English translation [LP]
I. If I am losing out because of a bad
lord and traitorous Jews, honour compensates me for the damage, for I was never
a flattering liar for the sake of monetary gain: I always prize the best people
the most highly, because I see that merit adorns the man who ends and begins
well. But the coward who holds himself back debases himself and denies he is
guilty of cowardice; but not everyone who wants to shout and bray about it
possesses true worth.
Italian translation [lb]
I. Se sto perdendo a causa di un cattivo
signore e degli ebrei traditori, l’onore mi compensa del danno, perché non sono
mai stato un adulatore bugiardo per brama di guadagno: stimo sempre di più i
migliori, perché vedo che il merito adorna l’uomo che comincia e finisce bene.
Ma il pavido che si tira indietro, si svilisce e rinnega è colpevole di
codardia; non è chi vuole gridare e sbraitare che possiede il vero valore.
Text: Riquer 1950, with minor modifications. – Rialto 23.vii.2014.
Mss.: A 197r (Girautz del luc. siruentes), D 130v (Girauz de luc), I 194v (Guirautz de luc), K 180r (Girautz de luc).
Critical edition: Martin de Riquer, «El trovador Giraut del Luc y sus poesías contra Alfonso II de Aragon», Boletín de la Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona, 23, 1950, pp. 209-248, on p. 234.
Other editions: Carlos Alvar, Textos trovadorescos sobre España y Portugal, Madrid 1978, p. 121 (st. IV, text Riquer).
Versification: a7 b7 b7 c7’ c7’ b7 d7’ d7’ e7 e5 d7’ f7’ f7’ (Frank 695:2), -il, -ors, -aire, -ensa, -ai, aja. Five coblas unissonans; incomplete. The metrical shape (though with different rhymes) is identical to that of its model BdT 210.18, a vituperative sirventes of Guillem de Berguedan composed in the 1180s.
Notes: The sirventes dates from after 1190, when the Templars conquered the castle of Polpís del Mastrazgo (see v. 21: now in the municipality of Santa Magdalena de Polpís, in the lower Maestrazgo in the province of Castellón de la Plana, between Benicarló and Alcalá de Xivert) and received it in donation from Alfonso II of Aragon. Nothing else is known of this castle, situated in a frontier zone, until the reign of James I in the first third of the thirteenth century, when it was reconquered by the Christians, apart from the testimony of Guiraut de Luc’s two sirventes. In this one the troubadour accuses Alfonso of selling it to the Saracens, and in BdT 245.1, 16, of having robbed it from the Templars. While these accusations from a partisan and diffamatory source cannot be taken as a faithful record of events, they show that Polpís was lost during Alfonso’s reign and that at least his enemies attributed the loss to him (Riquer, pp. 217-219). That the person accused by Guiraut is indeed Alfonso is confirmed by BdT 245.1 (see the notes to that piece); the terminus ante quem for both sirventes is therefore Alfonso’s death in 1196. Riquer argues that this one predates BdT 245.1, and that both were in fact most probably composed between January 1190 and August 1194 (see the notes to BdT 245.1). His reason for the chronological order of 245.2 and 245.1 is that the latter speaks of the subject of Polpís in passing, among many other mentions of events of greater or lesser importance, whereas in the present piece the loss of the castle by the Christians is seen as a current event (p. 219). This view is supported by the fact that in BdT 245.2 it is referred to in the present tense, car Polpitz torn’en tenenssa / del rei marrochin, qui fai /son esquern delai! (21-23), but in 245.1, in the past: ni tolc Polpitz als templiers (16). – Allusions in the two sirventes to the French region of the Charente are more difficult to clarify. In vv. 37-39 of the present piece, Guiraut refers to a deal between Alfonso and an English king beyond Blaye, and in v. 53, to Alfonso passing through Barbezieux; in 245.1, 26 he indicates that the jongleur Arnaut is to cross the river Boutonne, a tributary of the Charente (Riquer, p. 241). Riquer (pp. 212-213) notes that Alfonso was on friendly relations with the English kings Henry II and Richard the Lionheart who, in their capacity as dukes of Aquitaine, were his allies in his conflicts with the counts of Toulouse. In 1183 Alfonso supported Henry during his son the Young King Henry’s rebellion against him, crossing through Perigord and taking part in the siege of Autafort (see John Gillingham, Richard I, New Haven and London 1999, p. 76 and the references there), which brings us to the vicinity of Berbezilh (now Barbezieux, Charente). Riquer cautiously suggests that it may be possible to link Guiraut’s allusions to the alliance between Alfonso and Henry and the trip to Berbezilh to these events at the beginning of 1183. He also notes that it is historically documented that from 14 April 1185 Alfonso made an appearance at Najac (Languedoc) with Richard the Lionheart, while Henry was still king, to make an alliance against Raymond V of Toulouse, and suggests that Guiraut, who was an ardent supporter of the latter, might have been referring to this alliance, but he concedes that such a scenario would make it more difficult to explain the allusion to Barbezieux. In 245.1, however, the connection to the Charente region is contemporary with the song’s composition, and it is possible that the jongleur Arnaut is heading for the Charentais at this particular time because of Richard the Lionheart’s renewed presence there: see the notes to that piece. – Line 16: Riquer ‘un feudo’, but us feus is oblique plural, us meaning ‘some, certain’. – Line 27, aillors: literally ‘elsewhere, in a different place’. Riquer ‘de otra suerte’. – Line 29: an ironic contradiction: Alfonso is now fin, i.e. ‘noble, pure, refined’ from praises (lauzors) that are ‘bad’ (malvasas). Riquer «(hecho) blanco de malvadas alabanzas». – Lines 37-39: Riquer translates covinenssa as ‘conveniencia’ (advantage, benefit?) but see PD, ‘convention, accord; gage, salaire’. – Perse (perset or presset) is usually thought of as a cloth of some sort of blue colour. At any rate, the sense is that Alfonso gave something of lesser worth in exchange for something more valuable. – Line 30: the «uncle» here and in v. 36 refers to the pseudo-Alfonso de Battler, whose execution Alfonso ordered in 1181. Guiraut de Luc repeats the rumour, found also in Bertran de Born, that Alfonso hanged his real great-uncle (William D. Paden Jr., Tilde Sankovitch, and Patricia H. Stäblein, The poems of the troubadour Bertran de Born, ed. Berkeley and Los Angeles 1986, p. 331, poem 29, 39 and the references in the note). – Alfonso’s brother refers to Ramon Berenguer III of Provence, regent of Provence 1144-1166. He was actually killed by a supporter of Raymond V of Toulouse. «Far from causing his brother’s death, as Bertran says, Alfonso invaded the county of Toulouse to avenge it» (Paden-Sankovitch-Stäblein, Bertran de Born, pp. 104 and 273). – Line 40: the king of Castile is Alfonso VIII (1158-1214). – Line 48: in other words he makes and remakes their fortunes? It is unclear whether this statement is intended to be laudatory or not. – Lines 53-55: Guiraut returns to criticism of Alfonso II.