English translation [LP]
I. Just as the rickety water-mill turns
[badly] when too much water blocks its movement, an over-abundance of subjects
cools my ardour, for I can hardly see anything that pleases me, and my song is
not cheerful in the way it used to be: so everyone can learn what I have to
Italian translation [lb]
I. Proprio come il fragile mulino gira
[male] quando troppa acqua lo intasa, una sovrabbondanza di argomenti raffredda
il mio ardore, così che faccio fatica a vedere qualcosa che mi piaccia, e la mia
canzone non è allegra come soleva essere: così tutti possono sapere ciò di cui
Text: Frank 1957 (punctuation modified in v. 2). – Rialto 23.x.2014.
Mss.: Da 193v (Tomers enpalaisins), I 191r (Tomers en palazis), K 176v (Tomiers enpalazis).
Critical editions: Alfred Jeanroy, «Un sirventes en faveur de Raimon VII (1216)», in Bausteine zur romanische Phililogie. Festgabe für A. Mussafia, Halle 1905, pp. 629-640 (p. 629); Istvan Frank, «Tomier e Palaizi, troubadours tarasconais (1199-1226)», Romania, 78, 1957, pp. 46-85, II, p. 72 (although in Frank’s posthumous publication, p. 57, n. 5, it is stated that his translation is given «d’après celle de M. Jeanroy», the two translations are not the same).
Other editions: François-Juste-Marie Raynouard, Choix des poésies originales des troubadours, 6 voll., Paris 1816-1821, vol. V, p. 275; Carl August Friedrich Mahn, Die Werke der Troubadours, in provenzalischer Sprache, 4 voll., Berlin 1846-1886, vol. III, p. 342.
Versification: a7’ a7’ a7’ a7; a7’ b5’ b13’ (Frank 20:2), a = -eja,- ire, -enda, -essa, -eza, -onha, -auza, b = ia; 7 coblas singulars. The metrical shape is similar to that of BdT 335.45 (Peire Cardenal; Frank 19:4) except that instead of the long 13-syllable line at the end of Tomier and Palaizi’s piece it has two lines, 7’ and 5’. John H. Marshall, «Imitation of Metrical Form in Peire Cardenal», Romance Philology, 32, 1978-1979, pp. 18-48, pp. 39-40 argues that Cardenal’s piece was a sophistication of the form used by Tomier and Palaizi.
Notes: For discussion of the unique poetic collaboration of the two troubadours, see Frank, p. 47. – Jeanroy (pp. 633-635) agrees with Maus (Friedrich W. Maus, Peire Cardenals Strophenbau in seinem Verhältnis zu dem anderer Trobadors, Marburg 1884, p. 91) that the sirventes must date from after the sentence pronounced at the Lateran Council on 14 December 1215 on Raimon VI of Toulouse, which deprived him definitively of his lands and provisionally sequestered those of the count of Foix (see vv. 12-21), and before the death of Guillem of Baux (June 1218, see v. 36). But he narrows these dates down to between March and June 1216, arguing that the allusions to Avignon undoubtedly evoke the enthusiastic reception of Raimon VI and his young son on their return from Rome – «il faut lire dans la Chanson de la Croisade l’émouvant récit de cette journée, qui pourrait bien avoir inspiré les vers de nos poètes» –, and that the sombre tone of the piece must predate Raimon VII’s successful siege of Beaucaire, which would have led the two troubadours to compose a very different kind of song. – Frank’s posthumous publication states (p. 57, n. 5) that his interpretation and dating are quite different from Jeanroy’s, but no explicit objections are given to Jeanroy’s arguments. Claiming that the sirventes was composed during the second siege of Toulouse, he describes how Simon de Montfort, after his defeat at Beaucaire in August 1216, spent the rest of that and the following year quelling the resistance of various Languedoc strongholds, in particular Toulouse and the castle of Montgrenier belonging to Raimon-Roger of Foix, crossing the Rhône in July 1217, and undertaking a series of conquests where most of the lords he attacked, especially in the Valentinois, reluctantly submitted (pp. 56-60). He relates that on the news of the uprising of Toulouse where Raimon VI had re-installed himself, Simon crossed back over the Rhône and re-invested Toulouse on 1 October 1217, where he was to die on 25 June 1218, and maintains that the sirventes must have been composed between those two dates, and more particularly, at the beginning of June 1218: only Avignon was continuing to resist the crusaders, and it was from there that the young count left for Toulouse, bringing the longed-for reinforcements, some time before 3 June. – It is unclear why Frank ruled out an earlier date – perhaps he was persuaded by the uniqueness of Avignon’s support at the later time. In my view Jeanroy’s dating is more convincing, principally because of my concerns about their respective translations of vv. 10-14, neither of which is entirely satisfactory. Frank’s reads «Que chacun réflechisse en considérant (le sort de) Toulouse: là, le plus noble (prince du monde) subit des tourments pires que la mort. C’est donc clair à qui a du bons [sic] sens: il vaut mieux se battre que de conclure des pactes honteux». Jeanroy’s reads «Que chacun songe au sort de Toulouse et que cet exemple lui profite: on y voit le prince le plus noble du monde souffrir pis que la mort. Si l’on avait eu du bon sens, ne valait-il pas mieux continuer la guerre que faire une paix honteux?». – Firstly, avol plag is singular. While Frank’s synechdochal interpretation of this is not necessarily wrong, consideration should surely be given as to whether there is a reference here to a particular agreement. Secondly, it is hard to see how the second part of 14 can be understood as belonging to a hypothetical sentence. Although Jeanroy (p. 636, n. 13) explains avia as an imperfect for a conditional «ici conditionnel passé»), Henrichsen’s discussion of the construction «si + imparfait de l’indicatif . . . . temps du subjonctif» (Arne-Johan Henrichsen, Les Phrases hypothétiques en ancien occitan. Etude syntaxique, Bergen 1955, pp. 134-139) shows the imperfect indicative as always referring to something non-hypothetical. Rather than understand s’ (s’avol) as ‘if’, I take the word-division to be ques avol p. f., «for he made a base agreement». But in this case this cannot refer, as Frank thought (pp. 58-59), to the capitulation of various lords such as Guiraut Adémar, Adémar de Poitiers, count of the Valentinois, Dragonet de Montdragon and various Provençal lords, but must allude to the plus rics of 12. Thirdly, believing the plus rics to allude to Raimon VI of Toulouse (p. 57), Frank takes a pieitz d’ausire to refer to the «terrible torments» suffered by the count while he was besieged inside Toulouse, translating «le plus noble (prince du monde) subit des tourments pires que la mort», and glossing (p. 57) «le plus noble comte (assiégé dans sa capitale) souffre les plus cruelles tortures du monde»: an idea which could be thought rather exaggerated. Jeanroy also understands a pieitz d’ausire in this way. I return to this below. – The key circumstances for dating this piece are: the betrayal of count Raimon-Roger of Foix by the bishops; the outstanding support given to Toulouse by Avignon; the conduct of Guillem of Baux who is distancing himself from the Holy Roman Emperor and supporting the French; and a count of Toulouse concluding a base agreement instead of waging war. The situation which, it seems to me, best explains all these allusions is the one in which Raimon VI and his son found themselves immediately after the Lateran Council of 1215. – Jeanroy (p. 636, n. 12) states that «Le voisinage du mot Tolosa montre que “le plus noble” ici désigné ne peut évidemment se rapporter qu’à l’acte du mois d’avril 1214 (ou peut-être 1215, suivant M. P. Meyer, Chanson II, p. 194 n. 1) dans lequel Raimon VI remettait aux mains d’Innocent III sa personne, celle de son fils, tous ses biens, et s’engageait à résider dans le lieu qui lui serait désigné jusqu’à ce qu’il pût aller implorer son pardon à Rome même (acte publié par D. Bouqet, XIX, 210, n. a)». Perhaps this is right, but can it really be said that Raimon VI made a base agreement? Did he have any choice? The option of accepting an arrangement or waging war would seem to be more relevant to the arrangement ordered by the pope whereby the young count Raimon VII would have the Venaissin, the Argence and Beaucaire, if he could reconquer it, while Simon de Montfort would rule the rest of Raimon’s lands until the Church decided Raimon can have more (Chanson, 152.45-59). In either case, a pieitz d’ausire seems more likely to relate to the dreadful way in which the troubadours consider the count to have been treated at the Lateran Council, rather than to his supposed «torments» during a siege: an odd way to describe a military leader, however young. – One of the most eloquent defenders of Raimon VII’s interests at the Council was Raimon-Roger of Foix. Martin-Chabot (Chanson de la croisade contre les Albigeois, ed. Eugène Martin-Chabot, 3 voll., Paris 1931-1961, II, p. 47, n. 4) explains that «Raimon-Roger avait sujet de se plaindre de la violation des conventions passées entre le légat du Pape, le cardinal Pierre de Bénévent, et lui-même, le 18 avril 1214, à Narbonne (Layettes, t. I, no 1068). Ce jour-là, il avait fait sa soumission pleine et entière à l’Eglise et prêté serment de ne pas entraver la répression de l’hérésie; il avait obtenu l’absolution en échange de ce serment; en gage de sa fidélité à ses engagements, il avait remis alors son château de Foix entre les mains du cardinal, qui le ferait garder, au nom de l’Eglise, aux frais du comte. Or, en mai 1215, Simon de Montfort obtient du cardinal, qui allait repartir pour l’Italie, qu’il lui confiât la garde de Foix et fit occuper le château par des chevaliers croisiés français (Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay, chap. LXXII § 564)». In a bitter exchange reported by the Chanson, Raimon-Roger complains of this betrayal of trust. The bishop of Toulouse, the troubadour Folquet de Marselha, makes an aggressive reply, and is roundly accused of treachery by Raimon-Roger who depicts him as more like Antichrist than a delegate of Rome (Chanson, 144-145). Frank (p. 59) explains the allusion to the count of Foix in broader terms: Raimon-Roger had tried to come to terms with the crusaders on several occasions, in particular on 15 August 1209 at the surrender of Carcassonne when he placed himself as a hostage in the crusaders’ hands so that the population could leave freely and the city itself be spared, but this last condition was not respected; later he handed his castle of Preixan over to Simon de Montfort, along with his young son Aimeric as a hostage; but he took up arms again against the crusade, especially at the siege of Castelnaudary in 1211, and had to share the fate of the defeated at the Lateran Council of 1215. However, while taken on its own, stanza III of our piece cannot necessarily be tied to the particular events of 1215, the evidence of the Chanson suggests that the count’s accusations there had spectacular impact. – After Raimon VII’s audience with the pope at the end of the Lateran Council, the Chanson describes how he made his way to Provence and was received with huge enthusiasm in Avignon (II, 154. 29 ff.). As Jeanroy argued, this marks a moment when it was entirely fitting to sing the city’s praises for its wholehearted support in men and money for their acknowledged lord’s cause. It is not necessary to link this praise to Avignon’s rôle as Raimon’s unique support three years later. – The Chanson relates that from Avignon the young count headed to Orange where he made a treaty with Guillem of Baux, then entered the Venaissin to receive and garrison various castles (Chanson, 154. 55 ff.). Guillem had been granted the title of King of Arles and Vienne by the emperor Frederick II in a charter of 8 January 1215, and he had seized the Provençal lands of the count of Toulouse, which the pope ordered him to release on 4 February 1215 (Martin-Chabot, vol. II, p. 99, n. 4). Immediately after Guillem had made his treaty with Raimon, the clergy and the bishops showed their hostility to the count, and the lord of Baux, Guillem’s brother Uc, lord of the town of Les Baux 1173-1240, waged war on him, along with others including Orange and Courthézon which belonged to Guillem (Chanson, 154. 62-69). Frank (p. 60, n. 2) mentions that it is the dates drawn from the allusion to Guillem of Baux that led Maus to place the sirventes between 1215 and 1218, but because he is focussing on a later date he suggests that by Guillem’s sympathy for the French at that time he is exposing himself to the same ridicule as that which followed, three years previously, his title of «King of Arles & Vienne». In fact it makes much better sense to see stanza VI as alluding contemporaneously to these circumstances, rather than recalling them three years later. – In short, the linguistic evidence, together with the explanation of the four key references to historical events, all point to a date of composition of the spring of 1216, after Guillem of Baux’s change of allegeance. – Line 2: Jeanroy (p. 635) takes desespleia (unattested in the dictionaries) to mean the opposite of esplejar ‘mettre en action, en mouvement’, in other words ‘arrêter, entraver le mouvement’. Frank (p. 81) argues similarly, concluding it probably means ‘faire échouer, gêner’, but his translation confusingly gives the opposite, «le met (brusquement) en mouvement». – Line 12: I have doubts about the syntax of qu’i·l: as Frank I have translated i as ‘there’, but this does not seem very likely (I would have expected lai or la). I wonder whether one should understand qui as a possessive cui, «whose greatest nobleman», though I have not found a precisely analogous example, and as cui almost always refers to persons, Toulouse might need to be thought of as a personification of the city. (Alternatively one might think of a scribal error for quel in the common source, but it is hard to see how or why the error would have occurred.) – Line 14: I correct the word-division to ques avol: see the general note above. – Line 19: for the syntax here, with m’ as ethic dative, see Frank’s note on p. 82. – Lines 19-20: on 15 August 1209 when Carcassonne surrendered to the crusaders Raimon-Roger of Foix had given himself up as hostage so that the population and the city itself could be spared. Although this condition was agreed by the legate it was not respected. Later he attempted to come to an accord with Simon de Montfort by handing over his castle of Preixan along with his young son Aimeric as hostage. After taking up arms again against the crusade, in particular at the siege of Castelnaudary in 1211, he had to suffer the fate of the losers at the Lateran Council of 1215. Finally, his castle of Montgrenier was besieged from 6 February to 24 March 1217. Despite his complaints to the papal officers who tried to win Simon over and despite his repeated solemn acts of faith, the latter persisted in the siege and only abandoned it when the garrison was totally exhausted and the castle surrendered (Frank, p. 59). – Line 22: I have taken mais as a superlative, since there is no obvious comparator for Avignon (Frank «Elle vaut bien plus»): compare Frede Jensen, Syntaxe de l’ancien occitan, Tübingen 1994, § 96, though this offers no exact analogy. – Lines 22-23: probably a play on the geographical place-name, alluding also to the Comtat-Venaissin of which Avignon is said to be the «countess» (Frank, p. 82). – Line 25: following Jeanroy, Frank (p. 82) sees Alguessa as another case of word-play, based on the land of the Algais brothers, in other words Spain, where Raymond VI only succeeded in recruiting mercenaries whose contribution to the efforts of southern resistance was of doubtful value. The Algais brothers served the resistance and the crusading army in turn. Jeanroy (p. 637) plausibly suggests that the parens abandoning the Toulousain counts must be John Lackland, Frederick II and perhaps the young James of Aragon. – Line 28: Frank (p. 82) sees these as further play on place names, Portegal being equivalent to port egal «indifferent», and Lombardy typically associated with trade. – Lines 36-42: Guillem of Baux opposed the counts of Toulouse from the start of the Albigensian crusade. The two troubadours remind him of his duty towards Frederick II, the ruler of the «kingdom beyond Cologne» whose suzerainty over the kingdom of Arles should make him the French king’s enemy. Frederick had conferred on Guillem the title of «King of Arles and Vienne» but this remained void: its legal basis was challenged by the decision of the Lateran Council which reserved it for Raimon VII of Toulouse, whose campaign then successfully removed it from his authority (Jeanroy, pp. 634-635). Frank comments that as Tomier and Palaizi were probably in Avignon at the moment of composing this sirventes, these lines constitute a reflection of the animosity of the people of Avignon against Guillem whom they lynched a few weeks later (Frank, p. 60); but see the discussion of dating, above. – Line 40: Jeanroy inteprets torn as sunjunctive (torn en, «puisse-t-il ne lui en revenir que honte»), which is also possible. – Line 45: the «Frenchman» is Simon de Montfort. – Lines 48-49: in other words, because the French are concentrating on brigandage they have caused the Saracens to seize the paths etc., just as if they had seized them themselves.