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Shepard,William P.. Two Provençal Tenzoni. "Modern Philology", 23.1 (1925), pp. 17-28

010,003=016,003- Aimeric de Peguillan



The two following tenzos have never been critically edited, with consideration of all the manuscripts. They are, however, not unknown to scholars, having been cited by authors of studies of this verse-form (1) and by those interested in the Italian relations of the troubadours. (2) They are, moreover, intrinsically interesting, though not of great literary merit.

Tenzone I (really a partimen) discusses one of the usual subtleties of the code of chivalric love. Should a lover, attracted by two ladies, court the one who will grant him favors, but for whom his own feeling is not so strong as that which he entertains for the other lady, who scorns him? Albert of Sisteron thinks that he should stick to the lady whom he really loves, while Aimeric of Péguilhan, who proposes the dilemma, defends the thesis that a man should take what comes to him.

These tenzoni were probably composed in Italy at the court of some prince where the troubadours were residing, that of the Este or the Malaspina, with both of whom Aimeric of Péguilhan (3) was in close relationship. The two tornadas of I enable us to fix approximatively the date of this piece. Beatrice of Este, chosen as judge of the debate by Aimeric, took the veil some time in the years 1218-20. (4) As a cloistered nun would hardly be called to decide a frivolous question of this sort, it is likely that the tenzone was written before 1218, but after Aimeric’s arrival in Italy. The date of the latter event is still uncertain. His earliest poem in which he alludes to Italian affairs is probably the planh (5) for the death of Azzo VI of Este, father of Beatrice. Azzo died in 1212. As, however, the name of Emilia of Ravenna, the judge chosen by Albert of Sisteron, does not appear before 1212, it seems to me most likely that this tenzone was composed in the period 1214-18.



These six manuscripts divide naturally into two groups, DIKa and EG, as is shown by the verses 7, 12, 16, 21, 38. In the first group, DIK seem quite closely related (as is usually the case); a is more independent and once (vs. 38) appears to be contaminated by the other family, although the change is of such nature as may well have suggest itself independently to the copyist of a (or of a’s original). I have adopted IK as base, modifying their readings only when D shows agreement with the other group.


The metrical schema of this poem is as follows:

8a 8b 8b 8a 8c 8c 10d 10d

The poem consists of six coblas unissonans of eight verses each, with two tornadas of four verses.

This schema (Maus, No. 535 (6)) is very common in Provençal. The oldest example of this stanza is probably No. 9 of Pons de Capdueil (ed. Napolski, p. 61), “Miels qu’om no pot dir ni pensar.” This piece is not indicated in Maus’s enumeration.


Orthography of I. (7)



1) For instance, Selbach, Das Streitgedicht in der altprov. Lyrik, pp. 70, 74; Zenker, Die prov. Tenzone, pp. 15, 52; Knoblauch, Die Streitgedichte im Prov. und im Altfranz., p. 41.

2) See especially Zingarelli, Intorno a due trovatori in Italia, pp. 48-49; Torraca, Le donne italiane nella poesia provenzale, p. 17.

3) On the relations of Aimeric of Péguilhan to these Italian courts, see De Bartholomaeis, Studi romanzi, VII, 319-42. As to Albert’s sojourn in Italy, see Schultz, “Die Lebensverhältnisse der ital. Trobadors,” ZFRP, VII, 215.

4) See Bergert, Die von den Trobadors genannten oder gefeierten Damen, p. 82; Zingarelll, op. cit., pp. 27-49; Bertoni, Rambertino Buvalelli, pp. 6-7.

5) “S’eu anc chantei alegres ni jauzens,” Bartsch, Grundriss, 10, 48.

6) In his list of strophic forms given as appendix to his Peire Cardenals Strophenbau in seinem Verhāltnis zu den anderen Trobadors.

7) I omit most of the merely orthographical variants In I.






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