Collection of Letters: Detail
- Provençal poet
I was living pleasantly, serenely and peacefully I
the day that Love entered my heart,
for I neither loved nor was loved,
nor did I feel any ill or injury from love.
Now I do not know what love is or what it is all about,
for I am in love with a lady who does not love me at all,
and yet, all that I possess I have from her
and I would have the whole world from her if it were mine.
I have my feelings from her in place of other riches, II
and my songs in place of knightly valour,
and if I were a king, a duke or an emir
I would accomplish splendid deeds of prowess for love of her,
but lacking the power that befits them,
for serving her I have my noble faith,
and when she has clearly recognized it,
she ought to accept noble faith in place of other riches.
I am enriched indeed by the hardship you cause me! III
To suffer without complaint! May God grant me joy in this!
And I am poor when you do not look at me,
but display fine manners to others around you
and give me no kindly look, though I love you.
Ah, God! I woo more than it is right for me to do!
And if I ask what would ill befit me,
it is the force of love which makes me speak these foolish words.
For, [like a fool,]I lose my senses when I see your IV charms,
like Gawain's brother-in-law when the ruffian
took away his sons from him because of a dispute
and sought his daughter to do her outrage;
and the next day he was to deliver her to him with his own hands
until Yvain took up their defence. And
may mercy and courtliness take up my defence with you,
although you wish me to have no protector in this!
I consider myself well [protected] by the slanderers -- V
though no one else ever does this, I give myself as pledge for it --
since they have exiled me from the country where you dwell,
for this much kindness the true God showed me,
since I would otherwise have died; for a true lover dies of longing
when he sees the object of his great desire and she gives him no help,
so that I would rather Love slay me here
far away from her than there if I could not possess her.
I cannot possess her, for there is so much good VI and beauty in her that I must flee her!
And will I remain without a lady as long as I may live?
If I do not have you, may I remain without a lady!
An excellent countess is she who is the mainstay of VII Provence
and who turns all evil there to good;
supreme is she in renown and supreme in courtliness,
so that Savoy and Lombardy increase in worth.
Gen m'estava e suau e en paz I
Lo iorn c'Amors entret en mon corage,
Q'eu non amava ni non er'amaz
Ni'm sentia d'amor mal ni dampnage.
Ara non sai qi s'es ni s'edeve,
Q'eu am cella qe il no m'ama re,
E si'n tenc eu tot cant ai en bailia
E tot lo mond, si fos meus, en tenria.
Lo cor en tenc en loc d'autras rictaz II
E mas chanchonz en loc de vasalage
E, s'ieu fos reis ni ducx ni amiraz,
Farai ricx faitz per s'amor e barnage;
E car non ai lo poder qe'llz cove,
A lei servir eu ai ma bona fe,
E bona fe, qi ben la conosia,
Deu ja prender en loc de manentia.
Ben son maneinz del maltrag qe'm donaz! III
Soffrir en paz! Deus m'en don alegrage!
E soi paubres qant vos no m'esgardaz
Et als autres d'entorn fas bel usage
E mi, qe'us am, non esgardatz per be.
E Deu! Domney mais qe no m'en conve.
Et s'eu qer so q'a mi no's tagneria,
Forza d'amor mi fa dir la folia.
C'a fol m'espert qant vei vostras beltaz, IV
Com lo cugnatz de Galvan per salvage,
Can per guerra n'ac totz sos filz menaz
Et sa filla qeria per oltrage;
E l'endeman redia la'il ab se
Entro qu'Yvans los defendet. E me
Defend'a vos merces e cortesia,
E si voletz ia ren guirenz no'n sia.
Dels lausengiers me tenc molt per garaz V
-- Zo qe no fa hom mais, de mi l'engage! --
Car m'an faidit del pais on estaz!
Q'en tan m'era lo vers Deus d'agradage
Q'eu fora morz; qe fins amics qan ve
Zo ch'ama fort e l'altra pro no i te,
Mor de desir, don voill mais qe m'aucia
Amors cai loing, qe lai si non l'avia!
Aver non puesc, qe tan i a de be VI
Et de beutat, c'a fugir m'en ave!
E ses domna serai tant qant viu sia?
Si vos non ai, e q'ieu ses donna sia!
Pro contess'es qui Proenza mante VII
Et tot lo mal i fai tornar en be;
Caps es de prez e caps de cortesia
Per q'en val mais Savoia e Lombardia!
The attribution of this poem to Giraut is questioned by his most recent editor, Ruth Sharman, and the dating also raises questions. The reference to Savoia in the poem makes it likely that it refers to Beatrice of Savoy, but she only became countess of Provence in 1219, and it is unlikely that Giraut was still alive and composing then.
The mention of Gawain and Yvain is presumably a reference to Chretien de Troyes's Roman d'Yvain, Le Chevalier au Lion.
Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, Plut.XLI, cod.42.
The cansos and sirventes of the troubadour Giraut de Borneil: a critical edition, ed. Ruth Verity Sharman (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1989) with translations, 302-05.