Text: Gaunt, Harvey and Paterson 2000 (IV). – Rialto 14.xii.2004.
Mss.: A (33r) Marcabruns, I (120r) Marcabrus, K (106r) Marcabrus, N (266r), a1 (301) marchabrus, d (307r) Marcabrus.
Critical editions: Jean-Marie-Lucien Dejeanne, Poésies complètes du troubadour Marcabru, Toulouse 1909, p. 13; Simon Gaunt, Ruth Harvey, «Tetxt and Context in a Poem by Marcabru: Al prim comens de l'invernaill», in The Troubadours and the Epic. Essays in Memory of W. Mary Hackett, Warwick 1987, pp. 59-101, p. 59; Lucia Lazzerini, «Un caso esemplare: Marcabru, IV, Al prim comens de l'ivernaill», Medioevo romanzo 17, 1992, pp. 7-42, p. 7; Simon Gaunt, Ruth Harvey and Linda Paterson, Marcabru: A Critical Edition, Cambridge, D. S. Brewer, 2000, p. 65.
Versification:: a8 b8 a4 a8 c8 b8 (Frank 211:1) with constant ‘b’ and ‘c’ rhymes; eleven coblas singulars and a tornada. Imprecise rhyming is a feature of this poem’s transmission in all Mss.. It is likely that at least some of the imprecise rhymes are authorial.
Notes: Base for version A: a1. The Ms. tradition of this poem has attracted comment because it has two different endings. It has been suggested that these are separate authorial redactions (see Dejeanne’s edition and his comments on p. 218, and Gaunt and Harvey, «Text and context»); but compare Lazzerini («Un caso esemplare», pp. 7-12 and 42), who argues that a single authorial redaction lies behind the song’s Ms. manifestations and produces a single version based on all Mss. Although there are clearly two main versions of this song, one based on IKNa1 and the other based on A, a simple view of the Mss. as representing two main redactions does not account for the complexity of the tradition as there is evidence of a faulty common archetype for stanzas I-VI while one stanza is found in Aa1 (VIII) only and another in Na1 only (VII). In stanzas I-VI the Mss. are relatively uniform, though a clear A/IKNa1 division, with IK and Na1 forming subgroups, is discernible. Putting aside stanzas VII and VIII, after line 36 the bifurcation of the Ms. tradition becomes much more marked with virtually every line showing substantive and consistent enough divergence to suggest deliberate remaniement. Whereas some of these points of divergence may result from A’s attempt to ‘tidy up’ a source, most suggest a different redaction, though the division between IK and Na1 persists throughout the poem. The tornada, however, presents problems of a different order. In short the Ms. tradition of this poem is complex, but there is clear evidence for two different endings. As these two versions appear to address different circumstances but within Marcabru’s lifetime, the most likely explanation for the different versions of the poem is that Marcabru himself redeployed an extant poem for a different set of circumstances (see Gaunt and Harvey, «Text and context»). The relative chronology suggested by the historical references in the two versions indicates that the version based on A’s is the earlier. A corollary of this would be that although version B probably represents the earlier of the two versions, it only survives in a hybrid 13th-c. remaniement; conversely the later version of the poem may in fact be preserved in an earlier redaction than the earlier version. Although a1 contains numerous errors, most of these are copying mistakes, easily correctible from other Mss.: we consequently do not comment on them individually unless it is necessary to justify the reading adopted. We offer two editions of this poem, one based on a1, version A and one on A, version B. – Stanza order:
– Line 59 in version B seems to refer to the death of Guilhem X who died on April 9 1137 in Santiago de Compostela; as this event is alluded to in such a way as to suggest it is relatively recent, version B would seem to date from the autumn (given the first stanza) of 1137. Lines 55-60 in version B suggest Marcabru was in (or on his way to) Castile at this point. In version A, the reference to ‘the Poitevin’ is not present (and despite the fact that the line in question is missing, the subsequent line makes it clear there was probably no reference to the ‘Poitevin’ in this version), but a tornada indicates Marcabru in Gascony, seemingly asking for the patronage of a petitz in ‘Orsal’ (Ossau in the Béarn); this is usually taken to be a reference to Peire de Gabaret, Viscount of Béarn, who was born some time before 1134, when he succeeded his uncle, and who died in 1153. Peire’s minority seems to have been over by 1147, so version A could date from any period between 1134 and 1147 and the balance of probabilities therefore suggests that it is later than IVb (see Gaunt and Harvey, «Text and context», pp. 86-89 for an overview). However, it should be noted that the identification of Peire here rests on a problematic portion of the text and may result from scribal innovation. Although it seems fairly certain that Marcabru was at one point in the entourage of Guilhem X and therefore that he may even have been with it when the Duke died, it is not possible to ascertain whether Marcabru ever went to Ossau, but it may be relevant that until 1154 Béarn was thought to have close links with successive counts of Poitou (see P. Tucoo-Chala, La Vicomté de Béarn et le problème de la souveraineté des origines à 1620, Bordeaux, 1961, p. 37). In addition to the references to the two patrons, in both versions Castile, Portugal and Barcelona are mentioned. However, the prepositions used to refer to them and the syntax are different: in version A Marcabru says that he will ever more be lost en Castile, but ves Portugal and Barcelona, whereas in version B en is used to refer to sending greetings to all three places and the poet then goes on to say that he is en Gascony ‘here’ (67). This obviously suggests that Marcabru was in Castile (or possibly still in Santiago where Guilhem X died) when he composed the version B, but in Gascony when he produced the other version (though it is also possible the en in version B suggests he was on his way to Castile, rather than already there). This in turn suggests that Marcabru spent part of 1137 in Spain, but then returned to south-western France.