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A letter from Elias de Barjols (1225-28)

Translated letter: 

I. One should with one's good lord
love and serve
and honor and obey,
for his honor in every way,
and with a bad lord without mercy,
when he destroys/undoes his people,
one who can should remove himself
since his service does him no good.
II. In the same way one should from love
depart with good reason,
when one sees that she cannot give joy,
nor help, nor want to;
which is why I depart, constrained and discouraged
by love to whom I am suppliant,
for never has she wanted to benefit me
nor has she had pity on me.
III. I have departed from the error
in which love used to hold me,
and from the long desire,
for which I do not feel pain;
and, if I never derived much from the bad
nor rejoiced at all in the good,
it is hard for me to relate her ills
because I am so faithful to her.
IV. Never will they hear from me
a deceiving semblance,
nor will my treacherous eyes
make me languish/lose strength,
for he is a fool who believes his foolish eyes,
many times, so it seems to me,
and a fool who looks too much
at what is not suitable or fitting for him.
V. To the valiant emperor
I want to show and say
that God is angry with all
but his servants;
and since God has given him the wherwithal,
may he preserve the emperor rightly
for no one can derive more
than the good he will do.
VI. Countess Beatrice, great good
I hear said and related of you,
for you are the most beautiful
of the ladies seen in the world.
VII. Sir Blacas does give up
enhancing his real worth,
rather he is more valiant than he used to be
and betters and increases what he has.

Original letter: 

I. Ben deu hom son bon senhor
amar e servir
et honrar, et obezir
a tota s'onor,
e demal senhor ses merce,
quant ponha'los sieus en desfaire,
se deu hom qui pot estraire,
quant sos servizis pro no'lh te.
II. Atressi's deu hom 'amor
per bon dreg partir,
quant ve que no'n pot iauzir
ni'l val ni'l acor;
per qu'ie'm part forsatz e'm recre
d'amor cuy suy merceyaire,
car anc iorn no'm volc ben faire
ni non ac chauzimen de me.
III. Partitz me suy de l'error,
en que'm sol tenir
amors, e del lonc dezir,
don non sen dolor;
e s'eu anc dels mals trais granre
e dels bes no'm lausei guaire,
sos dans m'es greus a retraire
aitan li port de bona fe.
IV. Ia mais semblant trichador
no'm poiran ausir
ni'll meu no'm faran languir
huelh gualiador,
quar folhs es qui sos folhs huelhs cre,
mayntas vetz, so m'es veiaire,
e fols qui trop es guardaire
d'aisso que no'l tanh ni'l cove.
V. Al valent emperador
vuelh mostrar e dir
que totz met Dieus en azir
mas son servidor;
e pus Dieus l'a donat de que,
sera'l a dreg l'emperaire
qu'om del mon no pot plus traire
mas tant quant aura fach de be.
VI. Comtessa Beatris, gran be
aug de vos dir e retraire,
quar del mon etz la belaire
de las autras dompnas qu'om ve.
VII. En Blacas ies no se recre
de son fin pretz enan-traire
ans val mais que no sol faire
e melhur' e creys so que te.

Historical context: 

Elias was at the court of Provence in the time of Raymond Berengar's father, Alfonso, and wrote poems for Raymond's mother countess Garsenda (#5-8), herself a poet, as well as for Beatrice (#10-13) and for Beatrice's mother, Margeurite (9). The emperor alluded to in stanza V is Frederick II, whose relations with Raymond Berengar and Blacatz were good in the 1220's. Blacatz was a principal patron of Elias.

Printed source: 

Le Troubadour Elias de Barjols, ed. Stanislas Stronski (Toulouse: Edouard Privat, 1906), 29-32, #12.

date

1225-28