English translation [LP]
I. There is no need to teach me how to compose a sirventes
as I certainly possess the natural talent and the art of blame and praise. I
have seen and learned so much about the conduct of a base nobleman that I cannot
keep silent about it, but would I could do otherwise! It disgusts me to sing
Italian translation [lb]
I. Non c’è bisogno che qualcuno m’insegni come comporre un
sirventese, visto che senza dubbio possiedo il talento e l’arte del biasimo e
della lode. Ho visto e imparato tanto del comportamento di un nobile indegno che
non posso tacere, ma come vorrei poter fare diversamente! Mi disgusta cantare di
Text: Linda Paterson, 15.vi.2013.
Ms.: a1 504 (Guilliems figuiera).
Critical edition: Oskar Schultz-Gora, Ein Sirventes von Guilhem Figueira gegen Friedrich II, Halle 1902, p. 20.
Other editions: Giulio Bertoni, «Rime provenzali inedite», Studi di filologia romanza, 8, 1901, pp. 421-484, 20.2, on p. 460, with corrections by Cesare De Lollis, «Proposte di correzioni ed osservazioni ai testi provenzali del manoscritto Campori», Studi di filologia romanza, 9, 1903, pp. 153-170, on p. 166; Vincenzo De Bartholomaeis, Poesie provenzali storiche relative all’Italia, 2 voll., Roma 1931, vol. II, p. 142 (text Schultz-Gora).
Versification: : a7 b5 b6 a6 a6 b6 c6’ a6 b6 c6’ (Frank 485:1), a = -es, -enh, -or, -ar, -ut, -ars, -an, b = -enh, -or, -ar, -ut, -ars, -an, -ap, c = -aire; seven coblas singulars and one two-line tornada. The same metrical shape is found in a canso of Raimon de Miraval, BdT 406.41, which has different rhyme-endings arranged in coblas doblas; the BEdT suggests that the metrical and musical model could also have been BdT 213.2 = Frank 290:1, a canso of Guillem de Cabestaing where the first two lines of the stanza are 6 + 6 rather than 7 + 5, or BdT 457.20 = Frank 176:1, a canso of Uc de Saint Circ, which seems not unlikely since he also attacked Frederick: see below.
Rejected readings: 2 me segn, 4 dir mal (−1), 7 non puesc raire (−1), 12 sai, 14 auei, destreign, 16 e fas d. (−1), 20 the bottom part of per retraire is invisible on microfilm; Bertoni followed), 25 nil, 33 the last two letters of cuiet invisible on microfilm; Bertoni followed, 35 qel deseritet (−1), 40 len son contraire (−2), 43 passar, 46 et ia (+1), 64 plui, 71 lonzalman (possibly lanzalman?).
Notes: The sirventes must date from after Frederick II’s crusade of 1228-1229 (vv. 31-40), and was probably composed in March 1239, when the Emperor was spending two months in Padua, enjoying hunting and other courtly pastimes (vv. 53-56; see Schultz-Gora, pp. 7-9 and De Bartholomaeis, p. 142), with a great folk festival taking place there on March 20, Palm Sunday. On the same day Pope Gregory IX pronounced the Emperor’s excommunication. Schultz-Gora suggests that since the troubadour does not mention this, he was unlikely to have yet heard of it. De Bartholomaeis observes that the news made a deep impression in Padua, and a Guelf partisan would certainly not have failed to make accusations against the Emperor on this account, while a Ghibelline would not have failed to deplore his weakness not only towards Milan but also towards the clergy; moreover such silence would seem even more surprising in the case of the «fiero Albigese», author of the famous sirventes against Rome. He therefore confidently assigns the piece to the period March 1 to 20. – The virulent criticisms of the Emperor here, reviling him as base, dishonourable and peevish, treacherous, cowardly, boastful and deluded, make a disconcerting contrast with BdT 217.8, Un nou sirventes, which dates from around the same time (probably 1240: see my edition on Rialto). There could hardly be a more stunning volte-face in stanza IV of that piece, where the troubadour praises Frederick’s virtuous conquests in Outremer, where the absence of fighting appears praiseworthy, where the peace concluded with the Sultan is honourable, where his treatment of the lord of Beirut, John of Ibelin, is characterised as full of good faith, lialtatz and gentil cortezia, and where instead of being accused of baseness, cowardice and avarice, he is praised for being pure of any vilania and full of largesse. While this has not failed to surprise previous scholars, most have sought an explanation in the particular circumstances of the time. Following Schultz-Gora, De Bartholomaeis explains the troubadour’s hostility to the Emperor as evidence not that he is on the Guelf side, but that he wants the Guelfs beaten and the Emperor appears weak. He sees him as reflecting the state of mind of the Ghibellines and suggests that it would not be surprising if he were being partly inspired by Ezelino [sic] da Romano. Folena similarly sees Guillem Figueira, who ten years previously had composed his famous long invective against the Roman curia responsible for the Albigensian crusade, as the most active and energetic of Ghibelline propagandists («incitava ed elogiava Federigo II») who in this case would be using sarcasm as a spur to action, reflecting with «mordace libertà» the disappointments of the more radical Ghibellines. Then, one year later, he argues, «il Figueira compone un “nou sirventes”, questa volta di pieno elogio dell’ “Emperador a la gentil persona”, a cui riteneva dissenato far torto, “qu’om plus greu non perdona / tro qu’el pot venjar”, nessuno perdona più difficilmente di lui, finché puó vendicarsi» (Gianfranco Folena, «Tradizione e cultura trobadorica nelle corti e nelle città venete», in Storia della cultura veneta, ed. Girolamo Arnaldi and Gianfranco Folena, 7 voll., Vicenza 1976-1987, vol. I, Dalle origini al Trecento, pp. 92-94). – Folena makes no mention of Bertoni’s reservations. In his review of Schultz-Gora’s edition (Giornale storico della letteratura italiana, 41, 1903, pp. 420-422, on p. 420), Bertoni stated that when he produced his edition in 1901 he originally thought the sirventes might have been composed by a Guelf author, but the nature of the publication meant he did not mention this. He indicated that he had been then persuaded by several (though not all) of Schultz-Gora’s arguments. Eight years later he expressed serious doubts about this: «Oggi, dopo alcuni anni, mi riesce però più che mai problematica l’attribuzione di questo componimento anti-imperiale al Figueira, che fu sempre ghibellino fervente e penso che il ms. a ci abbia conservato, per errore, il testo tra quelli del Figueira» (Giulio Bertoni, «Un serventese di Guilhem Figueira», Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, 35, 1911, pp. 489-491, on p. 491, n. 2). He rightly rejects Schultz-Gora’s point that BdT 217.4a and 217.8 are the only troubadour texts to refer to John of Ibelin (the Lord of Beirut) as rather weak, and points out that the similarity of the first lines of the present piece to another of Guillem Figueira’s compositions securely attributed to him by mss. CR can be used to argue that this was precisely why ms. a might have misattributed it to him. Everything then rests, Bertoni argues, on the reliability of a’s attributions, which are in fact often wrong. I am strongly inclined to agree with Bertoni. – Lines 3-4: for other examples of the linking of art and genh see Schultz-Gora’s note, as well as Linda Paterson, Troubadours and Eloquence, Oxford 1975, p. 70, citing Heinrich Lausberg, Handbuch der literarischen Rhetorik, München 1960, § 1152: «Das ingenium (Quint. 10, 2, 12; 10, I, 130) ... ist die natürliche Begabung, die weder durch imitatio noch duch ars zu ersetzen ist (Quint. 10, 2, 12)». Praise and blame were the standard aims of demonstrative rhetoric: see Paterson, Troubadours, p. 14. – The correction passat is De Lollis’s. – Line 7: corr. Bertoni 1901 (also Schultz-Gora). – Line 8: as Schultz-Gora I have taken e as a conjunction, though perhaps it might function as reinforcement of the si that ushers in an independent optative: see Frede Jensen, Syntaxe de l’ancien occitan, Tübingen 1994, § 569. – Line 12: corr. Bertoni 1901. – Line 14: corr. Schultz-Gora on the convincing grounds that the troubadour is highly unlikely to repeat a rhyme-word at such close proximity (see v. 11). – Line 16: corr. Schultz-Gora. – Line 17: Schultz-Gora’s correction of nomes to be m’es is unnecessary, since trop can mean ‘very much’ as well as ‘too much’. – Line 21: Bertoni 1901 (also Schultz-Gora) reads vergoignios. – Lines 23-25: Levy: «Der Sinn ist: Ich will mich nicht mit dem blossen Tadel begnügen, sondern ich gehe noch weiter, ich nenne ihn u.s.w.». Guillem ironically pretends he will not blame the Emperor but will respectfully call him «lord», until the next line when he explodes the pretence. – Lines 33-40: for Frederick’s dealings with John of Ibelin see Schultz-Gora, pp. 25-27, n. 35-36; De Bartholomaeis, p. 144; Jean-Louis-Alphonse Huillard-Bréholles, Historia diplomatica Friderici II, 6 voll., Paris 1852-1861, vol. III, p. 480 ff.; and my edition of BdT 217.8 on Rialto. The negative view of these events in this sirventes contrasts sharply with that of BdT 217.8. – Lines 33-34: literally «sow bad crops among them». – Line 35: suppletion and correction De Lollis. – Line 40: Schultz-Gora l’en [fon a] son contraire, but despite his note justifying the use of the possessive son here (referring to Tobler, Vermischte Beiträge, II, 74) I have found no support for it on COM or in the dictionaries. De Lollis had suggested inserting del tot between fon and contraire, though the ms. certainly reads son; I follow his suggestion while correcting son. – Line 43: corr. Schultz-Gora. He comments that there is no other evidence that Frederick wanted to attack the Milanese again just after the end of March or that he had promised this (see v. 48), and suggests that he may have said something orally which was then passed on. – Line 45: for the form Melan see Schultz-Gora’s note. As Bertoni noted in his review of Schultz-Gora’s edition, the latter’s mos is no doubt a misprint. – Lines 53-56: during the two months he spent in Padua Frederick spent time hunting with thoroughbred dogs, falcons and hunting-leopards, kept in a menagerie guarded by black slaves. The elephant was a present from the Sultan al-Kamil, with whom he had concluded a peace treaty. In 1235 it was transported to northern Italy and exhibited in almost all popular festivals, being admired for its size, intelligence and gentleness. It entertained Italians for more than twenty years wandering around the penisular behind its master: after Cortenuova it had dragged through the streets of Cremona the carroccio captured from the Milanese, and its death was recorded in Cremona in 1248. When Frederick celebrated his marriage to Isabella of England he sent the English three leopards of some kind (see Schultz-Gora, p. 29 and De Bartholomaeis, pp. 144-145, n. 53-56 for Rolandino). – Line 64: corr. Bertoni 1901. – Line 71: corr. Bertoni 1901. Schultz-Gora notes that Manfred had already appeared on Frederick’s side in 1228, accompanied him on his Lombard campaign of 1237 and took part in the siege of Brescia. He later held various posts under Frederick, then went over the the Guelf side in 1252 and became podestà of Milan in 1253.