Text: Gaunt, Harvey and Paterson 2000 (XIV). – Rialto 14.xii.2004.
Ms.: C 171r.
Critical editions: Jean-Marie-Lucien Dejeanne, Poésies complètes du troubadour Marcabru, Toulouse 1909, p. 57 (XIV); Linda M. Paterson, Troubadours and Eloquence, Oxford 1975, p. 43; Simon Gaunt, Ruth Harvey and Linda Paterson, Marcabru: A Critical Edition, Cambridge, D. S. Brewer, 2000, p. 191.
Versification: a7’ b7 c7 d7’ e7 f7’ in odd stanzas and b7 a7’ d7’ c7 f7’ e7 in even stanzas (Frank 864:6). Nine coblas doblas. However, the poem uses derived rhymes that link morphologically the ‘a’ and ‘c’, the ‘b’ and ‘d’, and the ‘e’ and ‘f’ rhymes in each stanza and between stanzas, thus (see Dominique Billy, L’Architecture lyrique médiévale: analyse métrique et modélisation des structures interstrophiques dans la poésie lyrique des troubadours et des trouvères, Montpellier, 1989, p. 185):
Chambers (Frank M. Chambers, An Introduction to Old Provençal Versification, Philadelphia 1985, p. 54) suggests the rhyme scheme may in fact be represented ‘ababcc’, but a more accurate representation (see the table above) is ‘a’bab’cb’’ for odd and ‘ba’b’ab’c’ for even stanzas. The use of derived rhyme means the melody would need modifying for even stanzas, though this is not as big a problem as Chambers thinks (Introduction, p. 54); indeed if the tune was strongly rhythmical, as the term tresc/tresca suggests, the modifications needed would be slight, affecting only the end of each line. The patterning of rhymes indicates material has gone missing in transmission: stanza VII in the Ms. is followed by a stanza which apparently has the rhyme scheme of odd stanzas, though it is clearly corrupt as in the first line it has a rhyme in -ans and a rhyme-word that is not morphologically linked to the rhyme-word of the third line of the stanza. Whereas previous editors assume a complete stanza is missing and emend twice (our lines 46 and 51; lines 43 and 45 in Dejeanne and Paterson) to produce a rhyme-pair that makes the stanza conform to the rhyme scheme of odd stanzas, we assume that the corrupt stanza in the Ms. has been confected from two stanzas. The song concludes with a two-line tornada.
Notes: The single Ms. is defective. Apart from lacunae in stanza I caused by the removal of an initial, material has been lost in transmission, the scribe may have misunderstood one stanza, there are clearly copying mistakes, and lines 55-58 are recorded in the Ms. as a single stanza. – The poem’s apparent opacity, exacerbated by the derived rhyme and by the fact that the single source is defective, has encouraged scholars to impute to the poem a high-minded, quasi-philosophical and confessional tone. However, in our interpretation, this song is bitingly ironic, often verges on the jocular and offers familiar tirades against faithless women, promiscuous men and treacherous language. As Kay suggests (Sarah Kay, Subjectivity in Troubadour Poetry, Cambridge 1990, pp. 99-100), this poem «is a palimpsest of two texts: a denunciation of the ‘feminine’ ... and a love song». Its formal complexity contributes to this ambivalence, as might a jaunty melody.