., as pasaqar with r inserted above the line, as if the scribe may have had some difficulty with his exemplar here. – For afortimen compare PD ‘effort; encouragement; solidité’ and SW, I, 29, afortit ‘hartnäckig, eigensinnig’. – Line 58: Meyer: estiers «ne s’entend pas bien; on attendrait plutôt un nom propre, ou encore es tanh» (p. 267).