English translation [LP]
I. I shall spring to the attack in song,
for time passes and promise is unfulfilled, and God is a prompt defence against
great adversity: let us stand firm, lords, sure of powerful aid.
Italian translation [lb]
I. Passerò all’attacco cantando, perché il
tempo scorre e la promessa non è mantenuta, e Dio è una pronta difesa contro le
grandi avversità: stiamo saldi, signori, certi di un aiuto potente.
Text: Frank 1957. – Rialto 22.viii.2014.
Ms.: Da 198r.
Critical editions: Carl Appel, Provenzalische Chrestomathie mit Abriss der Formenlehre und Glossar, Leipzig 1895, p. 107; István Frank, «Tomier et Palaizi, troubadours tarasconnais (1199-1226)», Romania, 78, 1957, pp. 46-85, on p. 74.
Other editions: François-Juste-Marie Raynouard, Choix des poésies originales des troubadours, 6 voll., Paris 1816-1821, vol. V, p. 447; Carl August Friedrich Mahn, Die Werke der Troubadours, in provenzalischer Sprache, 4 voll., Berlin 1846-1886, vol. III, p. 341; Vincenzo De Bartholomaeis, Poesie provenzali storiche relative all’Italia, 2 voll., Roma 1931, vol. II, p. 54 (text Appel); Martín Aurell, La Vielle et l’épée. Troubadours et politique en Provence au XIIIe siècle, Paris 1989, p. 257 (text Frank); Francesco Zambon, Paratge. Els trobadors i la croada contra els catars, Barcelona 1998, p. 84 (text Frank); Francesco Zambon, I trovatori e la Crociata contro gli Albigesi, Milano-Trento 1999, p. 64 (id.).
Versification: a5 b5’ a5 b5’ a5 b5’ c6 c6 (Frank 269:2); ‘a’ rhyme -ai, -em, -ir, -es, -ics, -out, -èrt, -als, -ar, ‘b’ rhyme -essa, -ansa, -ada, -onha, -anha, -ensa, -aire, -ata, -eza; ‘c’ rhyme -ors. Nine coblas singulars. One other song, a canso of Gaucelm Faidit, has the same rhyme-scheme but octosyllabic lines, coblas doblas with refrain, and different rhymes.
Notes: Frank (pp. 63-65) argues convincingly that the sirventes was composed during the Albigensian crusade at the time of the siege of Avignon by Louis VIII of France in 1226. After the council of Bourges Raymond VII of Toulouse was excommunicated; Louis took the cross on 30 January 1226 and marched down the Rhône valley at the head of a powerful army, accompanied by the papal legate Romain de Saint-Ange, and reached Avignon after encountering no resistance on the way. At the time of composition the King appears not yet to have arrived at the city walls (vv. 17-20). From 7 June the army was camping at Pont-de-Sorgue, to the north of Avignon. Negotiations had been taking place through various Avignon ambassadors sent to the King in Montélimar, Orange and Pont-de-Sorgue, and were only broken off after 7 or 8 June, so that it is only after that that the troubadours can speak of resistance, since before that the question was simply under what conditions Avignon would allow the royal army to enter the city. Frank concludes that a dating of 8 June 1226 for the song is not far from the truth. For possible objections, which might extend the time-frame to between 26 May and the beginning of September, and his response, see pp. 64-65; «En tout état de cause, il nous semble plus probable que le sirventès soit adressé aux assiégés, donc composé à Avignon même, par conséquent le 8 juin». – Avignon was never to receive the ric socors so hoped for in the refrain to each stanza of the sirventes. «Il a toujours été, avec Toulouse, l’une des deux tours maîtresses de la résistance méridional. Sa défaite sera suivie, en 1229, par celle de Toulouse et, par là, la Croisade albigeoise aura pris fin» (Frank, p. 67). – Line 2, [es]demessa: the suppletion is Frank’s. He translates «Je ferai un effort pour chanter», but in his note 4-5 (p. 83) suggests there is a parallel between 4-5 and 1-2 which should then be understood as «De mon chant je ferai une attaque, une invective». PD endemesa, es- ‘élan, bond’, endemetre, v. réfl. ‘se précipiter, s’attaquer’. – Lines 25-28: the sirventes sent to the Aragonese and Catalans is likely to be BdT 231.1a, no. I in Frank’s edition (p. 70, translation p. 50; for the attribution see pp. 48-50). The «young king», James I of Aragon, aged 18, was a Catholic brought up by the Templars and had no interest in the Occitan cause. – Line 33: Frederick II was the suzerain of Arles; his interests were affected to the extent that Louis, his generals and the legate in turn felt obliged to explain themselves to him over their dealings with Avignon. Frank (p. 66) states that his suzerainty had long been simply a question of form and the fall of Avignon obliterated all basis for it once and for all. The troubadours addressed him as a possible ally against the King of France, but were disappointed. – Line 38: on hearing news of the crusade, Henry III of England planned an attack on Louis VIII in revenge for his defeat at La Rochelle in 1225, but this was prevented by the papal interdiction on bearing arms against a crusader (Frank, p. 66). – Line 45: the «false absolved fools» are no doubt the crusaders, absolved of their sins before a crusade. – Line 46: Argence, in other words the region of Beaucaire, was the subject of negotiations between the Avignon ambassadors and the King of France: when he was passing through Montélimar it was offered to him in exchange for discharging the debt owed by Raymond VII. Frank (p. 67) suggests that this confirms the hypothesis that the breakdown of negotiations was the consequence of a trick on the crusaders’ part, or rather a misunderstanding that the Avignonnais understood as such. Tomier and Palaizi seem to be saying to the crusaders, «Since you have tricked us you won’t see Argence that we were ready to cede to you». – Line 52: for the medieval designation of both the Father and Son by Dieu, see Frank’s note on p. 84. – Line 53: Frank: «Allusion aux quarante jours de jeûne et à la triple tentation du Christ au désert (Matt. IV, 1-11, Marc I, 12-13, Luc IV, 1-13)?». It is indeed puzzling to see how Jesus being in the tomb is supposed to follow directly upon these events. – Line 57: the cardinal is Romain de Saint-Ange who is accompanying Louis and taking an active part in negotiations (Frank, p. 67).