Guiraut de Luc









Ges sitot m’ai ma voluntat fellona


no·m lais non chant, el son Boves d’Antona,


q’ieu veill la nuoich, qan l’autra gens s’asona,


d’un pessamen qe·l cor mi revirona.


Be·m meravill co·l coms de Barselona


·s poc desliurar de tant falsa persona.







L’autrier qan moc de Proenssa la bona


paget mout gen homes de Tarascona,


que tot l’aver que trais de Terragona


dis qe·il cazec sotz lo pon de Nerbona


el mar Folquier qan moc de Magalona,


et espes lo dentre Genoa e Saona.







Mout fai gran tort qui de ren l’ochaisona,


c’anc ab engan non conquis Mediona,


ni fetz raubar mercadiers a Girona,


ni tolc Polpitz als templiers d’Escalona.


Aitals reis deu portar croz’ e corona


de part son avi, don totz lo mons rassona.







Li Sarrazin de Fraga e d’Aytona


l’an enseignat cum entr’els si razona:


salem alec, volon que lor respona,


per ualica zalem, cui Deus confona;


mas bels arnes li presta Na Maimona


qan viest la çupa ab l’obra salamona.







Arnaut joglar, mal huillat, cara trona,


ab ben fer temps passaras la Botona,


que la nuoich gela e·l dia plou e trona,


e tu non as enqer souta ta gona.


Rendetz la·l oste, anz que trop vo·n somona,


q’ie·us pagarai al laus de Na Peirona.







Reis apostitz, Marquesa·us ochaisona


— pois Cabrieira·us ditz reig de Mediona —


de las tres mongas q’enpreignetz a Valbona


qand agron dich completa et ora nona.



English translation [LP]

I. Despite my rancorous mood I shall not hesitate to sing, to the tune of Boves d’Antona; for at night when others are asleep I lie awake because of a thought going round and round in my mind. I marvel how the count of Barcelona has been able to rid himself of a person as false as this.
II. The other day when he left Provence the good he paid the men of Tarascon most graciously, for he said all the money he took from Tarragona fell into the Folquier pool under the Narbonne bridge as he was leaving Maguelonne – but he actually spent it between Genoa and Savona.
III. Anyone who finds fault with him is most profoundly wrong, for he never conquered Mediona through perfidy, nor had merchants robbed in Girona, nor stole Polpís from the Ascalon Templars. Such a king should bear sceptre and crown in the name of his grandfather, whose name resounds throughout the world.
IV. The Saracens of Fraga and Aytona, God confound them, have taught him how they speak to each other: they want people to answer their salem alec with ualica zalem; but Maimona lends him fine clothes when he wears her skirt with the Solomonic design.
V. Arnaut, you wall-eyed, snub-nosed jongleur, you will cross the Boutonne in dreadful weather, for it is freezing at night and raining and thundering in the day and you have not yet redeemed your over-tunic. Give it back to the innkeeper before he demands it from you too insistently, for I will pay you with Madam Peirona’s consent (contribute to your dues to Madam Peirona?).
VI. Bogus king – since Cabreira calls you king of Mediona –, Marquesa is charging you over the three nuns you made pregnant at Valbona when they had sung compline and nones.


Italian translation [lb]

I. Nonostante il mio stato d’animo astioso non esiterò a cantare, sulle note di Buovo d’Antona; perché di notte, quando gli altri dormono, io giaccio sveglio a causa di un pensiero che gira e rigira nella mia mente. Mi stupisce come il conte di Barcellona sia stato in grado di liberarsi di una persona così falsa.
II. L’altro giorno, quando ha lasciato la buona Provenza, egli ha pagato gli uomini di Tarascona molto benevolmente, perché ha detto che tutto il denaro che ha preso da Tarragona è caduto nello stagno Folquier sotto il ponte di Narbona mentre stava lasciando Maguelone, ma in realtà lo ha speso tra Genova e Savona.
III. Chi lo accusa di qualcosa commette un gravissimo torto, perché non ha mai conquistato Mediona con l’inganno, né ha derubato i mercanti a Girona, né ha sottratto Polpis ai Templari di Ascalona. Un tale re deve portare lo scettro e la corona nel nome di suo nonno, che risuona in tutto il mondo.
IV. I saraceni di Fraga e Aytona, che Dio li confonda, gli hanno insegnato come si parla fra loro: vogliono che la gente risponda al loro salem alec con ualica zalem; ma Maimona gli presta dei bei vestiti quando indossa la gonna con gli ornamenti salomonici.
V. Arnaut, giullare guercio e camuso, attraverserai il Boutonne con un tempo terribile, perché di notte si gela e di giorno piove e tuona e tu non hai ancora riscattato il tuo mantello. Ridallo all’albergatore prima che te lo chieda con troppa insistenza, perché io ti pagherò con il benestare di madama Peirona (con il contributo al tuo compenso di madama Peirona?).
VI. Re fasullo – poiché Cabreira vi chiama re di Mediona –, Marquesa vi accusa per le tre suore che avete ingravidato a Vallbona, dopo aver cantato compieta e nona.




Text: Riquer 1950 (II), with some modifications signalled in the note. – Rialto 23.vii.2014.

Mss.: A 197r, C 253v (attributed to Guiraut de Calanso, and to Prebost de Valensa in the Index), D 130v, I 194v, K 180r.

Critical editions: Adolf Kolsen, Dichtungen der Trobadors, auf Grund altprovenzalischer Handschriften.Teils zum ersten Male kritisch herausgegeben, teils berichtigt und ergänzt, 3 voll. with continuous pagination, Halle 1916-19, p. 193; Martín de Riquer, «El trovador Giraut del Luc y sus poesías contra Alfonso II de Aragón», Boletín de la Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona, 23, 1950, pp. 209-248, on p. 236.

Other editions: Martín de Riquer, Los trovadores. Historia literaria y textos, 3 voll., Barcelona 1975, vol. I, p. 550 (text Riquer).

Versification: a10’ a10’ a10’ a10’ a10’ a10’ (Frank 3:10). Five coblas unissonans of six ten-syllable lines and one four-line tornada. The sirventes is said to be sung to the tune of the Old French chanson de geste Beuve de Hanstone (v. 2), whose three Old French versions are indeed in monorhymed laisses of ten-syllable lines (though the shorter Anglo-Norman version is in alexandrines interspersed with ten-syllable lines): see Paolo Di Luca, «Epopée et poésie lyrique: de quelques contrafacta occitans sur le son de chansons de geste», Revue des langues romanes, 112, 2008, pp. 33-60.

Notes: Riquer (p. 228) stresses Guiraut’s heavy use of irony in this sirventes, and gives an idea of how the song might have been performed, citing the Leys d’Amors on irony (Las Flors del Gay Saber, estiers dichas ‘Las Leys d’Amors’, ed. A.-F. Gatien-Arnoult, 3 voll., Toulouse 1841-1843, vol. III, p. 258): e fa se ab elevatio de votz, enayssi que a la maniera del pronunciar enten hom que·l contrari vol dir. – The song must have been composed before the death of Alfonso II of Aragon in 1196. Riquer places it after August 1191 and August 1194, the period during which Alfonso II of Aragon was in possession of Mediona (vv. 14 and 32, see Riquer, pp. 214-217). The castles of Cabrera and Mediona are 7 km. apart, some 45 km. from Vallbona, to the south of Igualada. They belonged to Pons III de Cabrera, viscount of Gerona and Áger, who was in continual rebellion against Alfonso II. In 1191 the King concluded a treaty with Pons’s brother-in-law Count Armengol VIII of Urgel, whereby they shared the two castles and Pons’s entire estates between them. A military campaign against Pons forced him to flee in 1192, and his wife Marquesa surrendered and became the king’s hostage. As a consequence of the entreaties of the Count of Urgel and Marquesa, his sister, a peace agreement on 28 August 1194 saw the restoration to Pons of the castles of Santiscle, Torcafelón, Hostalrich, Avellana and Mediona, and Pons was reinstated in the king’s favour. Riquer argues that this explains the ironic allusion to Alfonso conquering Mediona through engan (14): the King held Mediona between 1191 and August 1194 thanks to his alliance with the brother of Pons’s wife (see Riquer, pp. 214-215, in other words through political manoeuvres regarded as cloak-and-dagger by the hostile troubadour). As Riquer observes (p. 216), the troubadour chooses to highlight the particular castle of Mediona for reasons of rhyme. – While these references are to a Catalan context, the song also refers to the jongleur Arnaut (25) crossing the French river Boutonne (Botona, 26, Riquer, p. 241), a tributary of the Charente. Should it be assumed that he is to take the song with him, or simply that he is passing through and that will be his next destination? Arnaut’s identity is unknown, but it is tempting to speculate about the troubadour Arnaut de Mareuil from Mareuil in the Périgord, some 100 km south of Chef-Boutonne, the source of the river. Arnaut dedicated a song to Alfonso II (Les Poésies du troubadour Arnaut de Mareuil, ed. Ronald C. Johnston, Paris 1935, XXI, 39, BdT 30.1) and the King features in the razo to 30.19 (Biographies des troubadours: textes provençaux des XIIIe et XIVe siècles, ed. Jean Boutière and Alfred H. Schutz, second edition by Jean Boutière and Irénée-Marcel Cluzel, Paris 1973, p. 36). Richard the Lionheart was campaigning in the region in July 1194, where his capture of the town of Angoulême «was the culmination of two months of remarkable military success» (John Gillingham, Richard I, Newhaven and London 1999, pp. 288-289). Angoulême is 67 km. from Chef-Boutonne (and 35 km from Barbézieux, mentioned in BdT 245.2). The Catalan’s familiarity with this minor river (convenient for the rhyme) could simply be explained by conversation with Arnaut, and yet it is usual to invoke a jongleur at the end of a song because he will be involved in its transmission. It would make sense to see Arnaut heading north in the hope of Richard’s patronage; in this case the song would necessarily postdate Richard’s return to the West in March 1194. – Line 2: for the date of the chanson de geste Boves d’Antona, see Riquer’s discussion on pp. 220-223. In his Trovadores (I, p. 548) he takes this to refer to the Occitan Daurel et Beton. – Line 3: Riquer interprets vuoill as volv (PD volver, ‘se tourner’), which is hardly possible. As he notes, the other mss. have veill. – Lines 5-6: puzzled by v. 6, Riquer suggests that the falsa persona from whom the count of Barcelona has been able to rid himself («se ha librado hasta ahora») may be the troubadour himself. But Guiraut is surely alluding to the story of Boves d’Antona, evoked by his explicit use of that chanson de geste’s tune. In Daurel et Beton Boves is betrayed and murdered by his evil companion Gui who usurps his title, and Guiraut goes on to accuse Alfonso II of Aragon of usurping the title of King of Mediona (31-32) by displacing the rightful ruler, Pons de Cabrera. Riquer is nevertheless right to see tant falsa persona as ironic. – Line 8: Riquer (pp. 213-214) observes that while the troubadour evidently means Alfonso did not pay Tarascon for something, between 1184 and 1185 he had conceded to it the right not to pay certain taxes, and suggests that Guiraut may be alluding to non-recognition of this right at some particular time. But this would hardly explain how the king allegedly claimed to have dropped the money in the water. – Lines 10-11: these lines refer to the coast of Provence (now the départements of the Aude and the Hérault) where there are numerous large pools next to the sea. To go from Maguelonne (now Villeneuve-lès-Maguelonne), which was surrounded by one of these pools and the sea, to Narbonne, it was necessary to cross a bridge of more than 1 km. long built in 1030-1060, which may well have been called the Narbonne bridge. The mar Folquier must have been one of the pools, named after a person. See Riquer, p. 239. – Line 12: Riquer, Trovadores, I, p. 551, n. 7-12 states that the Provençals deeply resented the trade relations entertained between Alfonso and his brother Sancho, count of Provence, and the Genoese, since the latter were hoping to ruin the port of Marseille in favour of the ports of Genoa and Savona. – Line 16: for Polpitz see the notes to BdT 245.2. – Lines 17-18: a sarcastic reference to Ramiro the Monk, grandfather of Alfonso II, who was brought out of his monastery to marry Agnes of Aquitaine and beget a needed heir to the Crown of Aragon and retired to the monastic life three years later after fathering a daughter (Thomas Bisson, The Medieval Crown of Aragon, Oxford 1986, pp. 16-17). – Line 19: Aytona, which belonged to the Templars, is situated 10 km. east of Fraga and 19 km. south-east of Lerida. – Lines 21-22: salem alec = al-salam alayka (see Riquer for diacritics), ‘peace be upon you’, and ualica zalem = u-alayka al-salam ‘and upon you peace’: see Riquer, p. 229. – Lines 23-24: Riquer sees the name Maimona as Moorish (Trovadores, I, p. 552), stating that it is common amongst Arabs; but it is also a Jewish name. The obra salamona is likely to refer to decoration formed from a star of David pattern. After accusing the king of fraternising with Arabs, he now charges him with consorting with Jewish women and «going native» in his dress. – Line 30: Riquer: «porque yo os pagaré en alabanza de Peirona», though ‘praise’ makes little sense in the context. For ‘with the consent of’, compare TL, V, 671, ‘Rat, Zustimmung’ and the examples cited there of au los de, though why Guiraut should need her consent is not clear either. Given the context of redeeming pawned clothing (28) and payment (pagarai), it is tempting to wonder whether laus refers to some form of payment owed: see SW, IV, 335, 3 ‘Verkaufsgebühren (nfz lods)?’, FEW, V, 209 citing OF los ‘droit de mutation dû au seigner à la vente d’un domaine de sa censive’, Old Provençal lausar ‘établir le droit de lods’ and laudisme ‘lods’, lauzamen ‘lods’, Niermeyer, p. 587, s.v. laus, 3, ‘payment for the lord’s leave to transfer of a holding’ as in ‘lods et ventes’, and for pagar a see SW, VI, 9, 3 ‘mitzahlen an, zahlend beitragen’. Did ms C, qu’ie.us metray guagz al dig de Na Peirona, also understand the meaning as financial: «for I will pay you a pledge (?) on the word of Madame Peirona» (PD gatge ‘gage; testament; amende; gages, solde’)? The identity of Na Peirona is unknown. – Lines 31-33: Riquer (Trovadores, I, 552, n. 31-34) comments that Guiraut calls Alfonso apostitz «con referencia a la aparición del falso Alfonso el Batallador a que Giraut del Luc también allude en el otro sirventés»: see my note to BdT 245.2, v. 30. As Riquer states (p. 214), there can be little doubt that Valbona designates the monastery of Vallbona de las Monjas, founded in 1176 at the request of Berenguera de Cervera, and this makes the unanimous marseilla of the manuscripts puzzling: what could Marseille have to do with this Catalan convent? He does not hesitate to emend to Marquesa (see the general note above), and I have followed this with some hesitation, though agree that the historical context makes this reading quite likely. A sister of Marquesa, Miracle, was married to Ramón de Cervera, and Riquer (p. 216) argues that this may explain why, from Guiraut’s point of view, Marquesa could have had reasons for accusing Alfonso of violating the nuns there. For a discussion of this diffamatory accusation in the light of Alfonso’s soubriquet el Cast (the Chaste), see Riquer, pp. 223-226. – Line 34: Riquer (Trovadores, I, p. 552, n. 31-34) comments that the troubadour maliciously refers to the canonical hours of compline (before going to bed for the night) and nones (at three in the afternoon, at siesta time).

[LP, lb]

BdT    Guiraut de Luc

Songs referring to the crusades