Peire Vidal





Bels Amics cars, ven s’en ves vos estius,

Fair dear Friend, summer is making its way towards you, for it is sending you some of its flowers at Christmastime; it defeats February so that Easter has already returned, and winter flees away because it is not to your liking. Therefore, since the seasons are at your command, anyone who is not ready to honour and cherish you is wretched indeed, and seeks his own disgrace.

qu’entorn Nadal vos tramet de sas flors,

e venz febrier, qu’es ja tornatz pascors,

e fug iverns que no·us es agradius.


Doncs pus li temps son al vostre voler,

ben es chaitius e ben vol dechazer

selh que no·us sap honrar e car tener.


Mas mi platz tan vostre rics senhorius,

But your noble rule pleases me so much that when I hear fine praises spoken of you I feel gladness and sweet delight like the birds rejoicing in their nests at the approach of the the courtly season; and I so long to see you, fair dear Friend, that I can hardly keep my eyes here in this place.

que quant aug dir de vos bonas lauzors,


aissi m’es gaugz e delietz e sabors

cum als auzells, quant s’alegron pels nius

del cortes temps que vezon aparer;

e vuelh vos tan, bels Amics cars, vezer,

qu’a penas puesc sai mos huelhs retener.



E quar si mes entre·ls gilos aurius

But we courtly people are much distressed and pained that such a prestigious case and a matter of such outstanding importance should have been brought before/among the crazy jealous ones; but let no-one be shy of speaking out about one thing: great merit cannot be found among base people, for what people of excellence do must always displease the base, so one ought not to fear [for one’s reputation?].

tan honratz plaitz ni tan rica valors,

a nos cortes es trebalhs e dolors;

mas d’una ren no·s fassa nulhs esquius,

s’entr’avols gens no pot rics pretz caber,


car als avols deu tostemps mal saber

so que·l pro fan, per qu’om no·s deu temer.


Del vostre dan, Amics, sui molt caitius,

I feel very wretched, Friend, about the harm done to you, and also because my lady brings me no aid and my love for her torments me so much that I think I shall die from anxiousness and care. How ill-fated I was to fall in love with her, since she is not to be mine, and since I am unable to abstain from what does me harm; now I am a man who has no power over himself.

e quar no·m fai ma domna nulh secors

e destreng mi tan fort la su’amors,


qu’ieu cug morir cossiros e pessius.

Mala l’amiei, pus no·m deu escazer

e pus no·m puesc de mon dan estener;

ar sui ieu selh qu’en mi non ai poder.


E si·n paresc a las autras esquius,

And if I appear disdainful to other ladies, I so desire what is good and honourable for her, whose great rank ought not to harm me, that since the time when she wholly owned me I have done nothing shameful towards her, but rather I love her all the more with a good and true heart, for I hope for nothing but perfect joy; it will be a great sin if she spurns me.


tan vuelh sos bes e tan vuelh sas honors,

don no·m deu ges nozer sa grans ricors.

Qu’anc pus m’ac tot, no fui vas lieis antius,

enans l’am mais de bon cor e de ver,

que de ren mais gaug entier non esper;


grans pechatz er, si·m torn’e nonchaler.


La grans valors e·l pretz nominatius

The great worth and outstanding merit and sweet pleasure that was born in Marseille have been under attack from miserable traitors, but then the wicked accusation and false rumour came to a stop. So you should have the name of sisters, for God makes both of you together worth more despite those who make my heart grieve.

e·l dous plazers quez a Marseilla sors

fon guerrejatz per malastrucs trachors,

mas pueis remas lo mals crims e·l fals brius.


Per que devetz nom de serors aver,

qu’ambas essems vos fai Dieus mais valer

mal grat d’aissels que·m fan mon cor doler.


Et irai m’en lai on fo mortz e vius

I shall go to that place where Our Lord died and rose again for all us sinners; may His great sweetness aid me, since he is noble, dear, true and gentle; and may he let me do His will in all things. And to the good king may God give the strength and opportunity to maintain his good name.

Nostre Seigner per nos totz pechadors;


E socora·m la soa grans doussors,

si cum es fis, cars e verais e pius;

e·m lais faire del tot lo sieu plazer.

Et al bon rei don Dieus forsa e lezer

c’aissi puosca son bon pretz mantener.



Na Vierna, tornar e remaner

Lady Vierna, I should like to return and remain with you, if My Castiat would grant me leave, but he is too much to be feared.

volgra ves vos, si m’en dones lezer

Mos Castiatz, mas trop se fai temer.




Text: Peire Vidal, Poesie. Edizione critica e commento a cura di d’Arco Silvio Avalle, Milano-Napoli 1960, 2 voll., vol. I, p. 26 (II).

English translation by Linda Paterson. – Rialto 11.x.2013.

Notes: Avalle (I, p. 28) argues that this song almost certainly dates from before the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin on 3 October 1187, since no mention is made of this, in contrast to other pieces by this troubadour. He believes that Amics refers to Eudoxia of Constantinople, niece of the Greek emperor Manuel, who probably arrived in Marseille in early 1178 to marry the brother of King Alfonso II of Aragon, Raimon Berenguer IV of Provence (I, p. 28, II, pp. 228-229, note 43, and see Martorano’s note). Under pressure from his notional suzerain Frederick Barbarossa, Raimon then refused the match, and negotiations took place with the Greek ambassadors for her to be married instead to Guillem VIII of Montpellier. She and her escort probably arrived in Montpellier in the spring of 1178 and circumstantial details suggest that they wed that summer (see Ruth Harvey, «The Empress Eudoxia and the Troubadours», Medium Aevum, 70, 2001, pp. 268-277, who has disentangled much historical and scholarly confusion over these events). In 1187 Guillem repudiated her, inter alia accusing her of infidelity, and in April of that year married Agnes of Castile (Stanislaw Stroński, Le troubadour Folquet de Marseille, Krakow 1910, pp. 155-157; see also Winfried Hecht, «Zur Geschichte der „Kaiserin“ von Montpellier, Eudoxia Komnena», Revue des études byzantines, 26, 1968, pp. 161-169, on p. 169). Eudoxia was supported by the bishop of Maguelone and the archbishop of Narbonne, who excommunicated Guillem and his domains, but the King of Aragon soon persuaded the pope cancel the interdict, whereupon Eudoxia left Montpellier and withdrew to Aniane (Stroński, p. 156; C. Devic and J. Vaissete, Histoire générale du Languedoc, 15 voll., Toulouse, 1872-1892, vol. V, p. 4). Avalle (followed by Martorano) suggests that her dan (v. 22) refers to her repudiation. This scenario fits well with the idea of false accusations by the gilos (v. 15). Martorano understands plaitz (16), as ‘agreement’: «E che sia entrato fra i gelosi folli così onorato accordo e così nobile valore per noi cortesi è penoso e doloroso» (Anglade «C’est pour nous, courtois, une peine et une douleur de voir que tant d’honneur et de noble valeur se soit mis parmi les fous jaloux»; compare Fraser, Songs, p. 188, «We courtly people are much aggrieved that stupid and jealous gossips receive so much credit and respect», which avoids the problem of plaitz). However, the idea of harm being done to Amics (22) does not accord with the idea of an ‘honourable’ or ‘honoured’ or ‘noble’ agreement. Instead, it looks as if plaitz here mean ‘lawsuit, case’ (SW, VI, 332, 1 ‘Prozess’), with metre p. having a similar meaning to menar plait (SW, V, 190, 4 ‘(vor Gericht) führen, verhandeln (to hear a case)’. Compare Niermeyer, placitus, 26 (p. 804) ‘claim, plea, lawsuit’; 21 (p. 803) ‘session of a lawcourt’ (also decision, agreement, settlement, meeting, negotiation; often used with habere, facere), and PD metre en p. ‘traduire, citer en justice; accuser; contester’. In other words, the question of Eudoxia’s repudiation was a matter of outstanding prestige and importance because of her own prestige and rank, and it would seem that the reference is to a hearing or legal case. The conceits of the opening stanza suggest that the song was composed early in the year, perhaps in February. BdT 364.2. which also refers to Amic, was composed in the Holy Land later in the same year: see the notes to that piece.The reference to Marseille suggests that when Eudoxia first arrived there she was the focus of much courtly activity. – Line 15: what is the precise meaning of si mes entre? Compare PD and SW, V, 269, 11 m. alc. ren en alcun, ‘soumettre qc. au jugement de qn.’. – Line 48. probably Anfos II of Aragon (see Martorano’s note), though possibly Alfonso VIII of Castile. – Line 50, Na Vierna: Vierna of Porcellet, cousin of Barral, lord of Marseille, or possibly Vierna de Ganges, wife of the lord of Ganges near Marseille (see Martorano’s note to BdT 364.10 on Rialto). – Line 52, Mos Castiatz: a senhal (pseudonym) for Count Raimon V of Toulouse.

[LP, lb]


BdT    Peire Vidal

Songs referring to the crusades