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Shepard, William Pierce. Two Derivitive Songs by Aimeric de Peguilhan. "Speculum",2.3 (1927), pp. 296-309

010,047- Aimeric de Peguillan



The two following songs, never before edited, are good examples of that affected and often absurd figure called by the Latin rhetoricians adnominatio and by the mediaeval prosodists of Old Provençal rims dirivitius. The writers and theorists of the Middle Ages obtained their definition and examples of this figure from the Rhetorica ad Herennium, which defines it as follows: Adnominatio est, cum ad idem verbum acceditur cum mutatione unius aut plurium litterarum, ut ad res dissimiles similia verba adcommodentur. (1) This rhetorical figure is recognized and defined by most of the mediaeval writers on grammar and prosody, (2) and is used by many of the poets in Latin and in the vulgar tongues. In Provençal it was employed mainly as a variety of rime. Molinier and the other pedants who in the fourteenth century compiled the Leys d’Amors define the rim dirivitiu thus: Si la us (rims) se desshen del autre per mermamen o per ajustamen d’una letra o d’una sillaba o de motas sillabas, adonx son dig rim dirivitiu. (3) The source of this definition is at once apparent: it comes straight from the Rhetorica ad Herennium. The rim dirivitiu of the troubadours is the adnominatio of the rhetoricians.It is frequently called ‘grammatical rime’ by modern prosodists.

This affectation is not very commonly used by the troubadours, (4) many of the better poets avoiding it entirely; but examples are to be found in all the periods of Provençal song. (5) From Provence it spread to the North, where it was used, infrequently, by lyric and narrative poets in French. (6) The same trick of rime is also found in early Italian poets. (7)

The method of rims dirivitius followed by Aimeric de Péguilhan in these songs differs in each case. In II, however, Aimeric arranges his rimes in pairs, alternating the masculine and feminine endings of the same stem. The latter is the more usual form of rim dirivitiu in Provençal, and the only one recognized by the Leys d’Amors.

The poetical value of such tours de force is of course slight. Nevertheless, we cannot deny that in both songs Aimeric displays a certain mental nimbleness, which however often disappears in the translation. It is impossible, in English prose, to juggle with etymological jingles as the troubadour does in Provençal verse. He never quite attains absolute nonsense; and the second song especially is not unpleasing to the ear. Probably that is all that can be expected of such verbal acrobatics.


No. II: Bartsch, Grundriss, 10, 47.

Of these MSS, CR form a group by themselves, as the variants of verses 15, 24, 43, show. PUc agree with CR, as against ADIKQ, in verse 9. In the latter group, AD go together, in opposition to IKQ, as in verse 18.

These variants permit a loose classification as follows:



Metrical Schema: 10 a b a b a b b a

I have preferred to print these verses as decasyllables, with interior rime, rather than as alternate four- and six-syllables, though I recognize that the latter arrangement is possible. The majority of the MSS favor the former arrangement.

The poem consists of fivecoblas singulars of eight ten-syllabled verses, with interior rime at the fourth syllable of each verse, and of a tornada of four verses.

Maus, loc. cit., No. 249, cites no other example of this rime-arrangement in decasyllables.


I have adopted A as base, using the orthography of C.



1) M. Tullii Ciceronis, Opera, ed. Baiter and Kayser, Leipzig, 1860, I, 74.

2) See E. Faral, Les Arts Poétiques du XIIe et du XIIIe Siècles (Paris: Champion, 1924), pp. 93-97; and also M. B. Ogle, “Some Aspects of Mediaeval Latin Style,” SPECULUM, I (1926), 170-189.

3) Las Leys d’Amors, ed. A. F. Gatien-Arnoult, Monumens de la Litt. Romane, I (Toulouse, 1841), 186-189, 274-278; ed. J. Anglade (Toulouse, 1919-20), 11, 112-114, 140.

4) Cf. especially F. Diez, Die Poesie der Troubadours (2d ed., Leipzig, 1883), pp. 86­­-88; A. Jeanroy, “Etudes sur l’Ancienne Poésie Provençale,” Neuphilol. Mitteilungen, XXVII (1926), 157.

5) For a good example of a song entirely composed in rims dirivitius, see the one beginning Al prim pres dels breus iorns braus, by Aimeric de Belenoi, No. 30, printed by C. Appel, Provenzal. Chrestom. (4th ed., Leipzig: Reisland, 1912), pp. 71, 72.

6) See the examples cited by A. Tobler, Von Franz. Versbau, (5th ed., Leipzig, 1910), pp. 111 ff. A good example, quite similar in structure to Aimeric’s first song, is the Dis de la Pomme by Baudouin de Condé in A. Scheler, Dits et Contes de Baudouin de Condé (Brussels, 1866-67), I, 181.

7) See for a sonnet and a canzone in rims dirivitius, Le Rime de Fra Guittone d’Arezzo, ed. F. Pellegrini (Bologna, 1901), I, 98, 269-271.






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