Anonymous (Nompar de Caumont?)










e jauent,


vos comens


lai non par.


Qui chantar


non sap far


ben deit escoutar,


car a fin joi comence.


joies son; curteis chant


jen vai laschant


desore enant,


per bon samblant.










et bon sens


ist d’amar,


hoc, et car


fin trobar,


per qu’en dei jugar,


car ital captinence


tot li corteis dru fant.


Dosne valent,


a Dieu vos comant,


qu’eu vai loignant.








pres valens


et jovens


et donar


deit regnar


od les prous


per qu’endert presar.


Saber et abstinence


mi vai endoctrinant:


joi mi rent blanc


tal com eu demant,


tout sans engant.






He! dosne fine,


gens cors de regine,


la fusse od vos


ou mous cors desirre,


que d’al non consirre.


M’en vai delaitous


au saint vas glorious,


on Dex jut por nos.






Ahi! chiere grine,


maris, teste encline,


çai restai jalous:


son cor en griu tire


qui d’al non empire


car eu sui jauous;


molt en est pesançous


et s’en fai songeous.






Ahi, bec d’espine,


noirens fuma-vine!


Faus contralious,


tant mal vous consire:


lou cor vos arbire


que disas des prous,


car est tant envious


et tant anuious!






Mais Deu lau


que no·us au.


A la meillor


tant m’esjau


que me[n]tau


sa lauxor.


Per li vau


ver la nau


sanz paor.






Beltaz et prohece


et la grant richece


de mi dosn’en fai,


tant es ben aprese,


seignade et cortese,


que tot lament jai.


La terre urgalese,


la gent bersendese


sal Dex per li, lai.






Mar en ai


joi verai;


sans jauzir


ai grant desir.


Tot m’apai


qui·n retrai


ses bels dis


que vol ausir.


Pos Dieu plai,


ben s’eschai


qu’al suffrir


ai desservir.






Saint Martin bon pelegrin


pregon Dieu doint bon[a] fin,


et si me font la gent ris,


lousenje fore toz mis.


Or sui cil sanz Isengrin,


et gram come faus romin!






Or di folie


et vilenie,


com hom vilans;


de cor en ren,


car cil viages


et romasages


mi par salvages,


del flum Jordan,


maiz tot aurie,


se Dieu plaisie,


nomMi Eschai’:


non vol greg ren.


Sancta Marie,


tu rens m’amie,


et torne lai


ou ele estai,


pos del rivage


non vei message


ni alegrage,


ni joi non sen.


Al prin passage


cel douz voiage


verrai corage


fin et certan.






Tost çai non vai jen


a Deu os donen,


qui vous benedighe!


O Jherusalem,


com fort me tormen,


que·m toles m’amighe.


Rex de Belleem


qu’aorent creden,


nen tornas sans triche.








et unitas,




et salvator,


mos peccas


mi perdonas;


pos rendes


m’a la gençor,


et si plas,


si me tornas


a la tor


de Blanchaflor.






Rex et salvaire,


cest vostre peccaire


donas, s’il vous seit bel,


asi·ndoi lai bon lai[re]


per baisar, selaire,


dins son ric chastel,


od l’oufin del chadel,


sol’, e mon avinent,


curteis chant novel.








et jauzent,


vos defin


lai non par.


Meiller non


pot trobar


hom qui sap chantar,


qu’el est de tal valence


per que l’en vait presant.


Dosna valent,


vos en faz present


per bon talent.



English translation [LP]

Ia. With finesse and joy I begin for you a peerless lay. Whoever does not know how to compose a song should listen well, for it is with pure joy that a joyful melody begins. Gracefully I now unloose a courtly song, as a fine example.
Ib. Wise awareness and fine wit, and the troubadour’s precious, subtle art, spring from love, yes, so I ought to play [make songs?] with it, since this is the way of all courtly lovers. Noble lady, I commend you to God, for I am about to leave you.
Ic. Gracious, noble merit, youth and free-spending ought to hold sway among the excellent because they give rise to acclaim. I am inculcating wisdom and self-control / discipline / temperance into myself: joy makes me as pure as I ask, entirely without deceit.
IIa. Ah, noble lady, with your gracious, queenly figure, would that I were there with you where my heart desires, for I devote my thoughts to nothing else. Devoted to worldly delight I make my way to the glorious Holy Sepulchre where God lay for us.
IIb. Alas! – the grey-faced husband remains behind, his head bowed in jealousy: he drags himself around in vexation which only grows worse because I am fulfilled; he is deeply troubled about this and he becomes full of anxiety (?).
IIc. Ah, you spike-beak, you destructive vine-robber (?)!
False enemy, I wish you so much ill! Your heart thinks up for you what you should say about noble people, because it is so envious and so vexatious!
But I thank God for not listening to you. With the best lady I have so much joy that here I glorify her praise. On her account I go without fear to the ship.
IV. My lady’s beauty and excellence and great rank make all complaint vain, she is so cultured, well-educated and courtly. God save the land of Urgel over there, and the people of the land of Barcelona (?), on her account.
V. I have no true joy, alas; without pleasure I feel intense desire. I am quite assuaged when someone relates to me her lovely words that I like to hear. Since it pleases God, it is a good thing that I have compensation for the suffering.
VI. May St Martin’s good pilgrims pray God He grant a good end, and if they smile on me there [in the Holy Land], hospitality will be well (or soon, tost?) provided. Now I am that holy Isengrin (?) and long-faced like a false pilgrim!
VII. Now I am speaking foolishly and basely, like a lout; I readily grumble, for that journey and pilgrimage to the river Jordan seems brutal to me, but please God, I would never [wish to] have the name ‘It-Behooves-Me’: I do not want to be seasick. You, holy Mary, return my sweetheart to me, and I will go back to the place where she is, since I see no message coming from the shore where she dwells, nor feel any joy. At the first crossing of this sweet journey I shall see a heart pure and firm.
VIII. Here I am not quick to hand you over graciously to God - may He bless you! Oh Jerusalem, how bitterly you torment me, for you steal my lover from me! King of Bethlehem adored by the faithful, bring me back to her without delay.
IX. Trinity and Unity, Redeemer and Saviour, forgive me my sins; then take me back to the most gracious one and hence, if it please [you], return me to the tower of Blanchaflor.
X. King and Saviour, grant to this your sinner, if this is acceptable to you, that I, a good thief, may introduce there, secretly, in order to kiss [or by moving obliquely?], within [or: into?] her rich castle, through the alphin (the bishop of the chessboard) of the keep, my pleasing, courtly new song alone.
XI. Subtly and joyfully I conclude for you a peerless lay. No man who knows how to sing can compose a better one (also Better is not to be found by a man who can sing), for it is of such worth that people are esteeming it highly. Worthy lady, I offer it to you with all my heart.


Italian translation [lb]

Ia. Con eleganza e gioia comincio un lai senza pari. Chi non sa come comporre una canzone dovrebbe ascoltare bene, perché è con pura gioia che comincia una melodia gioiosa. Con grazia ora sciolgo una canzone cortese, come buon esempio.
Ib. La saggezza avveduta e il fine ingegno sgorgano dall’amore, così come la preziosa, sottile arte del trovare, sì, per cui devo giocare [comporre canzoni?] con essa, dal momento che questo è il costume di tutti gli amanti cortesi. Nobile signora, vi affido a Dio, perché io sto per lasciarvi.
Ic. Il gentile e nobile merito, la gioventù e la liberalità dovrebbero predominare tra gli illustri, perché suscitano il plauso. Mi sto educando alla saggezza e all’autocontrollo / disciplina / temperanza: la gioia mi rende puro come desidero, completamente privo d’inganno.
IIa. Ah, nobile signora, dalla gentile figura regale, vorrei essere lì con voi dove il mio cuore tende, perché non penso ad altro. Dedito ai piaceri mondani me ne vado al glorioso Santo Sepolcro dove Dio giacque per noi.
IIb. Ahimè! il marito grigio in volto rimane qui, la testa china, geloso: egli si trascina intorno con una stizza che non fa che aumentare perché io sono appagato; egli ne è profondamente turbato e diventa pieno di ansia (?).
IIc. Ah, becco-aguzzo, malefico devasta-vigne (?)! Nemico menzognero, ti auguro ogni male! Il tuo cuore ti suggerisce cosa dire delle persone nobili, perché è tanto invidioso e tanto molesto!
III. Ma ringrazio Dio perché non ti ascolta. Con la migliore delle dame ho così tanta gioia che qui celebro la sua lode. Grazie a lei vado senza paura alla nave.
IV. La bellezza e l’eccellenza e l’alto rango della mia signora rendono vana ogni lagnanza, tanto è colta, ben educata e cortese. Dio salvi la terra di Urgel laggiù, e la gente della terra di Barcellona (?), a causa sua.
V. Non ho gioia vera, ahimè; senza piacere ho (solo) un intenso desiderio. Sono molto appagato quando qualcuno mi riferisce le sue belle parole che mi piace sentire. Poiché piace a Dio, è una buona cosa avere un risarcimento per la sofferenza.
VI. I buoni pellegrini di san Martino pregano affinché Dio [ci] conceda un buon esito, e se mi sorridono laggiù [in Terra Santa], l’ospitalità sarà ben (o presto, tost?) garantita. Ora sono quel sant’Isengrino (?) dal volto triste come un falso pellegrino!
VII. Ora sto parlando scioccamente e in modo ignobile, come un villano; mi lamento spesso, perché quel viaggio e pellegrinaggio al fiume Giordano mi sembra crudele. Ma, a Dio piacendo, non vorrei essere chiamato “È-mio-dovere”: non voglio avere il mal di mare. Tu, Maria santissima, rendimi la mia amata, e io tornerò là dove si trova, poiché non vedo arrivare alcun messaggio dalla riva dove dimora, e non provo alcuna gioia. Alla prima traversata di questo dolce viaggio vedrò un cuore puro e saldo.
VIII. Qui io non sono pronto a consegnarvi gentilmente a Dio – che Egli vi benedica! O Gerusalemme, come mi tormenti duramente, togliendomi la mia amata! Re di Betlemme adorato dai fedeli, riportami (indietro) da lei senza indugio.
IX. Trinità e Unità, Redentore e Salvatore, perdonatemi i miei peccati; poi rendetemi alla più gentile e perciò, se [vi] piace, riportatemi alla torre di Biancifiore.
X. Re e Salvatore, concedete al vostro peccatore, se questo è accettabile per voi, che io, (come) un buon ladro, possa introdurre laggiù, di nascosto, per rubare un bacio [o muovendomi di traverso] nel suo ricco castello, tramite l’Alphin (l’alfiere nel gioco degli scacchi) del mastio, da solo, la mia gradevole e cortese nuova canzone.
XI. Con eleganza e gioia concludo per voi il lai senza pari. Nessuno che sappia cantare può comporne uno migliore (o anche uno migliore non può essere trovato da chi sappia cantare), perché è di tale valore che è sempre più apprezzato. Nobile signora, lo offro a voi con tutto il cuore.




Text: Paterson 2014. – Rialto, 22.i.2015.

Mss.: W (= French M) 213v (Nompar), d (= French T) 74r-75v (Li lais nompar).

Critical editions: Karl Bartsch, «Zwei provenzalische Lais», Zeitschrift für romanische philologie, 1, 1877, pp. 58-78, on p. 66; Dominique Billy, Deux Lais en langue mixte: le lai Markiol et le lai Nompar, Tübingen 1995, p. 78; Paolo Canettieri, «Guillem de la Tor, En vos ai mesa (BdT 236.3a); An., Finamen<s> (BdT 461.122)», Lecturae tropatorum, 7, 2014; Linda Paterson, Anonymous (Nompar de Caumont?), Finament (BdT 461.122), Lecturae tropatorum, 7, 2014 (a few modifications have been made to the present edition in the light of Canettieri 2014: see the translation and notes to vv. 55-62 and the note to vv. 105-120).

Other editions: Ismael Fernández de la Cuesta and Robert Lafont, Las cançons dels trobadors, Toulouse 1979, p. 760 (text Lafont, Mod. Occ. version based on Bartsch; unreliable German, English, Castilian and French translations).

Versification: Ia = a3 a3 a3 b3 b3 b3 b5 c6’ d6 d4 d5 d4, -ent/-ens, -ar, -ence, -ant; Ib = a3 a3 a3 b3 b3 b3 b5 c6’ d6 d4 d5 d4, -ens, -ar, -ence, -ant; Ic = a3 a3 a3 b3 b3 x3 b5 c6’ d6 d4 d5 d4, ens, -ar/-ous, -ence, -ant/-anc; IIa = a4’ a5’ b5 c5’ c5’ b5 b6 b5, -ine, -os/-ous, -ire; IIb = a4’ a5’ b5 c5’ c5’ b5 b6 b5, -ine, -ous,- ire; IIc = a4’ a5’ b5 c5’ c5’ b5 b6 b5, -ine, -ous,- ire; III = a3 a3 b4(*) a3 a3 b3 a3 a3 b3, -au, -or; IV= a5’ a5’ b5 a5’ a5’ b5 a5’ a5’ b5, -ece/-ese, -ai; V = a3 a3 b3 b4 a3 a3 c3 b4 a3 a3 b3 b4, -ai,-ir, -is; VI = a7 a7 b7 b7 a7 a7, -in, -is; VII = a4’ a4’ b4 c4 / d4’ d4’ d4’ b4 / a4’ a4’ e4 c4 / a4’ a4’ e4 e4 / d4’ d4’ d4’ c4 / d4’ d4’ d4’ b4, -ie, -an(s), -en/-an, -age(s), -ai; VIII = a5 a5 b5’ / a5 a5 b5’ / a5 a5 b5’, -en/m, -ighe/iche; IX = a3 a4 b3 b4 / a3 a4 c3(**) b4 / a3 a4 b3 b4, -as, -or, -es; X = a4’ a5’ b6 a6’ c5’ b5 b6 b6 b5, -aire, -el, -ent; XI = a3 a3 b3 c3 d3 c3 c5 e6’ a6 a4 a5 a4, -ent/-ant, -ar, -on, -ence.

(*) In vv. 62-63 W’s melody, unlike that of d, elides au / a, effectively making 63 trisyllabic in line with all other lines of this stanza.

(**) As Billy observes, rendas would be possible here, making this a «b» rhyme.

Music: Friedrich Gennrich, Der musikalische Nachlass der Troubadours, 3 voll., Darmstadt 1958-60 and Langen bei Frankfurt 1965, vol. I, p. 255, no. 281 (on W, modernised and adapted); La Cuesta, Las cançons, p. 749, diplomatic edition; Billy p. 65.

Notes: The text almost certainly dates from before the end of the 13th c. It is generally accepted that the source of the Occitan section of one of the two manuscripts in which it has been preserved, French ms. W, was a collection of Occitan poems probably made in Lorraine in c. 1250 and copied from an Occitan ms. of the second quarter of the 13th c., though the lai Nompar falls outside of the Occitan section. The other manuscript, d, dates from the late 13th c. The absence of allusions to the liberation of the holy places or the loss of Jerusalem and the holy cross suggests a date far removed from any immediate pressure for a new crusading expedition, even if this does not mean that there were no such expeditions or calls for them. In support of, or at least compatible with, this rough dating, is the relationship with a descort by Guillem de la Tor composed before 1225 (see Paolo Canettieri, «Descortz es dictatz mot divers.» Ricerche su un genere lirico romanzo del XIII secolo, Rome 1995, pp. 267-268 and Antonella Negri, Le liriche del trovatore Guilhem de la Tor, Soveria Manelli 2006, pp. 11 and 113). – The name Nompar has been used from the Middle Ages to this day by the older branch of the aristocratic family of Caumont La Force; three men of that name appear to have lived during the course of the 13th c., and since the name is so unusual outside the Caumont family it seems reasonable to suggest that the song is associated with one of these Nompars. The rubric Nompar of ms. W, simply giving the name, tends to suggest that the scribe considered Nompar as the author. Ms. d’s rubric might, alternatively, mean that the lai is the story of Nompar, though the text is not a narrative so this seems less likely. For further details see Paterson 2014 in Lecturae tropatorum. – Line 4: this line can be construed as ‘Nonpar or Nompar’s lai’ as well as indicating the poet’s claim that his song is «matchless» because it has no equal; he is is perhaps also introducing its variable versification and rhyming. – Line 42: the word delaitous appears to encapsulate the central conflict of the piece, namely the tug between the divine call of the crusade and the intense longing for the beloved lady. Occitan delech and delechamen can mean both ‘pleasure’ (< deligere, FEW, III, 34, «auswählen») and ‘sin’ (< delictum, FEW, III, 34, «vergehen») (compare FEW «Apr delech» and TL, II, 1333 delit). For further details see Paterson 2014, p. 23 in Lecturae tropatorum. My translation ‘Devoted to worldly delight’ attempts to convey this ambiguity. – Line 45: the cry of lament is because the husband, whatever his jealousy, still remains with the lady. – Lines 53-60: the poet is probably referring to the lausengier, typically associated with sharp beaks. It is tempting to suspect a connection with the little foxes that spoil the vines (of love) in Cantica canticorum, II:15 Capite nobis vulpes parvulas quae demoliunter vineas; nam viens nostra floruit. For further details of these problematic lines see Paterson 2014 in Lecturae tropatorum. However, I now take lou cor as the subject of est in v. 59. – Line 76: Bartsch (p. 73) saw this reference to the land of Urgel as proof of the Catalan origins of the poet. – Line 77: for gent bersendese as a possible reference to the people of Barcelona, see the notes to this line in the editions of Billy and Paterson 2014 in Lecturae tropatorum. – Lines 91-96: this stanza is highly problematic. Billy heavily emends at the rhyme, changing the united readings of the two mss. in 92 (fin to feus), 93 (rin to ris), 94 (mis to meus), and 96 (romin to romeus): see his long note on pp. 87-88 and further remarks on p. 116. He translates «Que les bons pèlerins de Saint Martin prient Dieu qu’il [me] donnent un bon fief, et si les gens me sourient, ma joie sera toute louange. Alors que je suis ici, seul, très affligé, et morne comme un pèlerin sans foi». For the present edition see the long note to these lines in Paterson 2014 in Lecturae tropatorum. – Lines 105-120: because of the difficulties of this stanza Billy, following Bartsch (see p. 89) changed the line order, placing the original vv. 117-120 before the original v. 110. He translates «Mais j’aurais tout, s’il plaît à Dieu [105-106]. Ne venez pas ici: je n’aurais plus de volonté [107-108]. A la première traversée de cette douce expédition, je reprendrai fermement courage [117-120]. Sainte Marie, tu rends mon amie, et je retourne là où elle demeure [109-112], puisque du rivage où je ne vois ni message ni allégresse, je ne jouis pas, je ne guéris pas» [113-116]. The change of line order might seem to explain «Mais j’aurais tout» if it follows on from a «douce expédition» provided that we suppose the latter to be a journey to see the lady and «having everything» to mean to have all her love. But given that the troubadour has just complained about the cruelty of the journey to the Holy Land, how can it suddenly be regarded as «sweet»? In my Lt edition I decided with some hesitation to respect the manuscripts’ line order, even though it violates the rhyme scheme in which the second half of each of the three eight-line sections has the pattern dddb. Cannettieri follows the line order proposed by Bartsch and Billy and suggests a plausible solution to the problem of sense by placing most of stanza VII in direct speech: see his edition in Lecturae tropatorum 7, 2014, p. 26 (Or di folie et vilenie, / com hom vilans: «de cor <me> ren, / car cil viages et romansages / mi par salvages, del flum Jordan. / Sancta Marie, tu rens m’amie, / et torne lai ou ele estai. / Pos del rivage ou non vei message / ni alegrage n<i> joi non sen, / maiz tot aurie, se Dieu plaisie / non vines chai, non volgre ren: / al prin passage cel douz voiage / verrai corage fin et certan». – Lines 105-108: these lines are particularly impenentrable. With much hesitation I have interpreted v. 107 as introducing a type of senhal or pseudonym: see the note in my edition in Lecturae tropatorum. – Line 141: as Billy notes, the poet is evoking the romance of Floire et Blancheflor, where Floire is separated from his childhood sweetheart and locked up in a tower in Babylon, where he finally manages to find her. – Lines 145-150: for the conjectural emendations here see the note to these lines in Paterson 2014 in Lecturae tropatorum, who suggests that as a «good thief» (bon laire, an emendation) the speaker will be like a thief taking a secret communication into the lady’s castle, but also be like the good thief crucified but forgiven alongside Christ. – Line 148: the word oufin is a recognisable form of alfin, the chess piece now known as the bishop, and understood in the Middle ages as bishop, count, judge or counsellor (see Richard Eales, Chess. The history of a game, London 1985, p. 45). The alphinus and the queen were less powerful than they are in the modern game: the alphinus moved and captured along the diagonal, but its movement was a rigid jump of three squares including the one landed on. The queen also moved and captured on the diagonal alone, moving only one square, so was the weakest of the major pieces, the most powerful being the rook, which could move and capture as the modern piece but could not castle with the king. The alfin is nevertheless a powerful piece The poet here is saying he would like to be introducing his song into the lady’s castle by means of the alfin: in other words, through a chess manoeuvre.

[LP, lb]

BdT    Anonymous

Songs referring to the crusades