Cathars and Cathar Beliefs in the Languedoc
Troubadour Works




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"Kill Them All ... "






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A Cathar Glossary

Troubadour Works about Cathars and Catholics


In the popular imagination Cathars and Troubadours are closely connected. In truth they do not seem to have been. They lived in the same places at the same time, but they had very different and often conflicting ideas. On the other hand they were both regarded as enemies by the Catholic Church, so did at least have that much in common. Also, both enjoyed the patronage of Occitan lords.

As far as we know, most troubadours were Catholics - a famous bishop of Toulouse had been a troubadour in his earlier days. On the other hand Occitan Catholics often criticized the excesses and intolerance of French Catholic Crusaders, Inquisitors and other churchmen.

Whether or not they were Cathars, and however much they criticized the Catholic Church, they often took the precaution of slipping into their work a explicit mention of their acceptance of Catholic doctrines, especially ones that Cathars disputed such as the resurrection of the dead or transubstantiation.

Here we give some relevant troubadour works with English translations

Guilhem Augier Novella, bemoans the shameful death of the young Viscount Raymond-Roger Trencavel who died in his own prison after Carcassonne fell to the Crusaders (in Quascus plor e planh son damnatge)

Peire Cardenal was one of two troubadours who wrote most vehemently against the Catholic Church in works such as Ab votz d'angel (against the Dominicans); Clergue si fan pastor (where clerics pretend to be shepherds, but are really ravening wolves, a charge against Catholic churchmen also made by the Cathars); Un estribot farai, que er mot maistratz (exposing the Black Monks' {Benedictines'} reputation for seducing women); and UN sirventes vuelh far dels auls glotos (directed against monks, "vile gluttons who sell God").

Guilhem Figueira / Guilhem Figuera was the other. His works included Nom laissarai per paor and an uncompromising sirventés against the Pope: UN sirventés farai en est son que m'agensa or "Sirventes contra Roma"

Another work, too long to include here is the Canso, or Song of the Crusade.





Guilhem Augier Novella

Peire Cardenal

Guilhem Figueira / Guilhem Figuera

Peire Vidal






Peire Cardenal
BnF MS. 12473 fol.149


Guilhem Figueira
BnF MS 854 fol. 109v


Peire Vidal
BnF MS. 12473 fol. 27.













Guilhem Augier Novella


Guilhem Augier Novella's career is virtually unknown, but his nickname 'novella' implies that he specialised in narrative poems, or noms.


Guilhem Augier Novella, Quascus plor e planh son damnatge

This is a planh (a pluncrus, mourning lament) for Raymond Roger Trencavel, viscount of Bézicrs, Carcassonne and Albi. lt may have been composed shortly after the young viscount's mysterious death, imprisoned by Simon de Montfort, and it depicts him as a Christ like figure.

Source: Le Jordi Savall, libretto of the Opera "Le royaume oublié - La croisade contre les Albigeois - La tragédie Cathare"

Quascus plor e planh son dampnatge,
sa malenans'e sa dolor.
Mais yeu las! N'aie mon coratge
tan gran ir'e tan gran tristor,
que ja mos jorns planh ni plorat
non aurai lo valent prezat,
lo pros Vescomte, que mortz es,
de Bezers, l'ardit e•l cortes,
lo gay e.l mielhs adreg e.l blon,
lo mellor cavallier del mon.

Each man weeps and laments his loss,
his ill fortune and his woe.
But, alas, my heart is swollen
with such great rage and sorrow
that, even a lifetime's grief
and tears are not enough to mourn that brave,
beloved, noble viscount of Béziers,
]Who is dead]
the cheerful, dexterous, knight with golden hair,
the best the world has ever seen.

Mort l'an, et anc tan gran otrage
no vi hom ni tan gran error
fach mai ni tan gran estranhatge
de Dieu et a Nostre Senhor,
cum an fag li can renegat
dels fals linhatge de Pilat
que l'an mort; e pus Dieus mort pres
per nos a salvar, semblans es
de lui, qu'es passatz al sieu pon
per los sieus estorser, l'aon.

They have killed him, and never was such outrage
nor such terrible wrong endured.
Never was there seen such a godless act.
nor one so heinous to Our Lord,
as that committed by those renegade dogs
of Pilate's criminal horde.
They have killed him; and as God did die
for our salvation, so did he;
for, heedless of his own interests,
he put his people's freedom above all

Mil cavalhier de gran linhatge
e mil dompnas de gran valor
iran per la sua mort arratge,
mil borzes et mil servidor,
que totz foran gentheretat,
s'el visques, e ric et honrat.
Ar est mortz! Ai dieus, quals dans es!
Gardatz quals etz ni es pres,
ni selhs qui l'an mort, cui ni don,
qu'eras acuelh respon.

A thousand knights of noble lineage
and a thousand ladies of great worth
despaired at the news that he was dead;
likewise, a thousand burghers and a thousand servers,
who, if only that knight had lived, would have grown
in wealth and honour and power.
Now he is dead! Oh, God, what disarray!
Consider who Thou art and whom they have taken away,
and who has slain him, and whence they came;
for he never more shall greet us, and he never shall answer again.

Ric cavalier, ric de linhatge,
ric per erguelh, ric per valor,
ric de sen, ric per vassallatge,
ric per dar e bon servidor,
ric d'orguelh, ric d'umilitat,
ric de sen e ric de foudat,
belhs e bos, complitz de totz bes,
anc no fo nulhs hom valgues.
Perdut avem en vos la fon
d'on tug veniam jauzion.

O Knight, so rich in lineage,
so rich in pride and valour,
rich in judgment, rich in vassalage,
rich in bounty and a servant true,
rich in pride and in humility,
rich in reason and in lover's folly,
good and comely, with all qualities endowed,
there never was a man to match your worth.
In you we have lost the fountain
whence our joys all flowed.


Belhs papaguais, anc tan vezat
no.m tenc amors, c'ar plus torbat
no.m tenga e.l dan que ai pres
del melhor Senhor c'anc nasques
aitan can clau mar en redon,
que m'an mort trachor, no sai don


O beautiful plumed parrot, never was my heart
so stirred to joy by love as now
it is tormented by my loss
of the finest knight that ever was born
upon this sea-encircled earth.
Traitors from I know not where have killed my lord.










Peire Cardenal


Peire Cardenal (or Cardinal) (c. 1180 - c. 1278) was a troubadour (fl. 1204-1272) known for his satirical sirventes and his dislike of the clergy. Ninety-six pieces of his remain, a number rarely matched by other poets of the age.

Cardenal was born in Le Puy-en-Velay, apparently of a noble family. He was educated as a canon, but he abandoned his career in the church for "the vanity of this world", according to his vida. Peire began his career at the court of Raymond VI of Toulouse. A document of 1204 refers to a Petrus Cardinalis as a scribe of Raymond's chancery. At Raymond's court, however, he appears to have been known as Peire del Puoi or Puei (French: Pierre du Puy). Around 1238 he wrote a partimen beginning Peire del Puei, li trobador with Aimeric de Pegulhan.

Peire subsequently travelled widely, visiting the courts of Auvergne, Les Baux, Foix, Rodez, and Vienne. During his travels he was accompanied by a suite of jongleurs.

In his early days he was a vehement opponent of the French, the clergy and the Albigensian Crusade. In Li clerc si fan pastor he condemned the "possession" of the laity by the clergy, for so long as the clergy order it, the laity will "draw their swords towards heaven and get into the saddle." This poem was written probably around 1245, after the First Council of Lyon, where the clergy took action against the Emperor Frederick II, but not against the Saracens. In Atressi cum per fargar Peire suggests that the clergy "protect their own swinish flesh from every blade", but they do not care how many knights die in battle. Peire was not an opponent of Christianity or even the Crusades. In Totz lo mons es vestitiz et abrazatz he urged Philip III of France, who had recently succeeded his father, Louis IX, who died in 1270 on the failed Eighth Crusade, to go to the aid of Edward Longshanks, then on the Ninth Crusade in Syria.

By the end of his life he appears reconciled to the new modus vivendi in southern France. He died at an advanced age (allegedly one hundred years old) possibly either in Montpellier or Nimes.

Peire Cardenal
BnF MS. 12473 fol.149





Peire Cardenal, Ab votz d'angel


Peire Cardenal, 'Ab votz d'angel' (Lavaud, 28, but this translation follows the stanza order and re-edition of S. Vatteroni, 'Le poesie di Peire Cardenal, I', Stuali mediolatini e volgari 36 (I990), pp. 73-259)

This is an attack on the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans, who are called here by the name 'Jacobins', which they acquired in Paris. In I233, Pope Gregory IX gave the Friars Preacher the task of investigating heresy. They took only one of the three monastic vows, that of obedience. In common with other polemicists of the thirteenth century, Cardenal claims that they disregard the vows of poverty or chastity.

The incipit alludes to Saint Paul (I Cor. 13:1): 'lf l speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only at resounding gong, or a clanging cymbal.'

Ab votz d'angel, lengu'esperta, non bleza,
Ab motz sotils, plans plus c'obra d'engles,
Ben assetatz, ben ditz e sens repreza,
Miels escoutatz, ses tossir, que apres,
Ab plans, sanglotz, mostran la via
De Jhesu-Crist, que quex deuria
Tener, com el per nos la volc tener.
Van prezican com puescam Dieu vezer....

With the voices of angels, an expert tongue that doesn't gabble, with subtle words smoother than English cloth, well combined, well-spoken without repetition, better listened to without coughing than learned, with lamentations and sobbing they show the path of Jesus Christ that everyone should follow, just as He wished to take it for us. They go preaching to us about
how we might see God.

Si non, con il, mangem la bona freza
E-l mortairol si batut c'o-l begues,
E-l gras sabrier de galina pageza
E, d'autra part, jove jusvert ab bles,
E vin qui millior non poiria,
Don Franses plus leu s'enebria.--
S'ab bel vieure, vestir, manjar, jazer
Conquer hom Dieu, be-l poden conquerer

Let us eat good tripe with them, almond cream so smooth you could drink it, the fatty broth of country hens, or else some fresh verjuice with Swiss chard, and the best possible wine, the one that gets Frenchmen drunk the fastest. If it is possible to conquer God by living, dressing, eating and bedding well, then they can truly conquer Him…

Aissi con cil que bevon la serveza
E manjo-l pan de juel e de regres,
E-l bro del gras buou lur fai gran fereza
Et onchura d'oli non volon ges,
Ni peis fresc gras de pescaria,
Ni broet ni salsa que fria.
Per qu'ieu conseil qui 'n Dieu a son esper
C'ab lurs condutz passe, qui 'n pot aver.

…. just like those who drink beer, who eat bread made of rye and bran, who find fatty ox broth repugnant, who do not want any seasoning with oil, nor any plump farmed fish, nor gruel, nor fried sauce. This is why I would advise whoever is placing their hope in God to eat their pittance, if he can get some.

Religios fon, li premieir', enpreza
Per gent que treu ni bruida non volgues,
Mas jacopin apres manjar n'an queza,
Ans desputan del vin, cals mieillers es,
Et an de plaitz cort establia
Et es Vaudes qui-ls ne desvia!
E los secretz d'ome volon saber
Per tal que miels si puescan far temer.

The first religious Orders were set up by people who didn't want any bother or noise, but after eating, the Jacobins do not stay silent. Instead, they dispute over the wine, establishing which the best is, and they have set up a court to judge cases, and whoever turns them away from that goal is said to be a Waldensian. They want to know the secrets of all men, all the better to make themselves feared.

Esperitals non es la lur paubreza:
Gardan lo lor prenon so que mieus es.
Per mols gonels, tescutz de lan' engleza,
Laisson selis, car trop aspre lur es.
Ni parton ges lur draparia
Aissi com sains Martins fazia:
Mas almornas, de c'om sol sostener
La paura gent, volon totas aver..

Their poverty is not spiritual: they keep what is theirs and they take what is mine. They prefer soft tunics woven from English wool to the hair shirt, because it is too harsh for them. They do not share their cloth as Saint Martin did, but they want to receive all the alms that used to support the poor.

Ab prims vestirs, amples, ab capa teza,
D'un camelin d'estiu, d'invern espes,
Ab prims caussatz -- solatz a la francesa
Can fai gran freg -- de fin cuer marselhes,
Ben ferm liatz per maistria,
Car mal liars es grans follia,
Van prezicant, ab lur sotil saber,
Qu'en Dieu servir metam cor e aver.

Dressed in light, ample garments, with a woven cape made of camlet in summer and of thick fabric in winter, well shod, with French-style soles when it is very cold, made of Marseilles leather, firmly laced up with a masterful hand (for lacing up badly is a great folly), off they go preaching, with their subtle learning, that we should place our heart and our belongings in God.

S'ieu fos maritz, mot agra gran fereza
C'oms desbraiatz lonc ma moiller segues,
Qu'ellas e il an faudas d'un' ampleza
E fuoc ab grais fort leumen s'es enpres.
De beguinas re no-us diria:
Tals es turgua que fructifia,
Tals miracles fan, aiso sai per ver:
De sainz paires saint podon esser l'er.

If I were married I would be very afraid if a man without breeches sat down next to my wife, because they have skirts that are as wide as hers, and a fire can light easily if grease is dropped on it. I'll say nothing to you about the Beguines: one is sterile who can suddenly bear fruit. They work such miracles, that I know: saints can be the heirs of saintly fathers.


Peire Cardenal, Atressi cum per fargar

In Atressi cum per fargar Peire suggests that the clergy "protect their own swinish flesh from every blade", but they do not care how many knights die in battle.


Atressi com per fargar
Es hom fabres per razo,
Es hom laires per emblar
E tracher per tracio:
Que d'aquel mestier qu'om fai
Li aven us noms e-l n'eschai,
Que tal en sai--que, s'om o auzes dire,
Per so c'a fag for' apellatz traire


En Velai si fan joglar
Del saber de Gainelo!
Per que es dig qu'om si gar
Si co-l proverbis despo:
Ja no-t fizar en Velai
Ni en clergue ni en lai,
Qu'un pauc retrai-- al premier trabustire
Que fes Cayms, don avem auzit dire.


Ben es fols qui cuia far
Aisso que anc fach non fo!
Qu'en cug trachors chastiar
E treball m'en en perdo,
Que si Dieus non los deschai
Mais n'er que d'anhels en mai.
Que quan l'us trai -- ab fatz et ab aucire
L'autre ab ditz e l'autre ab escrire.


Quan trachor troba son par,
D'aquel fai son compainho,
Qu'a tracion apastar
An ops trachor e gloto.
E quan l'us trais desai
E l'autre trais delai,
E quan l'us vai -- l'autre fai lo martire,
Quan l'us lassa, l'autre-s pensa l'albire.


Trachor soli'om cassar
E penre coma lairo,
E aras lo ten hom car
E'n fai sescalc o bailo!
E si gran prelatz i chai
D'un fort gran trachor verai,
A hom esmai - que-l puesca el luoc assire
Qu'en sia donz e segner e regire.




Peire Cardenal, Clergue si fan pastor

(Lavaud, 29)

The poem combines a classroom fable (the hungry wolf Ysengrin disguises himself in sheep's clothing to get close to some sheep) and Scripture: 'Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves,' (Matt. 7:15). A 'False prophet' is the messenger of Antichrist in the Apocalypse (Rev. 13).

Cobla 5 criticises the papacy for neglecting crusades in the East in favour of waging war on Emperor Frederick II.

According to an inquisition deposition concerning the period 1299- 1300, a knight of Pamiers called Guilhem Saisset recited this sirventés to a friend and fellow knight, Bertrand of Taïx, while both of them were standing in the front stalls of the cathedral choir. Guilhem was poking fun at his brother, Bernard Saisset, the bishop of Pamiers, who was celebrating mass in front of them. Bertrand of Taïx was notorious for his anticlerical views and he asked Guilhem Saisset to teach him the song. Bertrand later taught it to others. The poem thereby became one of the few fragments of troubadour poetry to be inserted into an inquisition Register.

Clergue si fan pastor
E son aucizedor!
E par de gran sanctor
Qui los vei revestir,
E•m pren a sovenir
Que n'Ezengris,un dia,
Volc ad un parc venir:
Mas pels cans que temia
Pel de mouton vestic
Ab que los escarnic,
Puois manget e traic
Tot so que li•abelic.

Clerics pretend to be shepherds,
But they are killers;
The likeness of sanctity is on them
When you see them in their habit,
And it puts me in mind
That Master Ysengrim, one day,
Wanted to get into a sheepfold,
and because he feared the dogs
he put on the skin of a sheep
with which he tricked them all.
Then he gobbled and glutted
As much as he liked

Rei e emperador,
Duc, comte e comtor
E cavalier ab lor
Solon lo mon regir!
Ara vei possezir
A clers la seinhoria
Ab tolre e ab trair
E ab ypocrezia,
Ab forsa e ab prezic!
E tenon s'a fastic
Qui tot non lor o gic
E sera, quan que tric.

Kings, emperors,
Dukes, counts, viscounts,
And knights, together,
Used to rule the world.
Now I see the power
In the hands of clerics
With stealing, betrayal,
Violence, and sermons,
And they are highly offended
If you don't hand it all over to them,
And so it shall be, though it may take a while

Aissi can son major
Son ab mens de valor
Et ab mais de follor,
Et ab meins de ver dir
Et ab mais de mentir,
Et ab meins de paria
Et ab mais de faillir,
Et ab meins de clerzia.
Dels fals clergues o dic:
Que anc hom non auzic
A Dieu tant enemic
De sai lo tems antic.

The greater they are
The less they are worth
And the greater their folly,
The less their truth-telling
And the greater their lying,
The less their friendship
And the greater their dereliction,
And the less they keep faith with their calling.
Of false clerics I say this:
I have never heard of any man
So great an enemy to God
Since the ancient of days.

Can son en refreitor
No m'o tenc ad honor,
C'a la taula aussor
Vei los cussons assir
E premiers s'escaussir.
Aujas gran vilania:
Car i auzon venir
Et hom no los en tria.
Pero anc non lai vic
Paubre cusson mendic
Sezen laz cusson ric:
D'aitan los vos esdic.

When I am in a refectory
It's no great honour to me,
Because up at the high table
I see those shysters sitting
And the first to serve themselves the soup.
Listen to this great villainy:
That such truck dare to come there
And no one picks them out.
On the other hand, I never saw
One poor begging shyster there
Sitting next to any well-established shyster:
Of that much, anyway, I exonerate them.

Ja non aion paor
Alcais ni Almansor
Que abat ni prior
Los anon envazir
Ni lor terras sazir,
Que afans lor seria!
Mas sai son en cossir
Del mon consi lor sia
E com en Frederic
Gitesson de l'abric:
Pero tals l'aramic
Qui fort no s'en jauzic.

Let the Arab chiefs
And sultans never fear
That abbots or priors
Might ever attack them
And take their lands,
For that would be hard work.
No, they stay home rapt in thought,
How the whole world might be theirs
And how they might have cast
Lord Frederick from his sanctuary.
But there was one who attacked him
And did not rejoice in it much.

Clergue, qui vos chauzic
Ses fellon cor enic
En son comte faillic,
C'anc peior gent non vic.

Clerics, whoever depicted you
Without a cruel and vicious heart
Erred in his account,
For a worse breed I never saw.


Peire Cardenal, Un estribot farai, que er mot maistratz

(Pillet 335, 64)


A comment on the Black Monks' reputation as seducers of women - some of the terminology is not for the sensitive!

Un estribot farai, que er mot maistratz,
De motz novels e d'al e de divnitatz.

I'll write an estribot that will be masterful,
full of art, new words and holy thoughts.

--Qu'ieu ai en Dieu crezensa que fon de maire natz,
D'una santa pieusela, per queol mons es salvatz.
E es paire e filhs e santa trinitatz,
E es en tres personas e una unitatz.
E cre queol cels eol tros ne fos per el traucatz
E'n trabuquet los angels: can los trobet dampnatz.
E crey que sans Joans lo tenc entre sos bratz
E•l bateget en l'aigua, et flum, can fo propchatz!
E conoc be la senha abanchas que fo natz:
El ventre de sa maire que•s volvc al destre latz
E cre Rom'e sant Peire a cuy fon comandatz
Jutge de penedensa, de sen e de foldatz.

For I believe in a God born of mother,
a holy virgin, through whom the world is saved.
He is the Father, Son and Holy Trinity,
and thus three persons in one, and I believe
that He opened the heavens' vault
and threw down the angels He found guilty,
and I believe Saint John held Him in his arms
and baptized Him in the river's water
and recognized Him before He was born
by moving within His mother's womb"
And I believe in Rome, and in Saint Peter,
judge of penitence, good sense and folly.

--Mas so non crezon clergue que fan las falcetatz,
Que son larc d'aver penre et escas de bontatz,
E son bel per la cara et ore de peccatz,
E devedon als autres d'aco que fan lurs atz,
E en loc de matinas an us ordes trobatz
Que jazon ab putanas trool solelhs es levatz,
Enans canton baladas e prozels trasgitatz:
Abans conquerran Dieu Cayfas o Pilatz.

But treacherous churchmen don't believe such things
they love to take but skimp with their bounty,
they present charming faces but are horrible in sin,
they prohibit others from what they themselves enjoy
and instead of matins they've invented a new office
which involves lying with a whore till sunrise e
and then singing ballades and proses full of gaiety.
Caiaphas and Pilate will attain God long before them.

--Monge solon estar dino los mostiers serratz
On azoravan Dieu denan las magestatz,
E can son en las vilas on an lurs poestatz,
Si avetz bela femna o es homs molheratz,
El seran cobertor, si•eus peza o si•eus platz!
E can el son desus eol cons es sagelatz
Ab las bolas redondas que pendon al matratz,
Con las letras son clausas e lo traucs es serratz,
D'aqui eyson l'iretge e li essabataz
Que juron e renegon e jogon a tres datz:
Aiso fan monge negre en loc de caritatz.

Monks used to be shut inside monasteries,
worshiping God before holy images, but now
if they are in a town beneath their sway
and find you with a lovely wife or mistress,
they'll take her (however much you may protest),
and when they're on top and her cunt is plugged
with those round balls hanging from their rod,
and when the letters are sealed and the hole closed,
from this will come forth heretics and Vaudois
who promise and abjure and play with three dice:
that is what the Black Monks consider charity.

--Mon estribot fenisc, que es tot compassatz,
C'ai trag de gramatica e de divinitatz!
E si mal o ai dig, que•m sia perdonatz,
Que yeu o dic per Dieu, qu'en sia pus amatz,
E per mal estribatz

My estribot is finished: its measure's right
and it's steeped in grammar and theology,
and may I be forgiven any errors it contains.
I dedicate it to God, that He may be more loved
and also to evil-seeking




Peire Cardenal, Un sirventes vuelh far dels auls glotos

(from Lavaud, 37)

Un sirventes vuelh far dels auls glotos
Que vendon Dieu e destruzon la gen,
E prezicon qu'el vivon sanctamen.
Ab bel semblan cuobron lurs trassios:
Per qu'ieu no vuelh jamais esser selaire
De lurs crois faitz on es deslialtatz,
Pus c'atrestant e ves Dieu encolpatz
Sel que manten lairon com es lo laire.

I want to compose a sirventés about the vile gluttons who sell God, who destroy people, and who preach that we should live in sanctity. They conceal their betrayals with a fine appearance: that is why I do not ever want to be someone who hides their vicious deeds. There is Disloyalty in that, because the man who supports the thief is as guilty before God as the thief himself.

Lairon son el e renhon sobre nos:
Doncx ben em fol et ab pauc d'essien,
Pus laires es qui a lairon cossen.
Que farem doncx si no•ns en val razos
Cridem lo mal qu'ilh fan o que fan faire,
Si que puescon conoisser lors peccatz
E no•s tenga negus asseguratz
Si ve desfar son vezi o son fraire.

They are thieves and they reign over us. So we are foolish indeed and we lack judgement, because the man who consents to the actions of a thief is a thief too. So what shall we do if Reason cannot help us? Let us shout about the wickedness that they commit or that they get others to do, so their sins might be recognised, and no one can feel secure if he sees his neighbour or his brother ruined.

Fraire son tug, mas no son pas engals
Las partz qu'ilh fan dels bes de Jhesu Crist.
Ai verais Dieus, c'ab•ton sanc nos remsist,
Veias com es sancta glieiza venals
Que hom no i a dignetat ni prebenda
Si non lur fai soven donar secors,
O non es neps o filhs de tos pastors,
O non cossen lor deslial fazenda.

They are all brothers, but those parts of the possessions of Jesus Christ that they share out are not equal. Ah, True God, who redeemed us with Your blood, look at how Holy Church is venal! For no man can obtain offices or livings without frequent, helpful gifts, unless he is the nephew or son of Your shepherds, or he approves of their disloyal behaviour.

Faitz an felons e ditz esperitals,
Ab votz tenen et ab coratge trist!
Ieu cug qu'el son messatge d'Antecrist:
Gardatz si d'els pot ben issir totz mals.
Mais Dieus en fai tot jorn trop bel'esmenda:
C'on plus aut son pujat en las honors,
Cazon plus bas ab penas et ab plors,
El fons d'ifern, e autre cuelh la renda.

They are of criminal deeds and spiritual words, with strong voices and with sorrowful hearts. I think they are the messengers of Antichrist. Beware: all sorts of evil could come from them. But God extracts all-too-lovely fines from these people every day. The higher they have climbed into worldly honour, the lower they fall into suffering and tears, into the depths of Hell. And another man collects their income!

Rendas queron per laissar als parens,
E anc donatz no fon tan lor amicx
Que no sia per els tengutz mendicx
Si non lor fai remembransa prezens.
Sel qui conois e sap Santa Ecriptura
Es pauc prezatz si no sap de trafey
E non conois la lur deslial lei,
Que fan semblar de tot mal tort drechura.

They seek out rents that they can bequeath to their families, and a lay brother is never such a friend to them that he will not be regarded as a beggar, unless a present he gives them can remind them of his existence.
He who reads and knows holy scripture
Is unpopular if he knows their tricks
And does not know their unfair law,
Which punishes righteousness.

Tornada .

Gardon si sel que fan de tort drechura
Que solamen fauc de lor ma rancura.

Tornada .

Let those men beware who make crime into justice, because I direct my anger towards them alone.














Guilhem Figueira / Guilhem Figuera

Guilhem Figueira or Figera was a Languedocian jongleur and troubadour from Toulouse. The son of a tailor and a tailor by trade. In 1228, Guilhem denied the efficacy of the crusade indulgence and blamed the death of King Louis VIII, who died of dysentery at the siege of Avignon, on the false indulgence which had drawn him out of the safety of Paris.

Guilhem fled to Italy in 1229 or 1230 during the second Albigensian Crusade, as he was exiled from his homeland. He took refuge in Lombardy, where he eventually made his way to Frederick's court. In Italy he and Aimery de Pégulhan, a fellow exile, helped to found a troubadour tradition of lamentation for the "good old days" of pre-Crusade Languedoc. He was active at the court of the Emperor Frederick II in the 1230s.The exiles' Lombard successors continued to employ the Occitan language and (it was not until the time of Dante Alighieri that Italian got a significant vernacular literature of its own).

In Italy, Guilhem was free to criticise the Papacy and the Crusade. He attacked the Pope for his Crusade against Frederick, his new protector, and encouraged peace in Christendom in order to help the Crusades abroad in the Holy Land. In an earlier work, Totz hom qui ben comensa e ben fenis, dated to 1215-1220, he had encouraged Frederick's decision to take up the Cross in the Holy Land. Among Guilhem's other surviving works are the sirventes Nom laissarai per paor (post-1216), which criticises the Church's false preaching, and Del preveire maior, which urges the pope and emperor to make peace and send a force to save the Holy Land from the Khwarezmians who had taken Jerusalem (1244).


Guilhem Figueira
BnF MS 854 fol. 109v


Guilhem Figueira / Guilhem Figuera, Un sirventés farai en est son que m'agensa


"A Sirventes made against Rome", "Sirventes contra Roma"
Guilhem Figueira, 'Un sirventés farai en est son que m'agensa' (Guilhem Figueim, sin provmznlischer Troubadour, ed. Emil Levy (Berlin: Liebrecht, 1880), 2, pp. 35-43)

Guilhem's most famous work, the Sirventes contra Roma ("sirventes against Rome", actually entitled D'un sirventes far), was a reprimand to the papacy, using the Metonym "Rome" for the Pope. Guilhem wrote it while he was in Toulouse besieged by the Crusaders in 1229. It was set to a famous hymn about the Virgin Mary and was therefore memorisable. Guilhem attacked the papacy not only for the Albigensian Crusade and the cruel sack of Béziers, but also for the failures of the Fourth and Fifth Crusades, papal imperialism, and the moral failings of the clergy. He alleged that avarice was the motive of the Crusades, which in his view were directed only at the Greeks, fellow Christians.

Oother songs of the Toulouse-born Guilhem Figueira show that he Was living in Lombardy around 1239. His attack on Rome may well have been intended for an audience either in Provence or Lombardy shortly after the death of Louis VIII in 1226 (see cobla 6), certainly after the fall of Damietta ended the Fifth Crusade in 1221 (cohla 5).

Figuiera's poem parodies the 22-stanza Marian song 'Flors de Paradis', (itself based on the Ave, maris stellar) which opens every stanza with the word 'Virgin'.

The singing of Figueira's sirventes was outlawed by the Inquisition in Toulouse (though the 1274 inquisition which condemned a burgher of Toulouse on the basis of knowing the Roma tricharitz does not refer to the third stanza of Guilhem's sirventes, but to a vernacular work called La Bible.)

On the basis of his language, such as the use of matrem fornicationem (mother of fornication) to describe Rome, he was considered a heretic.

D'un sirventes far en est son que m 'agenssa
no•m vuolh plus tarzar ni far longa bistenssa,
e sai ses doptar qu'ieu n'aurai malvolenssa,
si fas sirventes
dels fals, d'enjans ples,
de Roma, que es caps de la dechasenssa,
on dechai totz bes.

I do not wish to hold back from composing a sirventés using this melody (which seems suitable to me), nor do I want to prevaricate, and I am sure that I will be badly regarded afterwards because I am making this sirventés against those people who are full of deceit, who are from Rome, which is the head of decadence, and the place where all good things fall down.

Rom,' ab fois sembel tendetz vostra tezura,
e man mal morsel manjatz, qui que l'endura,
caravetz danhel ab simpla gardadura,
dedins lops rabatz,
serpens coronatz
de vibr'engenratz, per que•l diable•us cura
coma•ls sieus privatz.

Rome, you set your fishnet with false bait, and you eat many ill-gotten morsels (regardless of who finds it tolerable), for you have lambs with innocent faces who are ravenous wolves within, and crowned serpents who are born of vipers. That is why the Devil protects you as one of His closest advisers.

No•m meravilh ges, Roma, si la gens erra,
que•l segle avetz mes en trebalh et en guerra,
e pretz e merces mor per vos e sosterra,
Roma enganairitz,
qu etz de totz mals guitz
e cima e razitz, que•l bons reis d'Englaterra
fon per vos trahitz.

I no longer wonder, Rome, if people are sinning, because you have plunged the secular world into torment and war, and Worth and Mercy are killed and buried at your hands. Deceitful Rome! You are the guide, the tree-top and the root of every form of evil, to the point that the King of England was betrayed by you.

Roma enganairitz, cobeitatz vos engana,
c'a vostras berbitz tondetz trop de la lana.
Lo sains esperitz, que receup carn humana,
entenda mos prec
e franha tos becs.
Roma, no m'entrecs, car es falsa e trafana
vas nos e vas Grecs.

Cheating Rome! Greed deceives you because you are shearing too much wool from your ewes. May the Holy Spirit, who took human form, hear my prayer and smash your beak! Rome, there'll be no respite from me because you are lying and malicious with us, just as you are with the Greeks.

Roma, als homes pecs rozetz la carn e l'ossa,
e guidatz los secs ab vos inz en la fossa:
trop passatz los decs de Dieu, car trop es grossa
vostra cobeitatz,
car vos perdonatz
per deniers pechatz. Roma, de gran trasdossa
de mal vos cargatz.

Rome, you gnaw on the fiesh and the bones of weak men, and you lead the blind with you into the ditch; you break the Commandments of God because your cupidity is too vast, for you forgive sins in exchange for coins. Rome, you are loading your back with a heavy burden of evil.

Roma, ben sapchatz que vostra avols barata
e vostra foudatz fetz perdre Damiata.
Malamen renhatz, Roma. Dieus vos abata
en dechazemen,
car trop falsamen
renhatz per argen, Roma de mal'esclata
e de mal coven.

Rome, you should know that your bad negotiations and your folly lost us Damietta. You reign badly, Rome. May God strike you down into a fall, because you reign too falsely through money, Rome, you [are] of a bad seed and a bad promise.

Roma, veramen sai eu senes doptanssa
c'ab galiamen de falsa perdonanssa
liuretz a turmen lo barnatge de Franssa
lonh de paradis,
e•l bon rei Loïs,
Roma, avetz aucis, c'ab falsa predicanssa
l traissetz de Paris.

Rome! Truly, I know for sure that you delivered the army of France into torment through the trick of a false pardon. Far from Paradise - and as for King Louis, Rome, you have killed him because your false preaching lured him away from Paris.

Roma, als Sarrazis faitz vos pauc de dampnatge,
mas Grecs e Latis liuratz a carnalatge.
Inz el foc d'abis, Roma, faitz vostre estatge,
en perdicion.
fa Dieus part no•m don,
Roma, del perdon ni del pelegrinatge
que fitz d'Avinhon.

Rome! You do not harm the Saracens much, but you send Greeks and Latins to carnage, into the fire of the Pit. Rome, you have made your home in damnation. May God never make me part of that pardon or pilgrimage that you made to Avignon.

Roma, ses razon avetz mainta gen morta,
e jes no•m sab bon, car tenetz via torta,
qu'a salvacion, Roma, serratz la porta.
Per qu 'a mal govern
d'estiu e d'invern
qui sec vostr'estern, car diables l'en porta
inz el fuoc d'enfern.

Rome! You have killed many people without cause, and it does not look good to me, because you are following a twisted path, because, Rome, you are closing the door to salvation. Which is why, in summer and winter, whoever follows in your footsteps has chosen a bad leader, because the Devil takes him into the fires of Hell.

Roma, be•is decern lo mals c'om vos deu dire,
quar faitz per esquern dels crestians martire.
Mas en cal quadern trobatz c 'om deia aucire
Roma•ls crestians?
Dieus, qu es verais pans
e cotidians, me don so qu'eu desire
vezer dels Romans.

Rome! It is so easy to see the bad things that must be said about you, because, in mockery, you make martyrs of Christians. But Rome, in what book do you find the order to kill Christians? May God, (who is the true daily bread) allow me to see the fate that I would like to see befalling the Romans.

Roma, vers es pian que trop etz angoissosa
dels perdons trafans que fetz sobre Tolosa.
Trop rozetz las mans a lei de rabiosa,
Roma descordans.
Mas si•l coms prezans
viu ancar dos ans, Fransa n'er dolorosa
dels vostres engans.

Rome, it is plain and true that you were too swift in making those treacherous pardons of Toulouse; you have gnawed your hands too much, like a rabid woman. Discordant Rome! But if the courageous Count can stay alive for another two years, France will suffer for your lies.

Roma, tant es grans la vostra forfaitura
que Dieu e sos sans en gitatz a non-cura,
tant etz mal renhans, Roma falsa e tafura,
per qu'en vos s'escon
e•is magra e•is cofon
lo jois d'aquest mon. E faitz gran desmesura
del comte Raimon.

Rome! So great is your betrayal of your word that you are throwing God and the saints into oblivion, so badly do you reign. False, criminal Rome! The joy of this world hides within you, wasting away, destroyed, and you are being excessive towards Count Raymond.

Roma, Dieus l'aon e•lh don poder e forsa
al comte que ton los Frances e•ls escorsa,
e fa•n planca e pon, quand ab els se comorsa;
et a mi platz fort.
Roma, a Dieu recort
del vostre gran tort, si•l plaz; e•l comte estorsa
de vos e de mort.

Rome! May God assist him, and give the Count strength and power, for he is shearing and flaying the French; he makes a plank and a bridge of them whenever he confronts them, and that makes me glad. Rome, may God remember your great wrongdoing, and may He snatch the Count from you, and from death.

Roma, be•m conort quez en abans de gaire
venrez a mal port, si l'adreitz emperaire
mena adreich sa sort ni fai so que deu faire.
Roma, eu dic ver,
que•l vostre poder
veirem dechazer. Roma, lo vers salvaire
m 'o lais tost vezer.

Rome! I take comfort in the fact that you will soon reach a bad harbour, provided the skilful Emperor manages his fate with skill, and does what he has to do. Rome, I tell you truly that we will see your power fall, Rome, and may the true Saviour let me see this soon.

Roma, per aver faitz mainta vilania
e maint desplazer e mainta fellonia:
tant voletz aver del mon la senhoria
que ren non temetz
Dieu ni sos devetz,
anz vei que fazetz mais qu 'ieu dir non poiria
de mal, per un detz.

Rome, for the sake of wealth you do many despicable things, many unpleasant things, and you commit many felonies. So much do you want to rule the world that you fear nothing, neither God nor His defences. Instead, I see that you are doing things that are ten times worse than I could ever say.

Roma, tan tenetz estreg la vostra grapa
que so que podetz tener, greu vos escapa.
Si•n breu non perdetz poder, a mala trapa
es lo mons cazutz
e mortz e vencutz,
e•l pretz confondutz. Roma, la vostra papa
fai aitals vertutz.

Rome, so tightly do you close your clawed foot that anything held in your grip can escape only with difficulty. If you do not lose [your prey] soon, the world will fall into a bad trap, it will be dead and vanquished, and Worth will be defeated. Rome, that is the virtue performed by your pope!

Roma, cel qu 'es lutz del mon e vera vida
e vera salutz, vos don mal'escarida,
car tans mals saubutz faitz, per que lo mons crida.
Roma desleials,
razitz de totz mals,
els focs enfernals ardretz senes falhida,
si non penssatz d'als.

Rome, may He who is the light of the world, true life, and true salvation give you a bad destiny. Because you commit so many known crimes that the world cries out, 'Disloyal Rome! Root of all Evil!', you will go into the fires of Hell without fail if you do not change your way of thinking.

Roma, als cardenals vos pot hom sobreprendre
per los criminals pecatz que fan entendre,
que non pensa n d'als, mas cum puoscan revendre
Dieu e sos amics,
e no•i val castics.
Roma, grans fastics es d'auzir e d'entendre
los vostres prezicx.

Rome! You can be reprimanded for the sake of your cardinals, because of the criminal sins that they are said to commit, because they can think of nothing beside ways of selling on God and His friends, and chastisement is worth nothing to them. Rome, it is most tedious to hear and to understand your preaching.

Roma, eu sui enics, car vostre poders monta,
e car grans destrics totz ab vos nos afronta,
car vos etz abrics e caps d'engan e d'onta
e de deshonor;
e•il vostre pastor
son fals trichador, Roma, e quiols aconta
fai trop gran follor.

Rome, I am angry because your power is growing, and because great distress confronts us thanks to you. For you are the shelter and the head of trickery, shame and dishonour. Your shepherds are lying traitors, Rome, and anyone who goes near them is a great fool.

Roma, mal labor fa•l papa, quan tensona
ab l'emperador pel dreich de la corona
ni•l met en error ni•ls sieus guerriers perdona;
car aital perdos,
que non sec razos,
Roma, non es bos; enans qui l'en razona,
reman vergonhos.

Rome, the pope is doing bad work when he fights with the emperor over the rights to the crown, when he puts him in the wrong, and forgives those who wage war on him. For such a pardon, based on no argument, Rome, is no good. Indeed, anyone who justifies it shall be left covered in shame.

Roma•l Glorios, que sofri mortal pena
en la crotz per nos vos done mal'estrena,
car voletz totz jors portar la borsa plena,
Roma de mal for,
que tot vostre cor
avetz en tresor; don cobeitatz vos mena
el fuoc que no mor

Rome, may the Glorious One who suffered mortal pain on the cross for our sakes send you a bad gift, because you want to carry a full purse every day. Rome of despicable customs, your heart is kept in a treasure chest, so Covetousness leads you to the unending fire.

Roma, dei malcor, que portatz en la gola,
nais lo sucx, don mor lo mals e s'estrangola
ab doussor dei cor; per que•i savis tremola,
quan conois e ve
lo mortal vere
e de lai on ve (Roma, dei cor vos cola),
don li pieitz son ple.

Rome, the bad blood that you keep in your throat produces a sap (from its sweet kernel) that chokes the world to death. That is why the wise man trembles when he recognises the deadly venom and sees where it comes from. Rome, it pours from your heart, and the chests of men are full of it!

Roma, ben ancse a hom auzit retraire
que•l cap sem vos te, per que•i faitz soven raire,
per que cug e cre qu'ops vos auria traire,
Roma, del cervel,
quar de mal capel
etz vos e Cistel, qu'a Bezers fezetz faire
mout estranh mazel.

Rome, it has often been said that your head is getting smaller, which is why you often have it shaved. So I think and believe, Rome, that it might be necessary to remove your brain! For you and Cîteaux both 'wear a bad hat' and you wrought the strangest of slaughters at Béziers.

Rom,' ab fois sembel tendetz vostra tezura,
e man mal morsel manjatz, qui que l'endura,
caravetz danhel ab simpla gardadura,
dedins lops rabatz,
serpens coronatz
de vibr'engenratz, per que•l diable•us cura
coma•ls sieus privatz.

Rome, you set your fishnet with false bait, and you eat many ill-gotten morsels (regardless of who finds it tolerable), for you have lambs with innocent faces who are ravenous wolves within, and crowned serpents who are born of vipers. That is why the Devil protects you as one of His closest advisers.




Guilhem Figueira or Figera, Nom laissarai per paor


Nom laissarai per paor (post-1216), criticises the Church's false preaching,


Nom laissarai per paor
C'un sirventes non labor
En servizi dels clergatz,
E quan sera laoratz,
Conoisseran li plusor
L'engan e la fellonia
Que mou de falsa clersia,
Que lai on ant mais forssa ni poder,
Fant plus de mal e plus de desplazer.


Aquist fals prezicador
Ant mes lo segle en error,
Qu'il fan los mortals peccatz.
Pois cilh cui ant prezicatz,
Fant que vezon far a lor,
E tuich segon orba via.
Doncs si l'uns orbs l'autre guia,
Non van amdui en la fossa cazer?
Si fant, so dis dieus, qu'ie'n sai ben lo ver.


Vers es que nostre pastor
Son tornat lop raubador,
Qu'il raubon deves totz latz,
E mostron semblan de patz,
E confortan ab doussor
Lor ovelhas nuoich e dia;
Pois quan las an en balhia,
Et ilh las fant morir e dechazer,
Ist fals pastor; don eu m'en desesper.


Pois fan autra desonor
Al segle et a dieu major,
Que s'uns d'els ab fenma jatz,
L'endeman totz orrejatz
Tenral cors nostre senhor.
Et es mortals eretgia,
Que nulhs preire nois deuria
Ab sa putan orrejar aquel ser
Que l'endeman dejal cors dieu tener.


E si vos en faitz clamor,
Seran vos encusador,
E seretz n'escumenjatz;
Ni, s'aver no lor donatz,
Ab els non auretz amor
Ni amistat ni paria.
Vergena, sancta Maria,
Sius platz, domna, laissatz mel jorn vezer,
Qu'ieuls puosca pauc doptar e mens temer.


Vai, sirventes, ten ta via
E dim a falsaclercia,
C'aicel es mortz queis met e son poder,
Qu'a Tolosa en sap hom ben lo ver.













Peire Vidal

Peire Vidal (born mid-12th century) was an Old Occitan troubadour. Forty-five of his songs are extant, twelve with melodies.

There is no contemporary reference to Peire outside of his works of poetry. His vida, composed about fifty years after his death, says that he "was from Toulouse, the son of a furrier".

Peire started his career, along with Bernart Durfort, at the court of Count Raymond V of Toulouse around 1176. Many of his early poems were addressed to Vierna de Porcellet, a relative of the Count. In some poems Peire, Vierna and Raymond form a love triangle.

He continued there until 1190, when he left to seek another patron after quarrelling with the Count. From Toulouse Peire went to the court of King Alfonso II of Aragon, where he remained until the king's death in 1196. He continued to visit the court of Alfonso's son, Peter II. He visited the court of King Alfonso VIII of Castile at Toledo in 1195 and intermittently thereafter until 1201. He also stayed for a time at the court of King Alfonso IX of León,

Peire was also associated with Raimon Jaufre Barral, viscount of Marseille and brother-in-law of Vierna. Barral's son-in-law, Hugh of Baux, was also a patron of Peire Vidal.

Peire Vidal
BnF MS. 12473 fol. 27.


Peire Vidal, A per pauc de chantar no•m lais - Translation 1 of 2

A per pauc de chantar no•m lais is an account of current events in the 1190s. Each verse covers a different event showing how the world has become evil: The bad behaviour of the Catholic Church is responsible for the rise in heresy. Phillippe August, King of France is venal and corrupt. The Holy Roman Emperor has foolishly let Richard I King of Englan out of prison. The kings of Spain are fighting each other rather than fighting the Moors. The only spark of light is La Loba, a lady of Carcassonne.


Text: Peire Vidal, Poesie. Edizione critica e commento a cura di d’Arco Silvio Avalle, 2 voll., Milano-Napoli 1960, vol. I, p. 66 (VI).
English translation by Linda Paterson. – Rialto 25.ix.2013.

A per pauc de chantar no•m lais,
quar vei mort jovent e valor
e pretz, que non trob’on s’apais,
c’usquecs l’enpeinh e•l gieta por;
e vei tant renhar malvestat
que•l segl’a vencut e sobrat,
si qu’apenas truep nulh paes
que•l cap non aj’a son latz pres.

I almost abandon singing, for I see youth and valour dead, and merit finds no source of nourishment, because everyone repels and rejects it; and I see evil, which has conquered and overcome the world, so hold sway that that I can hardly find a land whose head it has not caught in its snare.

Qu’a Rom’an vout en tal pantais
l’Apostolis e•lh fals doctor
Sancta Gleiza, don Dieus s’irais;
que tan son fol e peccador,
per que l’eretge son levat.
E quar ilh commenso•l peccat,
greu es qui als far en pogues;
mas ieu no•n vuelh esser plaies.

In Rome the Pope and the false doctors have thrown the Holy Church into such disarray that God is angry; for they are so foolish and sinful that the heretics are on the rise. And since it is they (the clergy) who are the first to sin, it is difficult for anyone else to behave otherwise, though I do not wish to defend such people.

E mou de Fransa totz l’esglais,
d’els qui solon esser melhor,
que•l reis non es fis ni verais
vas pretz ni vas Nostre Senhor.
Que•l Sepulcr’a dezamparat
e compr’e vent e fai mercat
atressi cum sers o borzes:
per que son aunit siei Frances.

The whole horror stems from France, from those who used to be better, for the King is not faithful or true towards merit or towards Our Lord. He has abandoned the Sepulchre and buys and sells and deals just like a servant or burgher, which is why his French subjects are put to shame.

Totz lo mons torn’en tal biais
qu’ier lo vim mal et huei peior;
et anc pus lo guit de Dieu frais,
non auzim pueis l’Emperador
creisser de pretz ni de bontat.
Mas pero s’ueimais laiss’en fat
Richart, pus en sa preizon es,
lor esquern en faran Engles.

The entire world is so twisted that we could see it was bad yesterday and worse today; and never since he infringed God’s safe-passage have we seen the Emperor grow in merit or goodness. However, if from now on he foolishly lets Richard go, now he is in his prison, the English will vent their scorn on him.

Dels reis d’Espanha•m tenh a fais,
quar tant volon guerra mest lor,
e quar destriers ferrans ni bais
trameton als Mors per paor:
que lor erguelh lor an doblat,
don ilh son vencut e sobrat;
e fora miels, s’a lor plagues,
qu’entr’els fos patz e leis e fes.

I am heavy-hearted on account of the kings of Spain, because they are so keen for war among themselves, and because they send grey and bay chargers to the Moors out of fear; they have redoubled the latters’ pride through which they themselves are subdued and defeated; and it would be better, if it pleased them, for there to be peace and lawfulness and faith among themselves.

Mas ja non cug hom qu’ieu m’abais
pels rics, si•s tornon sordeyor;
qu’us fis jois me capdell’e•m pais
qui•m te jauzent en gran doussor
e•m sojorn’en fin’amistat
de lieis que plus mi ven a grat:
e si voletz saber quals es,
demandatz la en Carcasses.

But let no man believe I will humble myself on account of the men of power, if they take a turn for the worse; a noble joy leads and nourishes me and keeps me joyful in great sweetness and causes me to dwell in the true friendship of the lady who pleases me most: and if you wish to know her identity, ask over there in the Carcasses.

Et anc no galiet ni trais
son amic ni•s pauzet color,
ni•l cal, quar selha qu’en leis nais
es fresca cum roz’en pascor.
Bell’es sobre tota beutat
et a sen ab joven mesclat:
per que•s n’agrado•l plus cortes
e•n dizon laus ab honratz bes.

Moreover she never tricked or betrayed her beloved, or put on false colours, nor is there any need, for the colour born in her is as fresh as a rose at Easter. She is lovely beyond all loveliness and combines sense with youth, which is why the most courtly people take pleasure in her company and speak praises and honourable things about her.

Peire Vidal, A per pauc de chantar no•m lais - Translation 2 of 2

The Songs of Peire Vidal: Translation & Commentary, p135-6
By Peire Vidal, Veronica Mary Fraser


A per pauc de chantar no•m lais,
quar vei mort jovent e valor
e pretz, que non trob’on s’apais,
c’usquecs l’enpeinh e•l gieta por;
e vei tant renhar malvestat
que•l segl’a vencut e sobrat,
si qu’apenas truep nulh paes
que•l cap non aj’a son latz pres.

l have almost given up singing,
because l see youth and valour and merit
are dead, for they find no encouragement,
but everywhere rejection and refusal.
I see that evil reigns everywhere,
it has conquered the whole world
so that scarcely any country can be found
whose head has not been caught in its snare.

Qu’a Rom’an vout en tal pantais
l’Apostolis e•lh fals doctor
Sancta Gleiza, don Dieus s’irais;
que tan son fol e peccador,
per que l’eretge son levat.
E quar ilh commenso•l peccat,
greu es qui als far en pogues;
mas ieu no•n vuelh esser plaies.

The Apostle and the false doctors of Rome
have put Holy Church in such jeopardy
that they have angered God.
They are so foolish and sinful,
that they have caused the heretics to rise up.

They (of Rome) are the ?rst to sin
and therefore it is difficult (for others) to behave otherwise;
but I do not wish to plead on their behalf.

E mou de Fransa totz l’esglais,
d’els qui solon esser melhor,
que•l reis non es fis ni verais
vas pretz ni vas Nostre Senhor.
Que•l Sepulcr’a dezamparat
e compr’e vent e fai mercat
atressi cum sers o borzes:
per que son aunit siei Frances.

The whole commotion comes from France,
from those who used to be better,
for the king is neither true nor faithful
towards valour, nor towards Our Lord.
He has abandoned the Sepulchre
and he buys and sells and deals
like a serf or a burgher:
for this his French subjects are dishonoured.

Totz lo mons torn’en tal biais
qu’ier lo vim mal et huei peior;
et anc pus lo guit de Dieu frais,
non auzim pueis l’Emperador
creisser de pretz ni de bontat.
Mas pero s’ueimais laiss’en fat
Richart, pus en sa preizon es,
lor esquern en faran Engles.

The whole world is turning in the wrong direction,
yesterday it seemed bad and today it is worse;
since he has broken God's law,
we have not heard that the Emperor's
honour and renown have increased.
But if he now foolishly
leaves Richard imprisoned.
the English will show him their displeasure.

Dels reis d’Espanha•m tenh a fais,
quar tant volon guerra mest lor,
e quar destriers ferrans ni bais
trameton als Mors per paor:
que lor erguelh lor an doblat,
don ilh son vencut e sobrat;
e fora miels, s’a lor plagues,
qu’entr’els fos patz e leis e fes.

The kings of Spain cause me anxiety.
they are so avid of war among themselves,
out of fear they send to the Moors
grey and bay war-horses:
this makes them (the Moors) doubly insolent
and brings about their (Spain's) defeat;
it would be better for them, if it pleased them,
to maintain peace, law and faith amongst themselves.

Mas ja non cug hom qu’ieu m’abais
pels rics, si•s tornon sordeyor;
qu’us fis jois me capdell’e•m pais
qui•m te jauzent en gran doussor
e•m sojorn’en fin’amistat
de lieis que plus mi ven a grat:
e si voletz saber quals es,
demandatz la en Carcasses.

But let no man think that l abase myself
for the rich, when their conduct is so bad;
for a pure joy guides and nourishes me
and keeps me in joy and sweet delight.
l repose in the pure friendship
of her who pleases me the most:
and if you wish to know who she is.
ask for her in the Carcasses.

Et anc no galiet ni trais
son amic ni•s pauzet color,
ni•l cal, quar selha qu’en leis nais
es fresca cum roz’en pascor.
Bell’es sobre tota beutat
et a sen ab joven mesclat:
per que•s n’agrado•l plus cortes
e•n dizon laus ab honratz bes.

She never betrayed nor deceived
her friend, nor did she make up her face,
she has no need. for her natural colour
is as fresh as a spring rose.
Her beauty is unsurpassed,
she combines youth and intelligence:
the most courtly people admire
and praise her with all honour.















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