Estudi introductori - Einleitende Studie - Introductory study - Estudio introductorio - Introduction - Studio introduttivo - Estudi introductòri

Wolf, George; Rosenstein, Roy. The Poetry of Cercamon and Jaufre Rudel . New York & London: Garland Publishing, Inc, 1983

[CdT en procés d'incorporació]

Lop es nomnat, e lop non es.

This new edition is dedicated to the memory of my old friend George Wolf
(1950-2002). George was a gentleman and a scholar: urbanus et instructus.

Verae nec moriturae amicitiae symbolum.


I. The Poetry of Cercamon


1. Life of the Author

2. Artistic Achievement

3. Sources and Influences

4. Editorial Policy for This Text and Translation





Life of the Author

Cercamon was a Southern French poet —Gascon, according to his biography— who wrote songs in Old Provençal during the second quarter of the twelfth century. One of these is a lament (No. 1) on the death of Duke William X of Aquitaine (Count VIII of Poitiers), son of William IX (VII of Poitiers), the troubadour. At the end of this lament Cercamon identifies himself. Since William X died on April 9, 1137, we may place the composition of this song in the spring or early summer of that same year.

Roughly the same date may be assigned to Poem 2, which is attributed to Cercamon in Manuscript R, the only manuscript to contain it. This poem is a debate between the poet and his companion, Guilhalmi, who tries to keep the poet from feeling sad because he has no patron, because the clergy will not help him in this situation, and because of the general decline of joy and amusement in the world. Guilhalmi tells the “master” that he will be well outfitted when “the Count of Poitiers comes.” Later, he tells the poet that great good will come to him “from France,” and further on that they will have “a new count at Whitsun.” If this song is correctly ascribed, Guilhalmi’s references are to Louis VII of France, who came south in the spring or early summer of 1137, after the death of William X, to marry William’s daughter, Eleanor of Aquitaine. By doing this Louis became the eleventh Duke of Aquitaine.

Cercamon no doubt lost a patron in William X of Aquitaine, for after William’s death the poet apparently had to find new lodgings. It is likely that Cercamon had Ebles II of Ventadorn in mind as a patron when he sent his lament to Ebles. Ebles is documented as having been a friend and younger contemporary of William IX of Aquitaine, as well as William’s rival in high living and hospitality. Known to Latin chroniclers as “The Singer,” he seems to have presided over a lively court which sponsored poets. Not only Cercamon, but Marcabru, Bernart Marti, and Bernart de Ventadorn mention Ebles’s “song school.” Bernart de Ventadorn, who sang at Ebles’s court, implies in one of his songs (Lo temps vai e ven e vire) that he is sad that he may not be good enough for the “school of Ebles” (line 23). Bernart Marti, in a frank love song (Quan l’erb’ es reverdezida), says in the envoi that he is sending his song to Ebles because in the latter “the love between a knight and a lady is enjoyed.” Marcabru, on the other hand, inveighs against false love, and attacks Ebles directly in one of his songs (L’iverns vai e·l temps s’aizina), accusing him of “maintaining foolishness over reason” (lines 73-76). It seems likely that Marcabru, and possibly others, regarded Ebles’s court as too libertine for their tastes. We do not know what Cercamon’s attitude to Ebles was, and it is not known if Cercamon went to Ventadorn and followed the “school” there.

Cercamon may also have looked toward Spain after William X’s death. In Poem 1, he says that “youth is downcast” because of the loss of the Count; now it can find no lodging, “except with Alfonso, who has won joy over.” This is probably Alfonso VII of Castile rather than Alphonse-Jourdain of Toulouse. The relations between Toulouse and Aquitaine had not been cordial during the early twelfth century, since William VII of Poitiers had twice attempted to take over the rival county. There were, however, close ties between Aquitaine and Spain (see genealogical chart), which may suggest that Cercamon went to Spain and stayed at the court of Alfonso VII of Castile. In any event, Alfonso was known to be a patron of poets, as can be seen in the mention of his generosity by the troubadours Marcabru and Alegret.

The biographical remarks just stated have been inferred from Cercamon’s poems. The only medieval testimony to the poet is the brief vida (biography) found in the thirteenth-century Italian manuscripts I and K (text of I):

Cercamon was a minstrel from Gascony, and wrote songs and pastorals in the old style. And he searched the whole world, [or] as much of it as he could, and for this he was called Cercamon (Search-the-World).

Cercamons si fo uns joglars de Gascoingna, e trobet vers e pastoretas a la uzansa antiga. E cerquet tot lo mon lai on el poc anar, e per so fez se dire Cercamons.

There is also a mention of Cercamon in the biography of Marcabru in Manuscript A:

Afterwards, he [Marcabru] stayed so long with a troubadour named Cercamon that he began to write songs.

Apres estet tant ab un trobador que avia nom Cercamon qu’el comensset a trobar.

How much fiction or fact there is in these biographies has been much debated in troubadour studies. It is not difficult to see how the biographer could have invented an explanation for the name Cercamon. However, it is not clear why, if he did, he should have invented Gascony as Cercamon’s homeland, beyond the fact that Cercamon mentions the Gascons twice in Poem 1; for the poet also mentions the Burgundians, the Normans, the French, the Limousins, the Angoumois, the people of Aunis, the Spanish, and the Aragonese. Instead, it is possible that the biographer based at least part of his vida on what was generally known about this early poet; thus Cercamon’s Gascon origin may have a basis in fact.

Cercamon’s Poem 8 links him with the Second Crusade. In stanza 8 the poet exhorts worthy people to depart for Edessa, which had been part of the Byzantine Empire since 1031 and fell to the Moslems in 1144. Louis VII, chosen by Pope Eugenius III to organize the Crusade, set out for the East with his wife Eleanor and his army in June 1147.

Rita Lejeune believes that Poem 7 was also written at this time, in the Holy Land, and that it alludes to the scandal of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor and Louis had a falling out upon their arrival in Antioch in March of 1148. Her uncle Raymond, brother of William X of Aquitaine, was Prince of Antioch, and Eleanor’s favorable attitude to Raymond’s advice that Louis should join him in attacking Aleppo resulted in Louis’s jealousy, and rumors of an affair between Eleanor and her uncle. Three allusions in Poem 7 lead Lejeune to conclude that the song was written in the context of this situation. The first is the poet’s mention of his beloved as being far away: he wants Saint Salvador to give him lodging “there in the land where my lady stays.” It sounds as if this means that she is in France. Second, he chides the lady “who sleeps with two or three,” who is “worthless from now on,” and whose sin “will be gossiped of as far as Poitou.” According to Lejeune, this could be Eleanor. Third, the poet asks the messenger to tell his beloved that, if he misses their appointed meeting, he will be dead, “by St. Nicholas.” Since St. Nicholas was the patron saint of sailors, this may well mean that Cercamon was planning on sailing home to France.

Should Lejeune’s theory be correct, it would nicely complete Cercamon’s biography, since we have no more evidence for his existence after 1147-48. It is not unlikely that he should have gone from William X’s court to that of Louis VII and that he should have followed Louis and Eleanor on Crusade. At this point we can only speculate. The song itself gives no firm proof.

We have placed Cercamon’s love songs, none of which is datable, somewhat arbitrarily between Poem 1 and Poems 7 and 8. About ten years separate Poem 1 from Poem 8, and both of these songs deal with similar themes. If the love songs are placed correctly between, it is possible that Cercamon spent time at the court of Ventadorn, changed his style accordingly, and returned with even greater fervor to his preaching style after leaving the “school of Ebles.” But this is sheer speculation, and the love songs might be placed anywhere.

One more item of biographical relevance should be discussed. In Poem 8 Cercamon appears to associate himself with soudadiers. These were men under wage for either military or entertainment purposes (possibly both). He says that he is concerned because the soudadier can find no one to house him, thanks to the cunning advisors of stingy nobles. That Cercamon himself was a trained professional —a type of soudadier— is suggested by the fact that he is called maïstre by his companion Guilhalmi in Poem 2. The term maïstre would have applied to an individual trained, for example, in musical composition, who may originally have been connected to the church or monastery. In any event, Cercamon then attacks trobadors, who “between truth and lying, confound lovers and husbands and wives, and say that love is devious.” He calls them “these false sirven” (8.25). In feudal society, a sirven designated a “servant,” often of intermediate status, generally endowed by the lord with a minor position of administration, jurisdiction, or command. The term sirven or sergent did not, however, always strictly mean a soldier or an administrator. Marc Bloch describes them as “a whole small world of men-servants, of workers attached to the workshops of the court, of officers who helped govern men or the household” (p. 468). Thus, a sirven was for Cercamon probably close in rank and function to a soudadier. And, as suggested above, it is natural to envisage Cercamon himself as a soudadier or sirven. If so, then in attacking trobadors, Cercamon is attacking sirvens like himself, but sirvens who have gone wrong, and hence who are false. Cercamon, then, places himself on the side of the soudadiers and sirvens, and against trobadors, who sow discord by encouraging wanton behavior (see the Vezelay capital in the frontispiece). It is worth recalling that it was for encouraging “foolishness” (i.e. false love) that Marcabru reproached Ebles of Ventadorn. However, it is purely hypothetical whether Cercamon and Marcabru, in mentioning the bad influence of trobadors, were alluding to the “school of Lord Ebles.”

In sum, it is against this social background that we should see Cercamon, who assumed the role of the sirven in at least some of his poems, and who, in addition to singing of love, exhorted youth to follow excellence and distinction, castigated nobles for stinginess and for their libertine morality, and attacked the deception and infidelity which undermined true love.()


Artistic Achievement

Cercamon’s biography says that he composed vers and pastoral poems in the antique or old style (see Faral in Select Bibliography). We shall see about the vers; we have no pastoral poems from him, although we do have two pastorals by Cercamon’s alleged pupil, Marcabru, and these are the first known pastorals in a modern language. Both poets also give us the first known example of the tenso or debate poem. Cercamon has left three love poems; but in this genre he was preceded by William IX/VII. Cercamon is also credited with the first planh, or lament, in a modern language.

Although love songs, laments, and debates as genres of Latin literature preceded Cercamon and Marcabru by centuries, these poets have a unique connection with a type of poem peculiar to their era, the sirventes. A sirventes is traditionally defined as a troubadour poem dealing with a non-amorous subject. Bertran de Born is the most famous of the writers of sirventes, although with him the term means “war poem” almost exclusively. The meaning “war poem” may have derived from an earlier usage of the Provençal word: one might assume that the term sirventes was connected somehow to a sirven; yet exactly what the connection is has never been clear. Bearing in mind the role of the sirven as discussed above, it is likely that sirventes, an adjective become noun, meant in effect “a poem by a sergeant.” Cercamon and Marcabru, being sirvens of a kind, produced these sergeant’s poems, which exhort, castigate, or encourage men, and specifically youth, to worthy deeds. Probably sirventes originally meant “a harangue,” and came with Bertran de Born to designate a military harangue in particular, taking the inspiration from some of Marcabru’s poems which include military exhortation. But the earlier usage was broader, including moral as well as military themes.

The general question about the nomenclature of Cercamon’s songs is a delicate one. At the end of Poem 1, Cercamon says that the lament (lo plaingz) is well constructed. At the beginning of Poem 4 he says that he wishes to begin a new song (un novel chant). At the beginning of Poem 6 he says that his song (chanz) has not been heard afar; but at the end he says that the song is plain: plas es lo vers. Should we therefore label the songs Plaingz, Chanz, Vers? The question of whether vers, for example, is a full-fledged poetic genre has been discussed by J.H. Marshall, who argues that before 1150 vers designated a courtly song in general. It is uncertain whether Cercamon would have placed the title Vers above some or all of his songs had he seen them untitled in a chansonnier. It is perhaps best to leave plaingz, chanz, and vers as common, rather than proper, nouns.

Cercamon’s real poetic achievement lies in the songs themselves, and one is struck immediately by their variety in so restricted a number. Jeanroy has referred to the “archaic character” of Cercamon’s poems, especially in their versification. The poems are composed of between six and nine full stanzas; most stanzas contain six or seven lines, while Poem 2 contains nine lines per stanza. There are fairly few rhymes, and most are masculine (final-syllable stressed). Most of Cercamon’s lines contain seven or eight syllables, and Poem 7 contains an internal rhyme. This is comparatively uncomplicated versification, which, as Jeanroy points out, is characteristic of the earliest troubadours.

Several of Cercamon’s themes are as unique as his versification. His lament (No. 1), as mentioned, brings in moralizing themes as well as those of mourning; not only has Count William VIII’s death caused sadness but it has hastened the demise of joy and youth and the rise of worthlessness. All good virtues have died with him. Cercamon makes many topical references, giving valuable historical testimony as well as a fascinating glimpse into an otherwise littleknown poetic milieu.

Cercamon’s debate poem (No. 2) is a kind of companion piece to his lament. It gives interesting historical evidence from the point of view of a professional poet in 1137. In the dramatic dialogue between the poor poet and his companion there is a brief picture of one aspect of life at that time.

The love songs are valuable because they give us early examples of a genre that achieved great fame in the hands of later poets. Quant la douch’aura (No. 3) portrays a timid lover, fearing rejection but hoping for acceptance, who captures his situation in the phrase “I am cautious and rejoice.” In Ab lo temps (No. 4) the lover is crushed by a separation from his lady caused by hateful slanderers. The poet indulges in effusive praise and description of the lady’s beauty and goodness, includes a general reflection on love, and ends in a moving appeal, conveyed through the messenger, for acceptance.

Per fin’amor (No. 5) is somewhat more playful. In it the poet again appeals for the lady’s love but with greater hope and humor. He says that he would abandon lords and ladies to go into her service, and that, if accepted, he would wage war on his neighbors, as well as perform other remarkable things. But she is hard to win, and he would hardly have sought her love if he had known how difficult it would be to obtain it. Assatz es ora (No. 6) seems to lift love onto a higher plane and in this respect is reminiscent of Jaufre Rudel. There is consistent ambiguity here between a love in flesh and blood and one that, “thanks to God and St. John,” seems more permanent. Yet we are never completely free of the possible fleshly references in leis, which can be either the lady, or love itself, amor, a feminine noun in Old Provençal.

The satiric poems are among the most singular in troubadour poetry, and are to be classified with the songs of Marcabru, to which they are similar. Ab lo pascor (No. 7), for several reasons, has been much discussed. As a whole, it may be taken both as a love song and as a satire on deceit in love. It begins on a bright note in spring, then plunges into sadness. The poet cannot enjoy the season because the worthless are as successful in love as the best people; youth and high deeds are in decline, while worthlessness has taken hold in love affairs. Cercamon blames womanizing husbands, false lovers, and specifically the loose lady (whom Rita Lejeune takes to be Eleanor of Aquitaine). After this lengthy tirade, Cercamon asks for lodging in his own lady’s land, where he hopes that she at least will keep the promise she made to him.

Pus nostre temps (No. 8) develops the same themes. As the gloom of winter settles on the world, we must rejoice in love. Cercamon gives an eloquent praise of love, which is here definitely spiritual yet has its own temporal rewards of joy and distinction. The poet then attacks the enemies of true love: troubadours who lead people astray into the ways of lust; and stingy nobles and their advisers, who shut their doors to the poor mercenary poet. But Cercamon grows tired of thinking about them, and returns to the love which fills him with joy. He ends the poem with a call to the Crusade; all worthy people should depart for Edessa and abandon the perilous world.

These satiric poems are perhaps Cercamon’s most remarkable. In their dual theme they resemble Romanesque tympana, with Christ on one side flanked by a vision of Heaven and beatitude, facing a vision of Hell and damnation. Cercamon portrays the damnation of false love and all who perpetrate it; in contrast he offers the beatitude of true love and its rewards.

A poet who was a kind of popular preacher, Cercamon embodies the directness and simplicity of early troubadour lyric, as well as its most powerful themes which, in all likelihood, he had a hand in creating.()


Sources and Influences

In the wake of the eleventh-century revival of the classics, the themes of Latin poetry enjoyed a new vogue, especially in France. Eleventh and twelfth-century Latin poetry attests to the new fashion in love poetry and in satire. Poets learned not only from Ovid, but from noted contemporaries such as Hildebert of Lavardin. Following the example of noted ecclesiastic poets, young men who came to the cathedral schools wrote a great deal in imitation of classical poetry, employing the schoolroom techniques of their own day. Their knowledge of verse composition was formed by Ovidian elegies, by rhetorical treatises, and by liturgical music. Many of these men, either unable or unwilling to further their ecclesiastical status, returned to society to seek their fortunes with rich patrons, if possible. They contributed to an overpopulation of educated versifiers too numerous to be accommodated in their chosen profession. With this situation in mind, it is not surprising to find some classical themes, for example from Ovid, filtering into verse as remote from the schools as was troubadour poetry.

There are several themes reminiscent of Ovid in Cercamon’s poems, to give one example of a literary source. Among passages which reflect Ovidian themes is Poem 3.9-12, where Cercamon expresses his desire for what he cannot have. This recalls Ovid’s line in Amores 2.19.3: quod licet, ingratum est; quod non licet, acrius urit (What is lawful is unwanted; what is not allowed more bitterly burns). The lover’s sickly state (Nos. 3.25 ff., 4.34) is described in Ars Amatoria 1.729-38. The common theme of the flatterer separating the lover from his lady (No. 4.10-11) is found in the form of the old hag Dipsas in Amores 1.8, who spends an entire poem counseling the lady. The messenger (No. 4.43) appears in Amores 1.11.7. Cercamon in Poem 5, stanza 7, speaks of the feats and sacrifices promised by the lover if the lady gives him her love; this is a central theme of Ars Amatoria, book 1. Cercamon alludes to the theme that everything must capitulate to love, and he could have found this in Ars Amatoria 1.269 ff. The lover as captive (No. 3.5, 47) is a frequent Ovidian theme (Amores 1.2.27, 30, etc.), as is the lover as servant (No. 3.29; Amores 1.3.5). The lover is at war with love in Ars Amatoria 1.21-22, Amores 1.9 passim, 2.9.1-8; he finds himself in a similar situation in Cercamon’s Poem 3.5­-8.

In satire, several influences converged to form the unique product of the moralizing poems of the early troubadours. The classical satirists, Juvenal and Persius, worked their influence indirectly through clerical poets. Preachers —popular, clerical, and monastic— also had a definite impact upon poets of a moralizing bent. The Bible provided the framework for the preachers; its language is reflected in many literary forms of the twelfth century. Cercamon’s praise of love, for example, is colored by the language of passages such as Wisdom 8.7:

One cannot serve this love so much

That its reward will not redouble a thousand times;
For distinction and joy and everything, and more,
Those who are capable of it shall have.
(Cercamon, 8.7-10)
If a man love justice, her labors have great virtues;
for she teaches temperance and prudence and justice and fortitude,
which are such things as man can have nothing more profitable in life ...
(Wisdom, 8.7)

Comparison of the above-mentioned passages will give some idea of the kind of influence the various forms of Latin culture enjoyed among the early troubadours. Classical, clerical, and monastic themes were popular among poets of the time, who found these themes in their own learning and handed them on to other poets in their poems.

That vernacular poets influenced each other is evident from the dissemination of general themes, and, in a more focused way, from the idiom, vocabulary, and commonplaces of the poetic language. The first vernacular poet whose influence we can trace among the troubadours is William IX of Aquitaine, Count VII of Poitiers. For example, in the domain of vocabulary, the notion of deference finds form in the word aclis, which both William IX and Cercamon use in their poems: William (7.25-27) says that no one will be true to love if he is not deferential toward it; Cercamon (5.3) says that he will always be deferential toward love. William says that he would not exchange (camjar) one of his “horses” for gold or silver (1.18). Cercamon mentions his being “exchanged,” or “crossed” (cambiatz), by a fickle woman (6.15). “To chide,” in the sense of “to give counsel,” is conveyed in William by castiar (2.10) and the noun (mos) casteis; castiar means the more usual “to correct” in Cercamon (8.37).

Joven, “youth,” is a word which occurs in both William and Cercamon. It implies high spirits in William (1.3,4.3), but in Cercamon it implies, perhaps in addition to high spirits, an inherent worthiness and is linked with the word pretz, not found in William. The unusual lati occurs in both poets, meaning “Latin” only once in William (11.24), where it is opposed to romans; otherwise it means “language,” possibly connoting “idiom,” or even “dialect.” One of the ladies William meets on horseback addressed him in her lati (5.19); and each of the birds speaks in its own lati (W. 10.3; C. 3.3) . In William, malvatz applies to men who boast about their deeds but who do not perform any (3.6) and is the opposite of lo melhor (6.14); in Cercamon it is linked with the adjectives enojos and savai (7.9) and so has a stronger sense than in William’s poems. In both poets malvestatz is the opposite of proeza (W. 2.15; C. 8.30; see also C. 7.12) and implies worthlessness or degeneracy. The word pechat is used for a humorous purpose in William (5.7): the lady who refuses to love a loyal knight commits “a great mortal sin.” In Cercamon the pechat is adultery (7.28).

In view of their mention of or connection with the Second Crusade, one of the most interesting verbal parallels between Cercamon and Jaufre Rudel is the appearance in both of the theme of “lodging.” Jaufre’s use is famous (6.16-17), the “distant lodging”; Cercamon wishes to “be put up” in his lady’s land (7.43). Important to both poets is the theme of an amistatz, a love affair (C. 7.13; J. 5.8). Both poets refer to love “behind curtains” (C. 4.49; J. 4.13). Both are “concerned” or “anxious” (cossiros soi, C. 3.49; suy cossiros, J. 5.15) because they have no assurance of acceptance by their ladies. Neither poet is “able to guess about the future” with respect to the love of his lady, and Jaufre is uncertain how he will be able to go to see his distant love (de s’amor no suy devis, C. 3.33; no·n sui devis, J. 6.27).

Two sets of passages are particularly interesting in raising the question of influence. The first concerns an idiomatic formula:

Dieu en lau e Sanh Jolia (W. 6.29)   era·n lau Dieu et Saint Joan (C. 6.16)
I praise God and St. Julian for it        now I praise God and St. John for it
e laus en lieys e Dieu elor (J.R. 2.25)
and I praise her and God and them for it


The second concerns a minor theme, the “(foolish) burden”:

ar non puesc plus soffrir lo fais (W.II.31)       et ab aitan pot si liurar del fays
                                                                        qu’assatz en fai trabucar e perir
                                                                        (C. 8.47-48)
now I can no longer endure the burden         and thus he can throw off the burden
                                                                        which makes many fall down and perish
soi descargatz de fol fais (J.R. 2.56)
I have cast off a senseless burden


The words most frequently found among all three poets are joi and jauzir, which reflect the poets’ preoccupations with the theme of joy in its many aspects.

The affinity between Cercamon and Marcabru is familiar, but its nature has been debated. What is sure is that Marcabru’s influence on later poets is more tangible than that of Cercamon. No one knows if Cercamon really was the master of Marcabru, as one of Marcabru’s biographies states. However, an inventory of images shows that there are many fewer borrowings between Cercamon and Marcabru than there are between Marcabru and the later poets who followed the early satirists. The general themes common to Cercamon and Marcabru do not prove precedence in one direction or the other. These themes include “true love,” “the decline of joy and youth,” “the rise of worthlessness.” Cercamon and Marcabru initiated these literary themes; the contemporaneity of the two poets is perhaps more important than the question of which came first.

Cercamon’s love poems may be regarded as taking part in the fashion of the time. As was suggested in the Life of the Author, Cercamon may have written them with the patronage of Ebles of Ventadorn in mind; hence they may be direct precursors of the genre which was to be perfected by Bernart of Ventadorn and later poets. His lament is the first, and certainly not the last, of its kind. The same may be said of the debate, although the subject matter of this poem is unique. Finally, the moralizing satires, with those of Marcabru, are the first of their kind, and influenced a handful of Cercamon’s younger contemporaries, such as Alegret, Bernart Marti, Peire of Auvergne, Bernart of Venzac, and Gavaudan. To the list may be added Guilhem Godi, whose one poem, Si·l gen cours, is very similar in structure to, and may have been influenced by, Cercamon’s Ab lo pascor (No. 7). As for metrical influence, Istvan Frank’s Répertoire reveals that the meter and rhyme-scheme (though not rhymes) of only three of Cercamon’s poems were reproduced, and in all three cases by only one poet: No. 3 by Peire of Auvergne, No. 5 by Daude de Pradas, and No. 6 by Guilhem de Cervera.

Moralizing satire was given new life in the thirteenth century by Peire Cardenal, who was no doubt familiar with the poetry of his noted predecessor Marcabru. Poets of the genre who followed Cardenal, e.g. Aymar de Rocafiza, Bernart Alanhan de Narbona, Bernart de la Barta, Guilhem Augier Novella, Peire de la Mula, Pons Barba, Raimon Gaucelm de Beziers, Uc de Murel, and others, molded the genre to their own purposes, but in so doing assured its continuity with the poems of the earliest troubadour satirists, perhaps the first of whom is Cercamon.()


Editorial Policy for This Text and Translation

The aim of this edition of the poems of Cercamon is to use previous editions in conjunction with manuscripts as a basis for reassessing the texts. One result has been texts in which cruces and irregularities left as such by Jeanroy are resolved. We have emended or chosen variant readings where necessary, not always agreeing with Jeanroy. Where Jeanroy sometimes alters the graphy of the base manuscript, we have reproduced the graphies as they stand. Our choice of a base manuscript is primarily for graphic uniformity; but we have not been bound to the base when a variant reading has seemed to be clearly better.

This said, the problem of base manuscripts arises for only three of Cercamon’s poems, and for one of those the choice is between only two manuscripts, the text of one of which is clearly superior. In the two more problematic cases, we differ from Jeanroy in one of them, No. 3, for which he chose C, and we choose L. In fact, Jeanroy used L’s stanza order and many of L’s readings in his text of the poem. As far as substantive readings are concerned, L is the best manuscript. Jeanroy preferred to print C’s text only, as he says, “because of its Languedocian origin and because of the regularity of its orthography.” The Textual Notes here indicate where Jeanroy strayed from the graphy of C in this poem and others and show where we differ from Jeanroy in substantive readings and emendations. Among differences of note are the solution of the crux pareisa·l teit novel at 2.47; this was left unsolved by Jeanroy.

The differences from Jeanroy in No. 3 are fairly numerous, and the Textual Notes should be consulted for these. In No. 7 we restore the internal rhyme, offer a solution in conformity with this rhyme in line 38, and provide a solution to the crux concerning the rhyme word conqes in line 48. As for differences in general from Jeanroy, ours is a more conservative approach in cases where an alternate reading or spelling does not make a great difference in meaning to the text. This includes cases of spelling, of morphology, and of formulaic phrases which are roughly equivalent in sense. However, quite often we have followed Jeanroy, and his edition remains valuable though it exhibits a tendency to normalize arbitrarily, while at the same time leaving some of the more difficult textual problems unsolved.

The choice of Cercamon’s texts is fairly uncontroversial. In Poems 1, 3, and 8 Cercamon identifies himself as the author. Poem 2 exists only in Manuscript R, conforms to Cercamon’s style, and is attributed to him by that manuscript. In the case of Poems 4 and 6, these are found only in Manuscript a, are attributed to him there, and again offer no reason, on the count of style, to deny Cercamon authorship. Poem 7 is also found only in a. This poem is quite close in theme and style to Poem 8 and so is probably correctly attributed.

Jeanroy doubts the authenticity of Poem 5. It is attributed to Cercamon in Manuscript D, and is anonymous in f. We accept Cercamon’s authorship here, and consider Jeanroy’s argument against it invalid. That the poet presents himself as “a lord in a position to be generous and to wage war on his neighbors” is no doubt a literary pose and is, in any case, only one interpretation. It is likely that the poet means that if the lady gave him her love, then he would be so “exalted” that he would wage war on his neighbors, etc.; that is, her love will give him great but perhaps metaphoric powers. This passage would have even more effect for an audience who knew that Cercamon was a lowly-born professional poet and was thus striking an ironic pose. We agree with Jeanroy on stylistic grounds that P-C 112.2 is to be rejected.

In our metrical symbolism, we have departed from the usage of István Frank in transferring the prime mark (‘) from syllable-numbers to rhyme letters. We symbolize the number of syllables by Arabic numerals and rhyme-types by lower-case letters. The prime mark designates a feminine rhyme. i and j, u and v have been distinguished following modern convention.

We would like to thank Geneviève Brunei of the Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes in Paris for her untiring efforts to procure and send information and photographs of manuscripts. We are grateful to the librarians of the New York Public Library, the Vatican Library, the Estense Library in Modena, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris for providing microfilms and photographs, and for permitting us to reproduce them in our pages.

Professors Margaret Switten and Gerald A. Bond have made helpful comments and suggestions on the texts and translations. Professor Hendrik van der Werf has kindly provided us with musical transcriptions and a musical introduction. We express our thanks to Mr. C.A. Robson, who gave in-depth guidance and assistance in the conception of the work and with texts of Cercamon. Maggy Wolf has spent many hours with this book; it has benefited from her criticism, from her accompaniment of the labors of one of the editors, and from her assistance with photography and production.

We are especially indebted to James J. Wilhelm for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this series and for guiding the work at every stage. It is thanks to his encouragement and his patience that the work was able to be completed.

New York                    G. W.

Paris                            R. R.




A - Rome, Bibl. Vaticana, lat. 5232 (13th c. Italy)

C - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 856 (14th c., S. France)

D - Modena, Bibl. Estense, R.4.4, Estero 45 (13th and 14th cc., Italy)

I - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 854 (13th c., Italy)

K - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 12473 (13th c., Italy)

L - Rome, Bibl. Vaticana, lat. 3206 (14th c., Italy)

R - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 22543 (14th c., S. France)

a - Modena, Bibl. Estense, Campori, App. 426, 427, 494, N.8.4 11-13 (16th c. Italian copy of a (probably) early 14th c. MS written by the S. French scribe Bernart Amoros)

f - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 12474 (14th c., S. France).()




see Genesis 1 1.21


Alfonso VII of Castille; or possibly Alphonse Jourdain of Toulouse 1.36 (fn; Life of the Author)


Aragon 1.52


region in France southwest of Poitiers 1.48 (TN)


the people of Bar in France 1.9 (TN)


the poet 1.50, 3.57, 8.53


God 1.19, 45, 47, 2.10, 3.23, 4.11, 43, 6.16, 7.39, 8.35, 38, 42

EBLO (‘)

probably Ebles II of Ventadorn 1.50 (Life of the Author)


the people of the Angoumois 1.44


Spain 1.52


the inhabitants of the Capetian domain 1.37 (TN)


the Capetian domain 2.33 (TN)


the Gascons 1.31, 51


the poet’s companion 2.19, 30, 35, 39, 44, 48, 53


St. James 1.53 (fn)


St. John 6.16


Judas 8.35


the people of the Limousin 1.44 (TN)


St. Nicholas 7.52


the Normans 1.37


Pentecost, Whitsun 2.51


William, Xth Duke of Aquitaine, VIIIth Count of Poitiers 1.6


Poitou 1.8


Poitiers; the coms de P(e)itieus is William X in 1.13, and Louis VII in 2.18


Edessa 8.45 (see Life of the Author)


Christ, the Holy Savior; or possibly Saint Savior, a place name 7.43 (see Life of the Author)


the Lord 1.17


Saracens 1.42


Manuscript a, pages 364-70

(Courtesy of the d'Este Library, Modena)










II. The Poetry of Jaufre Rudel



1. Life of the Author

2. Artistic Achievement

3. Sources and Influences

4. Editorial Policy for This Text and Translation




Life of the Author

Jaufre Rudel is one of the best known of the Old Provençal troubadours, who wrote in the south of France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Yet we know little about this lord of Blaye, who lived in the second quarter of the twelfth century. More than his lyrics, it is the legend of his distant love that has inspired authors as varied as Petrarch, Stendhal, Rostand, Browning, Heine, Carducci, and their readers in turn. According to his thirteenth-century biography or vida (version of Manuscripts AB):

Jaufre Rudel, Prince of Blaye, was a very noble man. And he fell in love with the Countess of Tripoli, without having seen her, because of the great goodness and courtliness which he heard tell of her from the pilgrims who came from Antioch. And he wrote many good songs about her, with good melodies and poor words. And because of his desire, he took the cross and set sail to go see her. But in the ship he fell very ill, to the point where those who were with him thought he was dead. However, they got him—a dead man, as they thought—to Tripoli, to an inn. And it was made known to the Countess, and she came to his bedside, and took him in her arms. And he knew she was the Countess, and recovered sight [MSS. IK: hearing] and smell, and praised God because He had kept him alive until he had seen her. And so he died in the arms of the lady. And she had him buried with honor in the Temple at Tripoli. Then, the same day, she became a nun because of the grief which she felt for him and for his death.
Jaufres Rudels de Blaia si fo molt gentjls horn, princes de Blaia. Et enamoret se de la comtessa de Tripol, ses vezer, per lo gran ben e per la gran cortesia qu’el auzi dir de lieis als pelegrins que vengron d’Antiocha. E fetz de lieis mains bons vers ab bons sons [et] ab paubres motz. E per volontat de lieis vezer, el se crozet e mes se en mar, per anar lieis vezer. Et adoncs en la nau lo pres mout grans malautia, si que cill qui eron ab lui cuideron q’el fos mortz en la nau. Mas tant feiron q’illo conduisseron a Tripol, en un alberc, aissi cum per mort. E fo faich a saber a la comtessa, et adoncs ella s’en venc a lui, al sieu lieich, e pres lo entre sos bratz. Et el sa up que so era la comtessa, si recobret lo vezer e·l flazar, e lauzet Dieu e·l grazi que l’avia la vida sostenguda tro qu’el l’agues vista; et enaissi el moric entre·ls braz de la dompna. Et ella lo fetz honradamenz sepeillir en la maison del Temple de Tripol; e pois, en aquel meteus dia, ela se rendet monga, per la dolor que ella ac de lui e de la soa mort.

This account, retold in every century since Jaufre’s, fits in to some degree with what we can infer historically about the poet. We know that Jaufre Rudel was, as the vida claims, one of a line of lords (princes) who held land roughly within the square of territory formed by Saintes, Angouleme, Bergerac, and Bordeaux in the southwest of France. Just north of Bordeaux is the castle of Blaye, built on an escarpment dominating the Garonne River on its right bank. Because of its link to Roland, the Carolingian hero of Roncevaux, Blaye was a popular site on the pilgrimage route to the shrine of St. James at Compostela in northern Spain. However, little remains of the medieval citadel built, according to at least one legend, over Roland’s tomb.

Since the end of the tenth century the troubadour’s ancestors had held Blaye (according to Cravayat; see Select Bibliography for all sources). The first of them to be named Jaufre Rudel did homage both to his cousins, the Counts of Angouleme, and to his overlords, the Counts of Poitiers, late in the eleventh century. Over succeeding generations the House of Blaye was periodically at war with the Houses of Angoulême or Poitiers, or both. In the twelfth century the first known troubadour, William, VII Count of Poitiers, IX Duke of Aquitaine, seized the castle from Girard of Blaye and destroyed its walls and dungeon, as we are told in the anonymous History of the Bishops and Counts of Angoulême (ed. J. Boussard, p. 33). It was not until the time of Count William’s son, William VIII (d. 1137), mourned by Cercamon in his Lo plaing comenz, that Blaye was recaptured and rebuilt by Wulgrin II, Count of Angouleme, and restored to his vassal Girard or Girard’s son, the troubadour Jaufre Rudel.

We learn from the Cartulary of the Priory of Sainte Gemme (Cravayat) that Jaufre succeeded to his father’s title and castle. Although the original charter has been lost, a late seventeenth century transcription tells us that it was Jaufre Rudel who at an undetermined date fulfilled some of his late father’s obligations toward the priory. With the earlier document signed by Jaufre, his brother, and his father, this is the only historical evidence by which we can identify a Jaufre Rudel, lord of Blaye (dominus Blaviae) in the second quarter of the twelfth century. It should be mentioned, however, that there are also later descendants named Jaufre Rudel attested as lords of Blaye until almost the middle of the fourteenth century (see the article of P. Julien-Laferrière). Early scholars sought to identify the poet with one of these descendants, but Jaufre has since been restored to his proper period.

The first historical reference to the poet Jaufre Rudel is by the troubadour Marcabru, who sends one of his songs encouraging the French crusaders “to Lord Jaufre Rudel overseas.” There is no reason to doubt that his dedicatee is the Jaufre Rudel we have described, and that Jaufre took the cross to participate in the Second Crusade, as his vida relates. That Jaufre went on crusade is further supported by what we know of the men with whom Jaufre was in contact, three, possibly four, of whom he refers to in his poems.

One of the poet’s references is to his “Good Protector” (5.33), and suggests William VI Taillefer, Count of Angouleme (1140–79), Jaufre’s cousin and suzerain. In the passage mentioned, Jaufre may be interpreted as implying that it is thanks to his “Good Protector” that he is able to go on crusade. William VI embarked with Alphonse-Jourdain of Toulouse from Port-de-Bou in the summer of 1147, made stops in Sicily and at Constantinople, and landed at St. John of Acre in the Holy Land on April 13, 1148. Cravayat believes that Jaufre sailed with William and Alphonse, and the nature of the Crusade also suggests that this is so, since both the French and German armies departed as a relative whole in the summer of 1147. Louis VII’s army left about a month after that of Conrad III. The contingent that went by sea left still later, since the sea journey was shorter. As Lavisse, for example, mentions (Histoire de France, III, 13–17), the Second Crusade was not, as the First had been, characterized by small groups setting out on their own; it is likely that all followed the great armies in the summer of 1147. Some, among whom was Jaufre’s friend Hugh VII of Lusignan (mentioned in 4.32), went with the kings by land; others, such as William VI and Alphonse-Jourdain, sailed. But all departed as a unified crusading army. Thus it is likely, if Jaufre took the cross, that he did so at this time. And if there is any truth to the vida, then the chances are that Jaufre went with his suzerain, William VI.

Two other figures to whom Jaufre refers in his poems are traditionally taken to be Alphonse-Jourdain of Toulouse and his bastard son Bertrand, who went with his father on crusade. In No sap chantar (No. 3), Jaufre says that he wishes Lord Bertrand in Quercy and the Count in Toulouse to hear his song and that “ they will do something there that people will sing about.” Some scholars have thought that “there” in this quotation refers to the Holy Land. But it is perhaps more reasonable to assume that “ there” refers to where Bertrand and Alphonse are at the time. If so, this suggests a date for No sap chantar prior to the summer of 1147 when Alphonse and Bertrand left for the East.

A final reference by Jaufre is to Hugon Brun, or Hugh the Swarthy, VII Count of Lusignan and of the Marche, who, as mentioned, departed with Louis VII’s army in June of 1147. Of Hugh, Jaufre says that “the men of Poitou, the men of Berry, the men of Guyenne, and the Bretons rejoice for him” (4.33–35). If Jaufre did indeed leave on crusade by a separate route from Hugh, then this may be a kind of farewell and a well-wishing to his friend. If so, then this song, Quan lo rius, was written close to the summer of 1147, along with No. 5, Quan lo rossinhols, which exhorts the worthy to depart for Bethlehem.

As for the remaining historicity of the vida, it is just possible that Jaufre was known to his contemporaries as a man who had fallen in love with the Countess of Tripoli, whom he had never seen but about whom all had no doubt heard. The Countess of Tripoli at the time was Hodierna of Jerusalem, and her husband, Count Raymond II, was known to be so jealous of her as to keep her “in a state of Oriental seclusion” (Runciman, II, 332–33). Such a situation could easily have given rise to pilgrims’ stories.

Marcabru’s reference suggests strongly that Jaufre did go on crusade. Some of Jaufre’s songs make it clear that he was interested in a distant love though the precise nature of this love is not clear. There is no historical evidence that he was buried in the Temple at Tripoli. That he reached Tripoli at all and saw the Countess has been, and will be, a matter for conjecture.()


 Artistic Achievement

One of Jaufre’s achievements is to have become a lefined. Critics have not yet resolved whether Jaufre really fell in love with a distant lady and wrote about it biographically, whether he was preaching philosophically on an abstract theme, or whether the idea of a distant love was a fiction in the poet’s mind, perhaps designed at the outset to baffle the curious.

Jaufre created a lucid style, and his poems are easily read. As pointed out by Jeanroy, his versification is simple also. His poems are composed of between five and eight full stanzas, of six to eight lines each. Each line contains seven or eight syllables, and masculine (final-syllable stressed) lines predominate. Again as noted by Jeanroy, a peculiar trait of Jaufre is his use of rhymes repeated not within stanzas but once in each successive stanza; these are called rimas esparsas. A famous example of this is the word loing in No. 6. Usually Jaufre employs the same rhymes in all stanzas, but he varies this in two songs (2 and 4) in which pairs of stanzas. with identical rhymes alternate with pairs of stanzas with the same rhymes shifted. A final point made by Jeanroy is the frequency in Jaufre of rhyme words which are used more than once in one song.

An aspect of Jaufre’s poems that deserves attention is a point of style which he shares with the “second generation” of troubadour poets, and to some degree with William IX as well. This is a preoccupation with love as a theme, rather than with the theme of the lady, which is given prominence by later poets. The earlier troubadours tend to discourse on love; the lady is almost secondary. It is curious that in Jaufre’s poems not once do we find the word domna. Instead we have elha or leis (she) and abstractions. Although in Jaufre and in the other earlier poets there is little doubt that, at least at times, the act of love was their subject matter, it is still the idea of love and its ethic, rather than the lady, which is the focus of attention.

It is remarkable that Jaufre’s simple style, which conveys an air of detachment and at times almost of mysticism, was little imitated.

There are one or two passages in Cercamon which recall Jaufre’s poems, but it is not certain that these are cases of influence. Jaufre shares his individuality to some degree with William: the tale of nocturnal embarrassment (No. 2) shows the influence of William’s bawdy poems, which tell “what went on.” But for the most part Jaufre, like William, stands stylistically alone. Only his legend was celebrated by later poets, while Jaufre the poet became a model of the faithful lover.

Finally, Jaufre, like Cercamon in one or two poems, strikes a balance between dream and reality, between business and pleasure, which allows us to place his elusive poems firmly in the historical context of the mid-twelfth century. This dichotomy in itself gives an insight into the values of a vernacular poet writing between the First and Second Crusades. Jaufre took part in the events and politics of his time, but he saw these commitments as linked to the life of the spirit, which entailed artistic creation, moral teaching, and the improvement of daily living. All of these aspects are present in his poems.()


Sources and Influences

Like Cercamon, Jaufre makes use of classical themes acquired through twelfth-century channels. Once again, reminiscences of Ovid are particularly noticeable, since the Roman poet’s vogue was at its height during this period. We find echoes of Ovidian scenes, such as that in Amores 2.2.5–8, where a girl replies non licet (it is not permitted) to the poet’s urgent request for a meeting. In Jaufre 1.45–48 the lady comes to the poet and says that she cannot meet him now because “jealous boors” have started a dispute which will make it difficult for them to enjoy themselves. In Amores 3.IIa, Ovid speaks of the burden of turpis amor which he has borne too long. Jaufre in No. 2 speaks of the “foolish burden” which he has now cast off. In Ovid we find love as a flame (Am. I.2, etc.). Jaufre says that he is not surprised if he is “aflame” with love (4.I6). Even “joy” is found in Ovid (Veneris gaudia, Am. 2.3.2; mea gaudia, Am., 2.5.29, etc.). In some ways Ovid seems to be everywhere, to suffuse the medieval genre. But he can be identified only occasionally; and the joi found in the early troubadours, especially in Jaufre, reflects contemporary as well as Ovidian influences.

There are few borrowings of any consequence between Jaufre and his contemporaries. Three examples of them reveal perhaps only a common poetic diction:

vezem . . . rius e fontanas esclarzir
(William, 7.1–3)
We see . . . streams and fountains shine
Quan lo rius de la fontana
s’esclarzis . . . (Jaufre, 4.1–2)
When the fountain’s flow shines . . .
qu’enaissi fuy de nueits fadatz sobr’un puej au (W. 4.11–12)
for I was thus enchanted at night on a high hill
qu ‘enaissi·m fadet mos pairis
(J.R. 6.48)
for thus my godfather fixed my fate
ben dey, si puesc, al mielhs anar (W. 9.4)
I must, if I can, go to the best
vau mo mielhs queren (J.R. 5.30)
I seek what is best for me


Two more passages also raise the question of influence:

metge querrai al meu albir e non sai cau’,
bos metges er si·m pot guerir (W. 4.21–23)
I think I shall seek a doctor and I don’t know which;
he’ll be a good doctor if he can cure me
e d’aquest mal mi pot guerir
ses gart de metge sapien (J.R. 1. 55–56)
and she can cure me of this pain
without the help of a learned doctor


As for Jaufre’s influence on later poets, it was the legend rather than the poems which found good fortune . J aufre was an individualist, and he seems, in contrast to a poet such as Marcabru, to have had no followers in his themes. He was no doubt familiar with the songs of his contemporaries as common words and phrases show, but he stands as a lone figure among the early troubadours. However, his songs were well known, and in addition to a broad representation in the songbooks, including the music of four of his six songs (see Musical Appendix), later poets reproduced the meter and rhymescheme (though not rhymes) of Poem 2 (six times), of Poem 6 (four times), of Poem 3 (seven times); and Peire Cardenal copied the meter and rhymes of Poem 5 exactly. Jaufre is also quoted in the French romance Guillaume de Dôle (line 1299), and in the Breviari d’Amor (lines 29417–22, ed. Ricketts), a didactic poem by the fourteenthcentury Franciscan Matfre Ermengau.

The fame of the Jaufre legend can be seen in two poetic debates of the later troubadour period. The first, which is found in Mahn’s Gedichte der Troubadours, III, 169, is a partimen between Izam and Rofian, dated by Blum after 1240. Rofian asks Izam if he would rather have his lady once in a hidden place and then die or love her unrequited. Izam answers that he would prefer the second, to love his lady without reward rather than die after one joi. Rofian accuses Izam of loving disloyally, and cites Jaufre as an example:

I shall know why you pretend to be so pained,
because you are so changeable and deceitful with respect to love;
you are scarcely like the worthy viscount
Jaufre Rudel, who died on the journey . . .

sabrai per qe·us feinhetz tan doloros,
pos qe d’amor est tan var ni ginhos;
non sembles ges lo vesconte valen
Jaufre Rudel qe moric al passage . . .

Izam replies that Jaufre did not make the voyage for joi:

for you know if the amorous viscount
Jaufre could endure death and suffering;
it wasn’t for any joy that he made that voyage.

qar vos sabes si·l vescoms amoros
Jaufres saupes penre mort ni turmen:
non es nuills jois per q’el fes cell viage.

Rofian rejoins that Jaufre did die in desire for his lady, and it is for this that we praise him.
The second poem, a tenso between Giraut de Salignac and Peironet (Riquer, III, 788–90), was written probably around 1300. In it, Giraut asks, “Which better maintains love, the heart or the eyes of the man who truly loves his lady?” Peironet argues for the eyes, and Girart for the heart. Peironet cites the example of Andrieu de France, and Girart that of Jaufre:

for the love of the eyes is worthless if the heart does not feel,
and [yet] without the eyes the heart can sincerely
love her whom it has in fact never seen,
as did Jaufre his beloved.

c’amor dels hueills non val se·l cor non sen,
e ses los hueills pot lo cor francamen
amar sella c’anc non vi a prezen,
si corn Jaufre Rudel fetz de s’amia.


Jaufre is also mentioned by the Catalan troubadour Guiraut de Cabrera in his famous ensenhamen (instruction poem), Cabra joglar, which Pirot has dated before 1162.
The later troubadours took their poetry and their tradition to Italy. The early Italian humanists knew these poets well. Petrarch’s often-quoted line attests to the fame of the legend in the Middle Ages:

Jaufre Rudel who used the sail and oar
to seek his death
Giaufre Rudel ch’uso la vela e’l remo
a cercar la sua morte
(Trionfo d’Amore, IV, 52)

There is mention of Jaufre in Mario Equicola’s Libro di natura d’amore (Venice, 1525), in the De pulchro et de amore of Agostino Nifo (Rome, 1529), and by Petrarch’s commentators Alessandro Vellutello (1525) and Giovanni Gesualdo (1531). The most famous and elaborate treatment of Jaufre occurs in Jehan de Nostredame’s extravagant Vies des plus celebres et anciens poetes provençaux (1575), whose sources, if not wholly imaginary, are not known (for references, see Vincenti).

After the Renaissance, what was known of Jaufre was handed down in the books of the scholars and antiquarians Barbieri, Crescimbeni, Bastero, and Ste. Palaye. From this point the legend diverged to become part of the stock of nineteenth-century scholarship and a source of romantic subject matter for poets.

One of the first of these poets was Ludwig Uhland, who, through Crescimbeni’s translation, used Nostredame as a source for his Sängerliebe (1812–14), which Carducci later described as “reminiscent of stale leftovers” (“transpira un sentore di stantio riscaldato”).

Another German lyricist who was inspired by Jaufre’s legend was Vogl, in whose ballad “Melisunde” the theme was revived. Better known is Heine’s “Geoffroy Rudel und Melisende von Tripoli” in the first book (“Historien”) of his Romanzero. In Heine’s version of the legend, the princess, out of grief, instead of entering holy orders, weaves the love story into a tapestry. The ghosts of the dead lovers come out of the tapestry and live out their love:

“Melisende! Bliss and blossom!
When I look into your eyes,
I live again—dead is only
My mortal woe and sorrow!”

“Jaufre! We loved each other
Once in a dream, and now below
We love each other even in death—
The god of Love performed this miracle!”

“Melisende! Glück und Blume!
Wenn ich dir ins Auge sehe,
Leb ich auf-—gestorben ist
Nur mein Erdenleid und -wehe!”

“Geoffroy! Wir liebten uns
Einst im Traume, und jetztunder
Lieben wir uns gar im Tode—
Gott Amour tat dieses Wunder!”

In England, Robert Browning used the Jaufre legend in his “Rudel to the Lady of Tripoli,” one of the later poems of Men and Women. In this poem, Rudel has chosen as his device the sunflower, and this flower is symbolic of the poet’s songs. Bees swarm to the flower as men to songs, but the flower cares only for the sun toward which it turns. Similarly for Jaufre, who, heedless of men’s acclaim, turns only toward the East:

—Say, men feed
On songs I sing, and therefore bask the bees
On my flower’s breast as on a platform broad:
But as the flower’s concern is not for these
But solely for the sun, so men applaud
In vain this Rudel, he not looking here
But to the East—the East! Go, say this, Pilgrim dear!”

Swinburne took up the theme briefly in his poem “The Triumph of Time,” which treats of unfulfilled love. Jaufre serves Swinburne well here, and appears toward the end of the poem as “a singer of France of old.” At the end of the century A. Mary Robinson added her voice to the legend in “Rudel and the Lady of Tripoli” (The Collected Poems, London, 1902, p. 294).

In France, “Geoffroy Rudel, ou Le Troubadour. Poème en Huit Chants” was printed by M. de Lantier in Paris in 1825. But Rostand’s La princesse lointaine is perhaps the best known of the nineteenth-century versions of the Jaufre legend. The whole play is devoted to the enacting of the vida. Rostand, following Nostredame, adds that Jaufre is accompanied on the journey by the troubadour Bertran d’Alamanon, who is charged upon arrival with being messenger to the princess. Bertran falls in love with her, and she almost falls in love with him; however, she sees the error of her escape from duty and in the end remains faithful to the vida, leaving Bertran an intruder.

Carducci spanned the poetic and scholarly traditions in poem and essay. He traces the history of the Jaufre legend, and celebrates him in verse (see Bianchi). In his essay he pays homage to another Italian, Leopardi, whose Consalvo contains significant parallels with the Jaufre legend.

In the twentieth century the castle of Blaye and the distant love appear in the Cantos of Ezra Pound (Canto 65, p. 371), where Jaufre is briefly mentioned. Most recently, Jaufre appears in Alfred Dablin’s novel, Hamlet.()

Editorial Policy for This Text and Translation

This edition differs from Stimming’s in not being in principle simply a conglomerate of the best readings, with no base manuscript. It differs from Jeanroy’s edition in not using C as the base for every poem except No. 3, in containing graphies more faithful to the base manuscript than are Jeanroy’s, and in the choice of some readings. We also differ from Monaci’s choice of base manuscripts for Nos. 1, 3, 5, and 6. We differ from Pickens in not treating every graphic version found in the manuscripts as a separate poetic version. We consider that there is not more than one basic version for any of the six songs (with the possible exception of No. 5); the manuscripts contain more or less corrupt versions, and some manuscripts contain stanzas which we follow tradition in judging to be apocryphal: most of the interpolated stanzas, from a stylistic point of view, are clearly not Jaufre’s. Essentially, we choose a base manuscript for graphic uniformity but are not committed solely to that manuscript for substantive readings.

We assume, except in one case, that the corpus of Jaufre’s poems is uncontroversial, and we follow tradition in attributing them to him. Jaufre’s style is quite recognizable, and the pervasive theme of the distant love further helps to consolidate the corpus. We take the biographer’s judgment of paubres motz (poor words) to be significant and characteristic of Jaufre’s poetry: the style is simple, and wholly lacks exotic or esoteric words. It is for this reason, as well as for its meter, that we reject Qui no sap esser chantaire. This song is much more in the vein of later troubadours, such as Raimbaut of Orange, who would be expected to use such complex words as Zaire, bauza, sauza, acatat, an image such as bat fer freg (beats cold iron), and to mention fals amador (false lovers), who do not appear as a major theme of Jaufre. Scholars have included this song in the corpus mainly, no doubt, because of its mention of dreaming of the lady (25–27), and of going overseas to see her (28–30). But these commonplaces seem an insufficient basis for ascribing the poem to Jaufre, and it is much more likely that an early scribe, possibly Bernart Amoros, assumed that it was by Jaufre for the same reasons. It may be a partial pastiche of Jaufre, but it is doubtful that Jaufre wrote it.

The choice of base manuscripts is controversial and, according to our view of the tradition, to some degree arbitrary. If any principle is involved, it is that we choose the manuscript which has the greatest number of best readings as well as the best grammar and syntax so far as can be judged. In the case of near-identical versions, such as AB or IK, we use the manuscript which either has the fewer anomalous readings or has the greater sanction of tradition. For example, most often A and B are practically identical, but A has a considerably larger collection of poems and has most consistently been used by editors. Pickens’s edition, which prints, annotates, and translates every version (in his sense), is most useful for establishing the best manuscript for each song.

For 1 and 2 (Pickens’s 3 and 4; he follows the order of Jeanroy, who followed Stimming) the choice is straightforward: we use C as a base, and supplement with e3 where C is lacking. The versions of C and e3 are extremely close. For 3 (Pickens’s 6) the version of Ee 3 is clearly the least corrupt. C contains interpolated stanzas, lacks most of stanza 5, and makes an obvious jumble of the middle stanzas. Meg does the same, and is cut short as well. R lacks the interpolated stanzas but mixes up stanzas 2 and 5 and is generally less careful in its language. The second best version is perhaps a, though it is quite syntactically corrupt and also suffers from interpolation. A and B contain the best version of 4 (Pickens’s 2); every other manuscript suffers from interpolation although there is an element of the arbitrary here since there is, in the authentic stanzas, very little deviation . in substantive readings, and CMeb give, except for the apocryphal stanzas, the same basic text.

For 5 (Pickens’s r) the tradition divides into two forms, one (ABDIKMN2Sgeg) containing the interpolated stanzas “A” and “B,” the other (CER) containing stanzas 2 and 3. Here we follow Jeanroy in choosing C as the base (R lacks stanza 6; E is slightly inferior in its readings). A and B are the only manuscripts which contain all eight stanzas of 6 (Pickens’s 5). All the other manuscripts except C and R also have conglomerated some of the individual stanzas. This song, however, is another which has comparatively few substantive variants despite the multifariousness of the manuscript representation. It is primarily the stanza order which is controversial. We have chosen C’s order for its greater poetic logic, which we interpret as follows. The second stanza introduces the notion of pilgrimage for the first time: the poet’s desire to be captured by the Saracens (stanza 5) seems arbitrary without this introduction. Similarly, the mention of pas (or portz) e camis in stanza 4, since it is clearly in a context of pilgrimage, also seems arbitrary without the previous introduction. Moreover, the beginning of stanza 4 tends to presuppose the decision to depart which is provided in stanza 3. There the poet refers to the “distant lodging” which he will seek; and the “distant lodging” is a natural next step once the idea of pilgrimage has been introduced, as in stanza 2. Thus, the hopeful pilgrim’s progression is best represented by Cs order: the idea of pilgrimage (2), the thought of being sheltered once there (3), the departure 6f the pilgrim once he has arrived at his destination (4). Stanza 5 seems a natural culmination of the series, where the poet affirms that he is ready to be captured by the Saracens. From this to the invocation to God seems a likely progression; in any event, stanza 6 does not have specifically to do with pilgrimage and so should at least come before or after the series of stanzas 2345. Stanza 7 goes with the envoi, and comes last in all manuscripts which contain it but which lack the envoi.

The order of the poems is also one of the controversial topics of Jaufre studies. Stimming’s order conforms to his idea of Jaufre’s poetico-biographical development. Jeanroy follows Stimming, and Pickens Jeanroy, for convenience of reference. All editors place Nos. 1 and 2 somewhere in the middle of the corpus, and I always precedes 2. We have followed previous editors in placing 1 before 2, but we are the first to place 1 and 2 at the beginning of the corpus. We take these poems to be early efforts of Jaufre. They seem the least spiritual of all the poems, and nowhere make reference to external persons or events. In these two poems the theme of amor de lonh, while clearly incipient, is still undeveloped.

We follow the scholars who see references to the crusade in songs 4 and 5. It is likely that No. 4 is sent to Hugh of Lusignan in connection with the latter’s departure for the Holy Land; this would have been an excellent reason for mentioning him, especially if Jaufre were himself planning to depart later. We take No. 5 to be written after 4 because of the lines Amors, alegres part de vos / per so quar vau mo mielhs queren. This seems to be a reference to the crusade and is followed by a concluding stanza exhorting the worthy to depart for Bethlehem. It is quite possible that the Bon Guiren in line 33 is William VI Taillefer, thanks to whom Jaufre was able to go on crusade. The reference is not certain, however. In any event, the lines of Poem 5 quoted above suggest that Jaufre was closer to departure than in Poem 4.

Poem 3 refers to Lord Bertrand, taken by scholars to be the bastard son of Alphonse-Jourdain, “in Quercy;” and to Alphonse Jourdain himself “in Toulouse.” If Bertrand was in Quercy and Alphonse-Jourdain in Toulouse at the time, then this song must predate August of 1147, when Alphonse-Jourdain set sail for Acre.

Since there is not yet any mention of the crusade, it seems likely that No. 3 pre-dates the songs which do mention the crusade, and so should be placed before them. This leaves No. 6, which we take to be a culmination of Jaufre’s literary achievement though there is no real basis for dating it.
Following modern convention, i and j, u and v have been distinguished where only i and u appear in the manuscripts.()



A - Rome, Bibl. Vaticana, lat. 5232 (13th c., Italy)

B - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 1592 (13th c., Italy (Jeanroy) or S. France (Brunel))

C - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 856 (14th c., S. France)

D - Modena, Bibl. Estense, R.4.4, Estero 45 (13th and 14th cc., Italy)

E - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 1749 (14th c., S. France)

I - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 854 (13th c., Italy)

K - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 12473 (13th c., Italy)

L - Rome, Bibl. Vaticana, lat. 3206 (14th c., Italy)

M - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 12474 (14th c., Italy)

Ma - Madrid, Academia de la Historia, 9.24.6/4579, No. 3 (14th c., Catalonia)

N2 - Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, Phillipps 1910 (16th c., Italy)

R - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 22543 (14th c., S. France)

S - Oxford, Bodleian Library, Douce 269 (13th c., Italy)

sg - Barcelona, Bibl. Central de la Disputación Provincial de Barcelona, 146 (14th c., Catalonia)

U - Florence, Bibl. Laurenziana, plut. XLI, cod. 43 (14th c., Italy)

W - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 844 (13th c., N. France)

X - Paris, Bibl. Nationale, fr. 20050 (13th c., N. France)

a - Modena, Bibl. Estense, Campori, App. 426, 427, 494, N.8.4 11–13 (16th c. Italian copy of a (probably) early 14th. c. MS written by the S. French scribe Bernart Amoros)

b - Rome, Bibl. Vaticana, lat. 4087 (part 1, which contains poems by Jaufre, is an 18th c. Italian copy of an earlier MS)

e (b,g,3) - Rome, Bibl. Vaticana, Barb. lat. 3965 (18th c. Italy, from several earlier sources)

h - Bern, Bibl. Municipale, 389 (13th c., N. France)

α - MSS of the Breviari d’Amor of Matfre Ermengau (see ed. of P.T. Ricketts)

ε - MS of Guillaume de Dôle, Rome, Bibl. Vaticana, Reg. lat 1725 (13th c., N. France)()








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