Analysis of manuscripts: C 106v (peirols), R 88r (89 in old numbering; peirols; blank staves above stanza I). − The two mss. are closely related, sharing an error in 15 and possibly 11. R is a little untidier than C, with minor errors in 2, 26 and 35. Variants in 3 (x 2), 8, 22 and 33 are indifferent. Base: C

Critical apparatus:

2 uer d. qes | qes s. R    3 merces] lauzors R; platz R    6 en R    7 ioan R    8 bonamar e R    10 marselha R    11 sieu CR    13 ioan R    15 Quen la terra CR    17 bos reys R    19 et R    22 fossetz R    23 garderatz R    24 rey R    26 mans R    31 qar R; . i . R    33 aitan a. R    35 qeuostra R.


Dating and historical circumstances:

The piece was composed after the fall of Damietta on 30 August 1221, and sometime in the summer of 1222, when John of Brienne, king of Jerusalem (the rey Johan of 13) left Acre for the West to raise future aid for his kingdom: he landed in Brindisi in October 1222 (Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, 3 voll., Harmondsworth 1971, first published Cambridge 1951-1954, vol. III, pp. 173-175). − Frederick II had taken the cross in 1215, but Pope Innocent III had allowed him to postpone the crusade in order to settle affairs in Germany. In November 1220 he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome by Pope Honorius III and in return Frederick had promised definitely to set out for the East the following spring (Runciman III, pp. 163-166); during the general consternation produced by the announcement of the fall of Damietta, Honorius was threatening Frederick with anathema for the delay standing in the way of the accomplishment of his vows, but was no longer doing so after the new oath that the Emperor proffered at Veroli between 12 and 23 April 1222, which everyone believed. Vincenzo De Barthomolaeis, «Osservazioni sulle poesie provenzali relative a Federico II», Memorie della Real Accademia delle scienze dell’Isituto di Bologna. Classe di scienze morali, sezione storico-filologica, serie 1, vol. 6, 1911-1912, pp. 97-124 (on pp. 102-103) argues that the piece was apparently composed before the meeting at Veroli, as otherwise Peirol would not have written lines 26-27, though this assumes that the news of Veroli had already reached the troubadour. Aston, pp. 9, 16-17 and 22, offers no terminus ante quem. The date of 1221 was called into question by Hill-Bergin 1973, p. 60, who argued that lines 16-18 and 21 sound posterior to the death of Philip Augustus – «unless the bon rey referred to is Louis VII». But would Louis VII really have been held up as an example of a great crusading king after the disaster of the Second Crusade? An old man by 1221, Philip had completed his crusading activities thirty years previously and was hardly in a position to undertake a new expedition, so it seems acceptable to see these lines as referring back to the days of the Third Crusade. − At the time of composition Peirol was on his way home to Provence from the Holy Land (lines 1-10), possibly at some Italian port, from where the song could have reached Frederick II in Sicily or Calabria or Puglia or Campania (De Bartholomaeis, «Osservazioni», p. 103). His visit to Jerusalem can only have taken place after the conclusion of the eight-year truce between El-Kamil and the Christians on 30 August 1221 (Kurt Lewent, «Das altprovenzalische Kreuzlied», Romanische Forschungen, 21 (1905), pp. 321-448, on p. 419); Lewent suggests that he may have been present at the final loss of Damietta on 7 September 1221 and have visited the Holy Land after the Christians vacated the city.


Textual notes:

2. Aston does not record the repetition of qes in R.

3-5. Literally «I give thanks because so much honour pleased You that You have shown me the holy place where You were truly born, through which I have my heart joyful; for if...». − Sarrazis used here as nominative plural (compare also 25 rics). Jensen, Troubadour Lyrics, p. 567 prints clamaria·n with «causal ·n», and sees here an example of Latin syntactical usage of singular forms of names of nationalities with representative value. − Johan: De Bartholomaeis suggests this may mean ‘infidel’ (from the point of view of the Saracens) and refers to Du Cange Iohannes and Littré Jean, which give the gloss Knights of St John of Jerusalem; Aston plausibly suggested it was a generic term applied by the Saracens to the crusading solders, analogous to ‘Tommy’ or ‘Fritz’. The Leys d’Amors (Las Leys d’amors, éd. Joseph Anglade, 4 voll., Toulouse 1920) uses it as a common name: see for example 1015-1016, com: «Peyres lieg e Guilhems canta» / e «Johan ritz e Frances planta» (also 555-556, 1023-1024).

6. De Bartholomaeis and Aston print en for em, with no variant.

8. C: uie bon u. While C usually indicates elision by a digraph which is not used here, Aston is mistaken to claim C is hypometric and that R has apparently noted the difficulty, employing mar (which is also adopted here by Jeanroy-Boelke, Riquer) «to avoid the strong hiatus which would be necessary between via and e to make up the requisite number of syllables».

11-14. All previous editors print s’ieu era; Aston translates «for if I were truly there across the sea, Acre and Tyre ... would I commend to the care of God». Since coman (14) is present indicative, there can hardly be a question of a conditional sentence here, and in any case what would this mean? Why would Peirol’s commendation to God depend on him being (still) overseas? Riquer and De Bartholomaeis accurately translate coman as pres. ind. («Como si realmente estuviera [ya] en el otro lado del mar, a Dios encomiendo Acre» etc., similarly Piccolo; «Come s’io fossi già al di là del mare, raccomando ...»), but again this does not appear to be meaningful. Line 11 is suspect, given the repetition of the rhyme-word veramen (see 4), especially as the rhyme is such an easy one: it is tempting to emend to longamen. Good sense is obtained if sieu is understood as a possessive pronoun with a final ‘s’ omitted in the CR source. − Aston’s suggestion that rotlan might be a paleographical error for jordan is unlikely, not only on paleographic grounds but also because of what would then be the repeated evocation of that river (see 1). More persuasive is De Bartholomaeis’s idea that Peirol was referring to a fountain or stream so named by the crusaders.

12. sirven: the non-knightly brethren attached to the military orders; compare Ricaut Bonomel, BdT 439.1, 12-13, tan cavaliers, tan sirven, tan borzes / con dinz los murs d’Aluf avia!, ed. Paterson on Rialto, and the note. Peirol may be singling them out because he mixed with them, or mentioning them here in an inclusive spirit: the defenders of the kingdom of Jerusalem number not only the king and the actual knights of the military orders but also their crucial support system.

15-18. I accept De Bartholomaeis’s emendation in 15, but not his argument that this also entails correction in 16 to e Fransa (where he takes Fransa as the subject of soli’ aver) and 18 (to e Espanha). De Bartholomaeis is silently followed in 15 by Aston, Jeanroy-Boelke and Jensen, and in 16 and 18 by Aston, Jeanroy-Boelke, Riquer and Jensen.

16. The de (as printed by Hill-Bergin 1941) is clear in both mss; soli’aver must be impersonal.

Aston «with its lilies» (following De Bartholomaeis), an identification also made by Riquer in a note.

16-18. As Riquer notes, this is a scornful reference to the English kings John Lackland, d. 1216, and possibly also to Henry III who so far had failed to match up to Richard the Lionheart (d. 1199). Like De Bartholomaeis, he suggests that the French king could have been either Louis VII (d. 1180) or Philip Augustus (d.1223), but see the General note above.

18. Mahn and Hill-Bergin 1941 punctuate E ’n. − In the Spanish king Riquer proposes to recognise either Alfonso VIII of Castile (d. 1214) or Pere II of Aragon (d. 1213).

19. I take e to = en here. R seems to have understood this to be the conjunction, but the syntax does not work in this case. − De Bartholomaeis (also Jeanroy-Boelke) identified the Marquis of Montferrat with Boniface (d. 1207), Aston with Conrad III of Monferrat, defender of Tyre against Saladin, who had «hoped to become King of Jerusalem against the rival claimant, Guy de Lusignan. His ambition was realised in 1193 but he was murdered shortly afterwards by the emissaries of the Old Man of the Mountains. He is the marques of Montferrat on whose behalf Bertran de Born wrote the sirventes, Ara sai eu de pretz qals l’a plus gen» (p. 186): see BdT 80.4, éd. Gouiran on Rialto, and Peirol’s reference in BdT 366.29, my edition on Rialto.

20. Mahn (also De Bartholomaeis, Hill-Bergin 1941, Aston, Jensen) punctuates E l’emperi. − De Bartholomaeis (also Riquer) suggests the emperor could have been either Frederick Barbarossa (d. 1190) or Henry VI (d. 1197); Aston opts for the former, but see the General note above.

24. qui here serves both as dir. obj. of faitz and indir. obj. of datz (compare Jensen, Troubadour Lyrics, p. 569).

25. Aston silently follows De Bartholomaeis in printing tenon, no var. or note.

26. Frederick II «took the Cross for the second time at his coronation in Rome on 22 November 1220» and only embarked for the Holy Land in 1228 (Aston). Aston’s contention that Peirol was presumably present in Rome at that time is unfounded: see Kurt Lewent, review of Aston, Romanic Review, 45 (1954), pp. 271-277 (on pp. 272-273), and PSW VIII, 728, 18 vezer ‘to learn, to come to know something’.

28. «Allusion à un conte où un Gascon, une fois au port, oublie le vœu qu’il avait fait au cours d’une tempête» (Jeanroy-Boelke, p. 295), a story also found in a Latin sermon exempla collection from the 13th c. (Alfred Jeanroy, «Le Vœu du Gascon (à propos d’un vers de Peirol)», in Mélanges de philologie romane et de littérature médiévale offerts à Ernest Hoepffner par ses élèves et ses amis, Paris 1949, pp. 265-267. − Aston emends to traissetz, unnecessarily (compare nasques in 4).

29-30. The blanca tors was the citadel of Damietta, and the «eagle» the standard of the absent emperor (borne by German crusaders), the leader on whom everyone’s hopes had been pinned.

34. Aston prints y, no var.

35. rezeguan: De Bartholomaeis «che la nostra religione ne riesce sminuita»; Aston «in that he is ever decreasing (?)», noting Raynouard’s suggestion of ‘dessécher, dépérir’ for rezegar, with Levy’s comment in PSW VII, 330, «Ich weiss nicht, wie zu verstehen ist». Aston (followed by Jensen) suggests that the probable sense in this context is ‘to diminish’ – «Or does rezegar = resegar?». Piccolo, «ne rimane umiliata», Jeanroy-Boelke ‘abaissée’. The sense is surely given through rezegue, LR V, 90; PSW VII, 330 resegue ‘Gefahr, Risiko’, as Hill-Bergin 1941 (see Glossary, though the 1973 edition more hesitantly has «rĕsĕcāre? der. Grk. rhizikon? decrease? endanger?») and Gandois-Porteau thought. See FEW X, 293, which derives medieval Occitan rezegue (attested from 1200) and rezegar to which it gave rise, from a derivative of rĕsĕcare ‘abschneiden’, «ein *resecum, dessen bed. wie die von sp. risco ursprünglich “felsklippe” gewesen wäre. [...] Aus der bed. “klippe” erklärt sich ohne weiteres die bed. “gefahr”, sind doch die klippen eine der schlimmsten gefahren, mit welchen die schiffahr rechnen muss». In this light, one must wonder whether the nuance in the present piece may be «our religion is heading for the rocks»; compare Hill and Bergin, II, p. 61: «he is putting in danger the dominion of our faith». But in any case the notion of ‘risk’ is clear enough in the dictionary examples of rezegue / resegue.

[RH, lb]

BdT    Peirol

Songs referring to the crusades