English translation [LP]
I. I would give up singing and pleasant pastimes altogether, but
when I feel sad I comfort myself by drowning my sorrows in song. Otherwise my
heart would have no peace from sadness; for I see that an evil way of life is
constantly on the rise and increase. The courting of ladies, which used to make
men glad, has fallen into disuse, and in the meantime worth cannot return, or
joy either; for worth is now complaining about those through whom it should be
strong, and without strength it cannot stay healthy for long without grievance
Italian translation [lb]
I. Rinuncerei del tutto al canto e ai passatempi piacevoli, ma
quando mi sento triste mi consolo affogando la tristezza in una canzone.
Altrimenti il mio cuore non avrebbe tregua dalla tristezza; infatti vedo che un
cattivo stile di vita è costantemente in aumento e in crescita. Il
corteggiamento delle dame, che rendeva gli uomini felici, è caduto in disuso, e
nel frattempo il valore non può tornare, e neppure la gioia; perché il valore
ora si lamenta di coloro grazie ai quali dovrebbe essere forte, e privo di forza
non può rimanere in buona salute a lungo senza lamentele o lagnanze.
Text: Sharman 1989 (with a few modifications). – Rialto 20.v.2013.
Mss.: A 19v, B 22r, C 23v, D 10r, E 53, I 20r, K 9r, N 187v, Q 100r, R 83r (85 in old numbering), Sg 65r, U 16v, a1 58, e, incipit N2 23r.
Critical editions: Adolf Kolsen, Sämtliche Lieder des Trobadors Giraut de Bornelh, 2 voll., Halle 1910 and 1935, vol. I, 72, p. 454; Ruth V. Sharman, The Cansos and Sirventes of the Troubadour Giraut de Borneil, Cambridge 1989, p. 454 (LXXI).
Versification: a3 b3 c6 c6 d6 d6 c6 c6 e6’ e6’ f6 f6 g6 g6 h6 h6 i6 i6 j6’ (Frank 820:1); -ar, -ort, -atz, -an, -atge, -eis, -ais, -ans, -er, -ura, refrain words alternating every two stanzas in vv. 19-20. Five coblas unissonans. Unicum.
Notes: Giraut is in the Holy Land (v. 22), having made the crossing on the encouragement of his lord (w. 65-68), so apparently composed this piece at the same time as BdT 242.24, either when he accompanied Viscount Aimar V of Limoges on a pilgrimage in 1179-1180, or when he went on the Third Crusade, possibly with Viscount Raimon II of Turenne in 1190. – Lines 15-18: Sharman «for the former now has a complaint to raise against those by whom it ought to be upheld. And if no-one supports it, reputation can hardly keep up its strength for long». It is unclear how poder can give «support», though the gist of her translation is doubtless correct. I take valer (16) to have the nuance of ‘to be healthy, strong’: compare PD valensa ‘force’. – Lines 35-36: Sharman emends non, the unanimous testimony of the mss., to no·s and translates «And he is guilty of great stupidity if he objects to the delight and pleasure they give [to others] and cannot restrain himself [from voicing his objections], or if he grows bitter». I take si in 36 as equivalent to aisi and add a comma after agrat. – Line 46, salvatge: wild, literally ‘living in the woods’. As Sharman observes, Giraut ironically implies (47-50) that the wild birds in the woods are far more «courtly» than the man without joy. The Middle Ages contrasted the civilised, courtly man with the wild man of the woods, hence my translation; we might now say «the heart of a barbarian». – Line 66: for metre + direct object with no article in the sense of ‘to cause’ see PSW, V, 269, 8. Mss. AB have pesatge: compare PSW, V, 269, 5, ‘(e. Steuer) auferlegen, einführen’, citing the phrase metre novel pezatge, possibly difficilior, which would give the literal sense «they have imposed a disgraceful/ base/ miserable toll (= burden?) on me». Sharman considers the reference almost certainly to be to personal feuds and rivalries of the leaders on the Third Crusade, but one cannot rule out the idea of a more personal matter, perhaps criticisms of Giraut’s performances during a solemn religious expedition. – Lines 77-85: Sharman «One of the most learned men might well show me by means of divination if truth will ever come and a life without deceit, and if joy, delight and knightly courage will ever recover their ancient estate; I would lay no wager on it», commenting aptly «The construction here appears to be that of ‘avoir beau faire’ in Modern French». As she does, I understand viures to be a sustantival infinitive. I take Ben proar / m’agr’ a sort / uns dels meyllors letratz to be a case of a hypothesis expressed through parataxis and the conditional (rather than si + imperfect subjunctive). Henrichsen gives two examples of a condition expressed by means of parataxis (Arne Johann Henrichsen, Les Phrases hypothétiques en ancien occitan. Etude syntaxique, Bergen 1955, p. 60, with a further example on p. 33), both having the present tense in the clause expressing the condition: Castia·l savi, saubra t’en grat; repren lo fol, haura t’en odi and p. 33: crida·l paubres, non es auzitz). While he cites nothing precisely analogous to Bon proar / M’agr’a sort (‘Were [he] to offer good proof’ etc) he is at pains to stress that «En abordant ce commentaire sur les divers moyens d’exprimer l’hypothèse sans si, nous . . . n’avons pas la prétention d’avoir épuisé les possibilitiés; nous avons tout simplement voulu donner une idée de la richesse de l’ancienne langue langue occitane», and that his discussion of the notion of the hypothesis without si is necessarily quite provisional. The use of Conditional II here in 78 would seem almost certain to introduce a non-realisable hypothesis: see Frede Jensen, Syntaxe de l’ancien occitan, Tübingen 1994, § 563, whereas the use of Conditional I in 85 is neutral, giving space for the implied likelihood, indeed certainty, of the second condition being fulfilled. The elegance and subtlety of Giraut’s syntax may stretch the known forms but the sense seems clear enough. – Lines 87-92: these lines have caused a lot of difficulty. Sharman «And justice and faith do not direct according to truth our labours and all that we establish, as was once laid down and prescribed, so that ruin will come upon us, and it will be too late to stop it», commenting «Giraut appears to be using mans here in the sense of ‘travail, main d’oeuvre’ (PD), so that Establimens ni mans means ‘all that we establish/have established and all our labours (in the Holy Land?)’. It is these things which will crumble (95) – under the onslaught of the infidel? – unless God takes a hand in protecting them». She appears to take verais as an adverb, which is highly dubious, and it is unclear how er desenans can mean «ruin will come upon us». Kolsen prints E drechura ni leis / No vei aissi verais / Com ja dis ni retrais / Establimens ni mans; / Per que dezerenans / Estart al remaner, translating «und Recht und Gesetze sehe ich nicht so zuverlässig, wie Verordnung und Regel einst vorschrieb und gebot; daher bin ich nunmehr beim Aufhören bestürtz», seeing estart as coming from *estardar (see glossary, II, p. 189), «vgl. destardar, pet. Dict. und afz. estargier “tarder”, part. pas. “interdit, troublé”». His choice of the reading vei (ven N) ABN simplifies the syntax but this looks like a scribal intervention precisely to simplify a difficilior reading; his glossing of verais and es tart (mss. ABN) is questionable. I take verais as ver ais, establimens ni mans as the subject of dis e retrais, Sharman’s qu’om as quom = com, and desenans as the present participle of desenar.