A Gallery of Troubadours

A Gallery of Troubadours: A Manuscript Prepared in Anticipation of a Trip to Southern France in April-May 2012 to Partially Recreate a Walk by Ezra Pound on Its Centenary

Table of Contents

Notes for a Walking Tour of Provence with Jonathan Gill on the 100th Anniversary of Ezra Pound’s Walking Tour of Provence, Summer 1912……………………….…………7

William IX, Duke of Aquitaine………………………………………………….………………9



Jaufre Rudel…………………………………………………………………………………….20

Bernart de Ventadorn……………………………………………………………………………23

Peire d’ Alvernhe……………………………………………………………………………….26

Raimbaut of Orange…………………………………………………………………………….28

Guiraut de Bornelh………………………………………………………………………………31

Peire Bremon lo Tort……………………………………………………………………………32

Bertran de Born…………………………………………………………………………………33

Beatritz de Dia….……………………………………………………………………………….37

Maria de Ventadorn and Gui d’Ussel…………………………………………………………..38

Monge de Montaudon…………………………………………………………………………..39

Arnaut Daniel…………………………………………………………………………………..42

Arnaut de Mareuill……………………………………………………………………………..44

Gaucelm Faidet…………………………………………………………………………………45

Peire Vidal………………………………………………………………………………………46

Peirol d’ Auvernha……………………………………………………………………………..48

Raimbaut de Vaqueiras…………………………………………………………………………49

Guillem de Cabestanh…………………………………………………………………………..52

Raimon de Miraval…………………………………………………………………………..….54

Rigaut de Berbeilh……………………………………………………………………………….55

Guilhem de Saint-Leidier……………………………………………………………………….55

Folquet de Marselha……………………………………………………………..………….…..56

Raimon Jordan………………………………………………………………………………..…58

Jordan Bonel de Confolens………………………………………………………………………59

Le Chastelain de Couci………………………………………………………………………….59

Peire Raimon de Tolosa…………………………………………………………..………….….59

Walther von der Vogelweide……………………………………………………………………60

Aimeric de Peguilhan…………………………………………………..………………………61


Guillem Magret………………………………………………………………………..….…….62

Peire Cardenal………………………………………………………………………..……’……63

Gilles le Vinier……………………………………………………..…………………….……..64

Neidhart von Reuental…………………………………………………………………………..65

Aimeric de Belenoi………………………………………………………………………………65

Guiot de Dijon………………………………………………………………………..…….……65

Falquet de Romans…………………………………………………………………..………….66

Guillem Figueira……………………………………………………………………..……….…67

Sordel or Sordello…………………………………………..…………………………………..68

Jehan Erart………………………………………………………………………………………69

Theobald I of Navarre……………………………………………………………..……………69

Jaque de Cambrai…………………………………………………………………..…………..69

Guillelma de Rosers and Lanfranc Cigala……………………………………………..……….70

Heinrich Frauenlob……………………………………………………………..………………71

Guiraut Riquier………………………………………………………………..………………..72


Notes for a Walking Tour of Provence with Jonathan Gill on the 100th Anniversary of Ezra Pound’s Walking Tour of Provence, Summer 1912
“Pound admits to hesitating between two opposite models of travel writing—on the one hand, the ‘voyage of sentiment’ (in which the depaysement of foreign parts serves as a stimulus to ‘strange and exquisite emotions’), and on the other hand, the ‘realist’ method of representation, based on the ‘scientific’ registering of observed fact and sensation.” Richard Sieburth, from A Walking Tour of Southern France: Ezra Pound among the Troubadours
“Pound’s excursion through southern France thus has little to do with the Wordsworthian marriage of Imagination and Nature. Indeed, Nature, dismissed as mere ‘scenery,’ is conspicuously absent from the narrative: Pound’s roving eye is only drawn to that already aestheticized (and semioticized) arrangement of place into legible contour which he calls ‘landscape’—a field of visual particulars seized not as ineffable totality but as a sequence of detached details whose fragmentation observes the same erotic scenario as the festishized attributes of Bertran de Born’s ‘composite lady.’ Dissociated into a virtually free-floating pattern of discrete traits, the body of landscape can thereby be recomposed at will—whether by metaphorical superposition (the mountains of the Pyrenees overlaid with the mist of Mind landscape painting, the towers of Perigueux rhymed with the skyscrapers of New York) or by metonymical juxtaposition (the swift cuts from place to place or name to name creating a kaleidoscopic montage of topographical features).” RS
From Canto XX

“a band of bluish metal with rippled chevrons in the shallows”

“a wine-red glow in the shallows, / a tin flash of sun-dazzle.”

“Sound: as of the nightingale too far off to be heard.”

“On the right of my way was a low ruin of two towers, and finding no approach I drowned my self in the long grass to reach it.” EP in Mareuil

“That is, going my way amid this ruin & beauty it is hard for me at times not to fall into the melancholy regarding that it is gone, & this is not the emotion that I care to cultivate for I think other poets have done so sufficiently.” EP in Altafort

“Except, … except….” EP in Altafort

“There is a place of trees … grey with lichen.
I have walked there
thinking of old days.”
—EP, Provincia Deserta

“It is undeniable that if one wishes to see objects instead of to realize conditions, he had better travel by rail.”—EP

“—and walking the roads I have found a deal more force in certain lines & stanzas than I had ever expected.”—EP

“The Curate a hundred ft. below me by the river has not changed his gown, nor the fisherman in mid stream so altered his tackle.”—EP in Uzerche

“I had set out upon this book with numerous ideas, but the road had cured me of them. There is this difference, I think, between a townsman & a man doing something or going somewhere in the open, namely that the townsman had his head full of abstractions. The man in the open has his mind full of objects—he is, that is to say, relatively happy.”—EP in Uzerche

EP mentions Dordoigne, in Ur Canto 2:

And the blue Dordoigne
Stretches between white cliffs,
Pale as the background of a Leonardo.

“Cahors & Rodez: not that one should see, or sees them, for some names are so heavy with unreality that we can never find them—not tho’ our senses deceive us.”—EP C&R

“For the charm in poetry or in any other art is nothing else, & nothing less than the effect of the ‘finer points’ which are for the most part amenable to law—tho’ the sentimentalist & amateur would have us think for the most part, otherwise.”—EP

William IX, Duke of Aquitaine (1071-1126)

A song I’ll make you, worthy to recall;
With ample folly and with sense but small,
Of joy, young-heartedness, and love will I compound it all.

A song I’ll fashion from my grief….

Guilhem de Peiteus, known as William IX, was also known as “The Troubadour,” as well as the Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitou, and was one was of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the Europe of his day. He was one of the leaders of the Crusade of 1101, the earliest known troubadour whose work survives, and the grandfather of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleven of his songs survive. His vida states:

The Count of Poitiers was one of the most courtly men in the world and one of the greatest deceivers of women. He was a fine knight at arms, liberal in his womanizing, and a fine composer and singer of songs. He traveled much through the world, seducing women.

Ezra Pound mentions him in Canto VIII:

And Poictiers, you know, Guillaume Poictiers,
had brought the song up out of Spain
with the singers and viels…

In Spirit of Romance Pound also calls William IX “the most ‘modern’ of the troubadours”:

For any of the later Provençals, i.e., the high-brows, we have to… “put ourselves into the Twelfth Century” etc. Guillaume, writing a century earlier, is just as much of our age as of his own.

One of William’s poems—Pos de chantar m’es pres talenz (Since I have the desire to sing,/I’ll write a verse for which I’ll grieve)—concludes:

I have given up all I loved so much:
chivalry and pride;
and since it pleases God, I accept it all,
that He may keep me by Him.
I enjoin my friends, upon my death,
all to come and do me great honor,
since I have held joy and delight
far and near, and in my abode.

Thus I give up joy and delight,
and squirrel and grey and sable furs.

His surviving work falls into three categories: courtly poetry, drinking songs, and a single repentance song, written at the end of his life.

I first read his work in the late ‘60s in an issue of Playboy magazine, which included his bawdy “The Ladies with the Cat” on its joke page. It ends, as translated by W.D. Snodgrass:

I screwed them, fairly to relate,
A full one hundred eighty eight.
My breech-strap near broke at that rate,
Also my reins.
I can’t recount all my distress
Or half my pains.

 Joyous in love, I make my aim

Joyous in love, I make my aim
forever deeper in Joy to be.
The perfect Joy’s the goal for me:
so the most perfect lady I claim.
I’ve caught her eyes. All must exclaim:
the loveliest heard or seen is she.

You know I’d never base my fame
on brags. If ever we’re to see
a flowering Joy, this Joy, burst free,
should bear such fruit no man can name,
lifting among the others a flame
that brightens in obscurity.
           — translated by J. Lindsay 

Cercamon (fl. c. 1135-1145)

Cercamon was a jongleur…. And as he wandered all over the world, wherever he could go, and that was why he was called Cercamon.—from his vida

The real name of Cercamon (which means world-searcher) is unknown. He was apparently a jester, born in Gascony, who spent his career in the courts of William X of Aquitaine and Eble III of Ventadorn. He invented the planh (a dirge), the tenso (a rhymed debate in which two poets write one stanza each), and the sirventes. Tradition says he was the mentor of Marcabru and he may have died on crusade as a follower of Louis VII of France. Seven of his lyrics survive, but none of his music. He described his own work as “the vers is simple, and I am polishing it, without any vulgar, improper or false word, and it is entirely composed in such a way that I have used only elegant terms in it.”


Though the whole world run rack
And go dark with cloud,
Light is
Where she stands,
And a clamor loud
in my ears.
          Translated by Ezra Pound


Quant l’aura doussa s’amarzis


Quant l’aura doussa s’amarzis
E·l fuelha chai de sul verjan
E l’auzelh chanjan lor latis,
Et ieu de sai sospir e chan
D’Amor que·m te lassat e pres,
Qu’ieu anc no l’agui en poder.

When the sweet air turns bitter
and the leaf falls from the twigs
and the birds change their language,
here I sigh and sing because of him,
because of Love, who keeps me ensnared and caught,
whereas I never had him in my power.

Las! qu’ieu d’Amor non ai conquis
Mas cant lo trebalh e l’afan,
Ni res tant greu no·s covertis
Com fai so qu’ieu vau deziran!
Ni tal enveja no·m fai res
Cum fai so qu’ieu non posc aver.

Alas! I haven’t gained, of Love,
but the torment and pain,
for nothing is as hard to gain
as that which I am seeking,
nor any longing affects me
as that for what I cannot have.

Per una joja m’esbaudis
Fina, qu’anc re non amiey tan!
Quan suy ab lieys si m’esbahis
Qu’ieu no·ill sai dire mon talan,
E quan m’en vauc, vejaire m’es
Que tot perda·l sen e·l saber.

I rejoice because of a pearl
so fine that I never loved anything as much;
when I am with her, I am so astonished
that I don’t dare vouch my desire,
and when I part, it seems to me
that I lose all my sense and my learning.

Tota la genser qu’anc hom vis
Encontra lieys no pretz un guan!
Quan totz lo segles brunezis,
Delai on ylh es si resplan.
Dieu prejarai qu’ancar l’ades
O que la vej’anar jazer.

The fairest woman one has ever seen,
compared to her, isn’t worth a glove;
when the entire world turns to darkness,
light shines from the place she rests.
I shall pray god that I may touch her one day
or that I may see her go to bed.

Totz trassalh e bran et fremis
Per s’Amor, durmen o velhan.
Tal paor ai qu’ieu mesfalhis
No m’aus pessar cum la deman,
Mas servir l’ai dos ans o tres,
E pueys ben leu sabra·n lo ver.

Awake or asleep, I quiver and am all startled
and shaken because of my love for her.
I am so afraid of dying
that I don’t dare think how to entreat her,
but I shall serve her two or three years
and then, maybe, she’ll learn the truth.

Ni muer ni viu ni no guaris,
Ni mal no·m sent e si l’ai gran,
Quar de s’Amor no suy devis,
Non sai si ja l’aurai ni quan,
Qu’en lieys es tota la merces
Que·m pot sorzer o decazer.

I don’t die nor live nor heal,
nor do I feel my malaise, although it’s serious,
for I am not parted from her love
and I don’t know whether I’ll have it, nor when,
for in her is all the grace
that can raise me or cast me down.

Bel m’es quant ilh m’enfolhetis
E·m fai badar e·n vau muzan!
De leis m’es bel si m’escarnis
O·m gaba dereir’o denan,
Qu’apres lo mal me venra bes
Be leu, s’a lieys ven a plazer.

It pleases me when she drives me insane
and make muse and gape in stupor;
it pleases me when she abuses me
and makes fun of me, behind my back or to my face,
for after the ill, the good will come
soon, if her fancy turns that way.

S’elha no·m vol, volgra moris
Lo dia que·m pres a coman!
Ai, las! tan suavet m’aucis
Quan de s’Amor me fetz semblan,
Que tornat m’a en tal deves
Que nuill’ autra no vuelh vezer.

If she doesn’t want me, I wish I had died
the day she took me in her service!
Alas! She murdered me so sweetly
when she seemed to love me,
for she has gripped me so
that I don’t want to see any other woman.

Totz cossiros m’en esjauzis,
Car s’ieu la dopti o la blan,
Per lieys serai o fals o fis,
O drechuriers o ples d’enjan,
O totz vilas o totz cortes,
O trebalhos o de lezer.

Although worried, I rejoice:
for, although I shun or blandish her,
for her sake I shall be false or faithful,
or righteous or full of guile,
or a complete scoundrel or a complete gentleman,
or agitated or peaceful.

Mas, cui que plass’o cui que pes,
Elha·m pot, si·s vol, retener.

But, whoever may like it or grieve it,
she can retain me, if she wants.

Cercamons ditz: greu er cortes
Hom qui d’Amor se desesper.

Cercamon says: he is hardly courteous
who despairs of love.




Marcabru (fl. 1127-1150)


Marcabru was a foundling abandoned on the doorstep of a rich man, and thus no one ever knew from whom or from where he came…. Later he spent so much time with a troubadour named Cercamon that he himself began to write verse…. And he was famous throughout the world; people listened to him, and they feared him because of his tongue. And he said such evil things that finally he was killed by some chatelains [masters of castles] of Guyenne of whom he spoken ill.—from his vida


Marcabru was from Gascony, son of a poor woman named Marcabruna, as he says in his song:


Marcabru, son of Lady Bruna
Was sired beneath such a moon
That he knew how love behaves
So that he’s never loved a woman
Nor been loved by any.


He was then abandoned at a rich man’s door. He was educated as a cleric and learned poetry and became a joglar, one of the first, and traveled from court to court under the name of Panperdut (Lost Bread). His early benefactor was William X, the son of the first troubadour, and it is in his court that he met and learned poetry from Cercamon. He may have traveled to Spain with Alfonso Jordan, Count of Toulouse, and spent time at the court of King Alfonso VII of Castile and Leon. According to his vida “He was one of the first troubadours we remember. He made poor vers and poor sirventes, and spoke ill of women and of love.” He may have invented the tenso. Forty-five lyrics are attributed to him, four of them with music. He composed in the difficult hermetic style known as trobar clus. He invented a number of words included in his lyrics. He was satirist, and attacked what he called false love and false lovers, nobles who did not live up to “true love” and civilized behavior, and was often obscene. He became famous for his attacks on the nobles and so the lords of Gascony, whom he criticized in his lyrics, put him to death.



Near a hedgerow, sometime recent,
I met with a shepherd lassie
Full of mother wit and sassy,
Some good peasant woman’s lassie,
Wearing shoes with woolen socks, too,
Blouse and skirt and linen smock, too,
All homespun, quite coarse but decent.

Translated by W.D. Snodgrass


L’autrier jost’una sebissa


L’autrier jost’una sebissa The other day beside a hedge
Trobei pastora mestissa, I found a humble shepherdess
De joi e de sen massissa, Full of joy and good sense
Si cum filla de vilana, Like the daughter of a peasant   girl;
Cap’ e gonel’e pelissa


A cape, a coat and fur
Vest e camiza treslissa, She wore, and a shirt of rough   cloth,
Sotlars e caussas de lana. Shoes and woolen stockings.
Ves lieis vinc per la planissa: I came to her across the plain
“Toza, fi.m ieu, res faitissa, “Young girl,” I said, “charming   creature
Dol ai car lo freitz vos fissa.”


I am pained because the cold   pierces you.”
“Seigner, so.m dis la vilana, “Sir,” said to me the peasant girl,
Merce Dieu e ma noirissa, “Thanks to God and my nurse,
Pauc m’o pretz si.l vens m’erissa, It does not concern me if the wind   ruffles my hair,
Qu’alegreta sui e sana.” For I am cheerful and healthy.”



“Toza, fi.m ieu, cauza pia,


“Young girl,” I said, “sweet thing,
Destors me sui de la via I have turned out of my way
Per far a vos compaignia; To keep you company,
Quar aitals toza vilana For such a young peasant girl
No deu ses pareill paria Should not, without a comrade,
Pastorgar tanta bestia


Pasture so many beasts
En aital terra, soldana.” In such a place, alone.”


IV“Don, fetz ela, qui que.m sia, “Sir,” said she, “be what I may,Ben conosc sen e folia; I know common sense from folly;La vostra pareillaria, Your company,Seigner, so.m dis la vilana,


Sir,” so said to me the peasant   girl,Lai on se tang si s’estia, “Should be offered where it is   fitting,Que tals la cuid’en bailia For one who thinks she can hold itTener, no.n a mas l’ufana.” In her power, has nothing but the   illusion.”



V“Toza de gentil afaire, “Young girl of noble conditionCavaliers fon vostre paire


Your father was a knightQue.us engenret en la maire, Who got your mother with childCar fon corteza vilana. For she was a courtly peasant girl.Con plus vos gart, m’etz belaire, The more I look at you, the   prettier you seem,E per vostre joi m’esclaire, And by your joy I am gladdened,Si.m fossetz un pauc humana!”


If only toward me you were more   human!”VI VI“Don, tot mon ling e mon aire “Sir, all my lineage and my familyVei revertir e retraire I see returning and going backAl vezoig et a l’araire, To sickle and plow,Seigner, so.m dis la vilana; Sir,” so said to me the peasant   girl;Mas tals se fai cavalgaire


“But some pass themselves off as   knightsC’atrestal deuria faire Who should be doing likewiseLos seis jorns de la setmana.” Six days of the week.”VII VII“Toza, fi.m ieu, gentils fada, “Young girl,” said I, “a noble   fairyVos adastret, quan fos nada, Blessed you, when you were born,D’una beutat esmerada


With perfect beautySobre tot’autra vilana; Above any other peasant girl;E seria.us ben doblada, And it would be doubledSi.m vezi’una vegada, If I saw myself just onceSobira e vos sotrana.” Above and you below.”VIII VIII“Seigner, tan m’avetz lauzada,


“Sir, you have praised me so muchQue tota.n sui enojada; That I am quite annoyed;Pois en pretz m’avetz levada, Since you have raised me in worth,Seigner, so.m dis la vilana, Sir,” so said to me the peasant   girl,Per so n’auretz per soudada “You will have for recompenseAl partir: bada, fols, bada


On departure: gape, fool, gapeE la muz a meliana.” Vainly waiting at noonday.”IX IX“Toz’estraing cor e salvatge “Young girl, a wild and skittish   heartAdomesg’om per uzatge. One can tame by using it.Ben conosc al trespassatge I certainly realize on passing by   hereQu’ab aital toza vilana


That with such a young peasant girlPot hom far ric compaignatge A man can find noble companyAb amistat de coratge, With heartfelt friendship,Si l’us l’autre non engana.” If neither deceives the other.”X X“Don, hom coitatz de follatge “Sir, a man pressed by madnessJur’ e pliu e promet gatge:


Swears and pledges and guarantees:Si.m fariatz homenatge, Thus you would do me homage,Seigner, so.m dis la vilana Sir,” so said to me the peasant   girl;Mas ieu, per un pauc d’intratge, “But I, for a cheap entrance fee,Non vuoil ges mon piucellatge Do not want to exchange my   virginityCamjar per nom de putana.”


For the name of whore.”XI XI“Toza, tota creatura “Young girl, every creatureRevertis a sa natura: Reverts to its nature;Pareillar pareilladura We should prepare to form a couple,Devem, ieu e vos, vilana, You and I, peasant girl,A l’abric lonc la pastura,


Under cover beside the pasture,Car plus n’estaretz segura For you will be in greater safety   therePer far la cauza doussana.” To do the sweet thing.”



XII“Don, oc; mas segon dreitura “Sir, yes; but according to what is   right,Cerca fols sa follatura, The fool seeks his foolishness,Cortes cortez’aventura


The courtly, courtly adventures,E.il vilans ab la vilana; And the peasant boy, the peasant   girl;En tal loc fai sens fraitura Wisdom is lacking in any place   (circumstance)On hom non garda mezura, Where moderation is not observed,So ditz la gens anciana.” So say the ancients.”XIII XIII“Toza, de vostra figura


“Young girl, about your face,Non vi autra plus tafura I never saw one more dishonest,Ni de son cor plus trefana.” Nor a heart more deceitful.”


XIV XIV“Don, lo cavecs vos ahura, “Sir, the owl promises youQue tals bad’en la peintura That one man gapes before the   paintingQu’autre n’espera la mana.”


While the other expects reward.”






Jaufre Rudel (died c. 1147)


Jaufre Rudel … fell in love with the Countess of Tripoli without ever having seen her, simply because of the good things he had heard the pilgrims returning from Antioch tell of her, and for her he wrote many fine poems, rich in melody and poor in words. But wishing to see her, he took the Cross [i.e., went on Crusade] and went to sea. In the boat he became ill, and when he arrived in Tripoli, he was taken to an inn, for he was near death. The Countess was told about this and she came to him, to his bedside, and took him in her arms. He realized it was the Countess, and all at once recovered his sense of sight and smell, and praised God for having sustained his life until he had seen her. And then he died in her arms. And she had him buried with great ceremony in the house of the Knights Templars. And then, on that same day, she took the veil for the grief she felt at his death.—from his vida.


Jaufre Rudel was the Prince of Blaye who probably died during the Second Crusade, circa 1147. Very little is known about him but a song by Marcabru describes as being “across the sea”—probably as part of the Second Crusade along with Louis Vii and Eleanor of Aquitaine. The story goes that he decided to go on the crusade after hearing about a legendary beauty, the Countess Hodierna of Tripoli, and she was his “far-off love.” Jaufre became sick on the journey and was brought ashore in Tripoli a dying man. Hodierna came from her castle at the news of a man who had come from afar in search of her and now lay dying. Rudel died in her arms. Seven of his lyrics have survived, four with their music. His story was retold by poets such as Heinrich Heine, Robert Browning, Algernon Charles Swinburne, and dramatists such as Edmond Rostand, and composers like Kaija Saariaho, who created an opera—”L’amour de loin” based on his story.
From Swinburne’s “The Triumph of Time”:


There lived a singer in France of old
By the tideless dolorous midland sea.
In a land of sand and ruin and gold
There shone one woman, and none but she.
And finding life for her love’s sake fail,
Being fain to see her, he bade set sail,
Touched land, and saw her as life grew cold,
And praised God, seeing; and so died he.

Died, praising God for his gift and grace:
For she bowed down to him weeping, and said
“Live”; and her tears were shed on his face
Or ever the life in his face was shed.
The sharp tears fell through her hair, and stung
Once, and her close lips touched him and clung
Once, and grew one with his lips for a space;
And so drew back, and the man was dead.


Quan lo rossinhols e-l folhos


Quan lo rossinhol el follos
Dona d’amor e·n quier e·n pren
E mou son chant jauzent joyos
E remira sa par soven
E·l riu son clar e·l prat son gen,
Pel novel deport que-y renha,
Mi vai grans joys al cor jazer.

When, in the woods, the nightingale
gives love, and requires it, and takes it
and modulates its song in joy
and often admires its mate;
when the brooks are clear, and the meadows gentle,
because of the happiness that reigns over them,
a great joy dwells in my heart.

D’un’amistat suy enveyos,
Quar no sai joya plus valen,
Que d’aquesta, que bona·m fos
Si·m fazia d’amor prezen,
Que·l cors a gras, delgat e gen
E ses ren que-y descovenha,
E s’amors bon’ ab bon saber.

I long for a friendship
since I don’t know of a worthier joy
than this, which would suit me
if she gave me a present of love;
her shape is full, delicate and gentle
without anything to mar it:
and her good love has a good taste.

D’aquest’ amor suy cossiros
Vellan e pueys sompnhan dormen,
Quar lai ay joy meravelos,
Per qu’ieu la jau joyos jauzen.
Mas sa beutatz no·m val nien,
Quar nulhs amicx no m’essenha
Cum ieu ja n’aya bonsaber.

I am concerned about this love
whether I am awake or sleeping
for there I have a marvelous joy
because I joyfully enjoy her joy.
But her beauty comes to no avail,
because no friend teaches me
how to taste of her.

D’aquest’ amor suy tan cochos
Que quant ieu vau ves lieys corren
Vejaire m’es qu’a reversos
M’en torn e que lieys n’an fugen.
E mos cavals i vai tan len
e greu cug mais que y atenha,
S’ilha no·s vol arretener.

I am so gripped by this love
that when I run towards her
I feel like I am walking backwards
and like she is fleeing from me.
And my horse keeps so slow
a pace, that I think I’ll never reach her
unless she wants to wait for me.

Amors, alegres part de vos
Per so quar vau mo mielhs queren,
E fuy-en tant aventuros
Qu’enqueras n’ay mon cor jauzen.
Mas pero per mon Bon Guiren
Que·m vol e m’apell’ e·m denha
m’es ops a parcer mon voler.

Love, I leave you happily
since I pursue something better,
and flee towards such an adventure
that my heart already rejoices in it.
However, because of my Good Warranter,
who wants me, calls me and condescends,
I must split my desire.

E qui sai reina deleytos
E Dieu non siec en Bethleem
No sai cum ja mais sia pros
Ni cum ja venh’ a guerimen,
Qu’ieu sai e crei, mon escien,
Que selh qui Jhesus ensenha
Segur’ escola pot tener.

He who reigns here in delight
and does not follow god in Bethlehem
I don’t see how he could be valiant,
or achieve salvation,
since I believe, as far as I know,
that only he who is taught by Jesus
can be sure of his schooling.






Bernart de Ventadorn (1130-1190)


Bernart de Ventadorn was from the Limousin, from the castle of Ventadorn. He was of a poor family, the son of a servant who … heated the oven to bake the castle’s bread…. And his lord, the Viscount of Ventadorn, took a great liking to him, to his poetry and to his singing, and he honored him greatly. And the [wife of] the Viscount of Ventadorn … took a liking to En Bernart and his songs, and she fell in love with him, and he with her; he thus wrote his songs and verses for her, about the love he felt for her and about her merit. Their love lasted a long time before the Viscount or anyone else took notice of it. But when the Viscount did notice it, he … had his wife locked up and guarded. And he had her take leave of En Bernart and made him depart and go far from his lands. And he left and went to the Duchess of Normandy [Eleanor of Aquitaine], who was young and of great merit, and who understood worth and honor and words of praise. And she was very pleased by En Bernart’s songs, and she received him and gave him a warm welcome. He remained at her court for a long time, and fell in love with her and she with him, and he wrote many fine songs for her.—from his vida


Bernart de Ventadorn occupies a special niche in the troubadour pantheon as that maker of songs who appears to have been the most sincere about love. With him the sentiments expressed do not seem formulaic…. En Bernart himself attributed his poetic success not so much to his technical virtuosity as to the sincerity of his emotions.—Robert Kehew, Lark in the Morning


No marvel if my song’s the best

Of any sung by troubadour;

My heart is drawn to love the more

And I more shaped to love’s behest.

         —translated by Snodgrass





Bernart was possibly the son of a baker at the castle of Ventadour in Correze. He writes in one poem that he learned the art of singing and writing from Eble III of Ventadorn. His first poems were written to Eble’s wife, Marguerite. When his love for his patron’s wife was exposed, he was forced to leave Ventadorn and travel to Montlucon, Toulouse, and he eventually followed Eleanor of Aquitaine to England and the British court. He later returned to Toulouse, where he worked for Raimon V, Count of Toulouse. Later still he traveled to Dordogne where he entered a monastery, where he died. Forty-five of his lyrics survive, with eighteen melodies.


He is remembered for his popularization of the trobar leu style and establishing the classical form of courtly love poetry. According to Wikipedia, “Bernart was known for being able to portray his woman as a divine agent in one moment and then in a sudden twist, portraying her as Eve, the cause of man’s initial sin. This dichotomy in his work is portrayed in a ‘graceful, witty, and polished’ medium.”



Can yei la lauzeta mover (“When I see the lark beat his wings”)


When I see the lark beat his wings

for joy against the sun’s ray,

until he forgets to fly and plummets down,

for the sheer delight which goes to his heart,

alas, great envy comes to me

of those whom I see filled with happiness,

and I marvel that my heart

does not instantly melt from desire.

Alas, I thought I knew so much about love,

and really I know so little,

for I cannot keep myself from loving her

from whom I shall have no favor.

She has stolen from me my heart, myself,

herself, and all the world.

When she took herself from me, she left me nothing

but desire and a longing heart.

Never have I been in control of myself

or even belonged to myself from the hour

that she let me gaze into her eyes-

that mirror that pleases me so greatly.

Mirror, since I saw myself reflected in you,

deep sighs have been killing me.

I have lost myself, just as

handsome Narcissus lost himself in the fountain.

I despair of women,

no more will I trust them,

and just as I used to defend them,

now I shall denounce them.

Since I see that none aids me

against her who destroys and confounds me,

I fear and distrust them all

for I know well they are all alike.

In this my lady certainly shows herself

to be a woman, and for it I reproach her,

for she wants not that which one ought to want,

and what is forbidden, she does.

I have fallen out of favor

and have behaved like the fool on the bridge;

and I don’t know why it happened

except because I tried to climb too high.

Mercy is lost, in truth,

though I never received it,

for she who should possess it most

has none, so where shall I seek it?

Ah, one who sees her would scarcely guess

that she just leaves this passionate wretch

(who will have no good without her)

to die, and gives no aid.

Since with my lady neither prayers nor mercy

nor my rights avail me,

and since she is not pleased

that I love her, I will never speak of it to her again.

Thus I part from her, and leave;

she has killed me, and by death I respond,

since she does not retain me, I depart,

wretched, into exile, I don’t know where.

Tristan, you will have nothing from me,

for I depart, wretched, I don’t know where.

I quit and leave off singing

and withdraw from joy and love.




Peire d’ Alvernhe (c. 1130-c. 1170)


Peire d’ Alvernhe was from the bishopric of Clairmon. He was intelligent and well-read, and he was the son of a burgher. As a person he was handsome and of pleasant disposition. And he wrote good poetry and sang well, and he was the first good troubadour to go beyond the mountains. And he composed the finest melodies ever written … and he was considered the finest troubadour in the world until the appearance of Giraut de Bornelh.—from his vida.


Peire d’ Allvernhe was a burgher’s son from Clermont. He is described in his vida as “the first good inventor of poetry [troubadour in another translation] to go beyond the mountains” (the Pyrenees) and travel to Spain. He lived at the court of Alfonso VII of Castile and his son Sancho III. A fellow troubadour—Bernart Marti—writes that Peire joined the church early in his life but left to become an itinerant minstrel. He composed in the formally complex and esoteric style known as trobar clus. He is the only troubadour to use the term cortez’ amor, or “courtly love.” He wrote of his own verse, “before me, no perfect poem was written….” He wrote mostly cansos, and invented the “pious song.” He the earliest troubadour mentioned by Dante in the Commedia. A sirventes entitled Chantarai d’aquest trobadors is a satire of twelve troubadours (who may have all been present at its first performance), with Peire claiming that he is the best of all. Its last couplet describes its orchestration and hints at the humor of its performance:


This verse was made to the bagpipe
at Puivert with everyone playing and laughing.


There are twenty-one to twenty-four surviving works composed by Peire, only two with surviving melodies.



When Days Grow Short and Night Advances (first two verses only)


When days grow short and night advances
And the air grows clear and darkens,
Would that my thoughts put forth fresh branches
To bear with joy new fruit and blossom,
For I see oaks reft of their leaves
While nightingale, thrush, woodpecker and jay
Shiver with cold, and from the chill retreat.


The vision that sustains me through
These times is of my distant love:
Sleeping, waking, what matters to
Him who from his love is removed?
Love wants joy: in times when strife is looming
he who can banish care (it’s safe to say)
With his love is inwardly communing.

Translated by Robert Kehew





Raimbaut of Orange (c. 1147-1173)


[Raimbaut d’Aurenga] was lord of [Aurenga] and … a great many other castles…. He wrote good vers and cansos; but he preferred to write in difficult, subtle rhymes…. And then he fell in love with the good Countess of Urgell…. And he then wrote his songs for her, and he sent them to her by means of a jongleur called Nightingale…. For a long time he courted the countess, without ever having the opportunity to going to see her. But I heard her say, after she had become a nun, that if he had come she would have granted him his pleasure and permitted him to touch her bare leg with the back of his hand.—from his vida.


Raimbaut was the only son of William of Aumelas and Tiburge, daughter of Raimbaut, count of Orange, and later became the lord of Orange and Aumelas. He is the first major troubadour from Provence. He was an early exponent of trobar clus and is considered a transitional figure between Marcabru and Arnaut Daniel. Forty of his works survive. His death is mourned in a planh (lament) by Giraut de Bornelh, and the only surviving poem by trobairitz Azalais de Porcairagues.



Car vei qe clars


Car vei qe clars
Chanz s’abriva
Dels aucels, e·l prims fremirs,
M’es douz e bels lor auzirs
Tan qe no sai coisi·m viva
Sens chantar, per qe comenz
Una chansoneta gaia.

Since I see that the clear
song and the fine
warbling of the birds is increasing,
I find it sweet and pleasant to hear them;
so much in fact that I don’t know how to live
without singing, so that I begin
a cheerful little song.

E·l sols blancs, clars,
Veg qe raia
Cautz, greus, secs, durs et ardenz,
Qe·m frain totz mos bons talens.
Mas una voluntatz gaia
D’un franc joi, qe·m mou Dezirs,
No vol c’ap flacs volers viva.

And I see that the white, clear
sun shines,
hot, searing, dry, hard and burning,
and ruins all my good intentions.
But a cheerful wish
for an earnest joy, which Desire stirs,
doesn’t want me to live with an extenuated will.

Ges no m’es clars
Ni m’esquiva
Est jois, don faz lez sospirs,
Ni sai s’anc mi valc mos dirs
Ni mi noc; e tem qe·m viva
Enaisi trop lonjamens
L’amors qe·il tenc meja gaia.

This joy never clearly
reveals itself nor does it
shy me, and I happily sigh because of it,
and I don’t know whether my sayings avail me
or harm me; and I fear
this half-hearted joy will overlive
in this state.

Mos cors es clars
E s’esmaia!
Aici vauc mestz grams-iauzens,
Plens e voigz de bel comens;
Qe l’una meitatz es gaia
E l’autra m’adorm cossirs
Ab voluntat mort’e viva.

My heart is clear
and still dismayed;
I go disheartened, sad and still merry,
full and void [at once] of good beginnings;
for my one half is merry
and the other dulled by worry
with a will which is dead, and still lives.

C’us volers clars
Qe·m caliva
M’espeing enant en Faillirs!
Mostra Temers que jauzirs
Val mais al home qe viva
Qe cortz gaugz; per q’espaventz
S’altempr’ab voluntat gaia.

A clear desire
that consumed me
pushes me into Misconduct’s arms;
[but] Retain shows me that enjoyment
is worth more to any living man
than a brief pleasure; through which my fear
is alloyed with cheerful will.


Vostr’amics clars
No·us essaia,
Dona, ni·us mostra parvens,
Cor es en vos totz sos sens.
Ni sap si l’etz dur’o gaia!
Tant vos tem qe·l Descubrirs
L’escarz, e no sap com viva.
Your clear lover
doesn’t approach you,
lady, nor shows you his visage
when all his senses tend towards you.
He doesn’t know if you are harsh towards him, or cheerful;
he regards you so much that Disclosure
keeps him away, and he doesn’t know how to live.

Que non es clars,
Ab c’om pliva,
Amics, ni ab genz mentirs,
Si non tem so; c’a martirs
Leu deu venir anz q’el viva!
C’om non ama finamenz
Senes gran temensa gaia.

For a lover is not clear,
no matter if one pleads
or is full of pleasant lies,
if he doesn’t fear thus; for he should
easily go to his martyrdom rather than live.
For one is not an adept lover
without much cheerful fear.

Ai! francs cors clars!
Res veraia!
Domna, vailla·m Chausimenz
Si eu non sui tant sapiens
Qe·us sapcha, per foudat gaia,
Dir so qe voil; mas Suffrirs
No·m dan si voletz qe viva.

Ah! Clear, earnest heart!
You true thing!
Lady, may Clemency avail me
if I am not wise enough
to be able, through my cheerful folly,
to say what I mean; but Enduring
won’t hurt me, if you wish me to live.

Domna,·l meilher res qe viva!
De loing ses fuec m’escomprens
E·m donas voluntat gaia.

Lady, the best thing alive,
you inflame me from afar, without fire
and give me cheerful longing.

Ai! dousa res coind’e gaia
Ara·m prosmara·l morirs
Si no·m das socors com viva.

Ah, you sweet, gleeful, nice thing,
now death draws near me
if you don’t come to my rescue so that I may live.






Guiraut de Bornelh (c. 1138-1215)


[Guiraut de Bornelh] was from … Limoges. He was of low birth, but he was wise in matters of letters and had great natural intelligence. And he was the best troubadour of any of those who came before or after him. For this reason he was called Master of the Troubadours…. His life was such that he spent all winter in school learning letters, and all summer going from court to court, taking with him two jongleurs who sang his songs. But he never wanted to marry, and everything he earned he gave to poor relatives and to the church in the town where he was born.—from his vida.
Guiraut was born in a lower class family in Limousin. In his time as the Master of the Troubadours, succeeding Peire d’Alvernhe, until he himself was surpassed by Arnaut Daniel. Dante takes a jab at Guiraut in the Commedia when he writes that “only fools claim Limoges produced a better” troubadour than Arnaut Daniel. He is credited with the formalization of trobar leu, or the light style. Ninety of his lyrics and four of his melodies survive. He made at least one pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and perhaps accompanied Richard I of England on the Third Crusade.



from Reis glorios


Bel companho, en chantan vos apel!
No dormatz plus, qu’eu auch chantar l’auzel
Que vai queren lo jorn per lo boschatge
Et ai paor que.l gilos vos assatge
Et ades sera l’alba.


Fair friend, in singing I call you:
Sleep no longer, for I hear the bird sing
Who goes seeking day through the wood
And I fear that the jealous one will attack you,
And soon it will be dawn!


Bel dous companh, tan sui en ric sojorn
Qu’eu no volgra mais fos l’alba ni jorn,
Car la gensor que anc nasques de maire
Tenc et abras, per qu’eu non prezi gaire
Lo fol gilos ni l’alba.


Fair, gentle friend, I’ve found so dear a home
I wish that dawn might never come again;
The loveliest lady ever born of woman
Lies in my arms, and I care not a straw
For jealous fool or dawn!



Peire Bremon lo Tort (fl. 1177)


Peire Bremon lo Tort was a poor knight from Viennois and he was a good inventor of poetry and was honored by all notable men.—from his vida.


Peire Bremon lo Tort (or the Twisted One) was not a major troubadour and Ezra Pound feared that he would be totally forgotten and his work lumped in with another troubadour. He is the first troubadour known to have found patronage in Italy, where he was part of the court of marquises of Monferrat. Only two of his verses, both love songs, survive.



from From Syria


Beyond sea be thou speed, my song,
And, by God, to my Lady say
That in desirous, grief-filled way
My nights and my days are full long.
And command thou William the Long-Seer
To tell thee to my Lady dear,
That comfort be her thoughts among.

—Translated by Ezra Pound




Bertran de Born (c. 1140-1215)


Whenever he so wished, [Bertran de Born] could dominate King Henry and his sons, but he always wanted them to be at war with one another—father, son and brother. And he always wanted the kings of France and England to be at war with each other. And if there was a peace or truce, he would try by means of his sirventes to undo it and prove how each had been dishonored by this peace. [De Born stirred up strife and set brother against brother but supported the wrong son and after defeat he was brought to Richard the Lion-heart—not Henry II as written below—who by right should have had him executed—ed.] En Bertran … was brought to King Henry’s pavilion and there was received very badly. And King Henry said to him, “Bertran, Bertran, you once said you never needed more than half your wits, but now you may be sure that you will need them all.” “My Lord,” said En Bertran, “it is true that I said that, and I spoke the truth.” And the king said, “but now it would seem you have lost your wits altogether.” “My Lord,” said En Bertran, “indeed I have.” “And how is that?” asked the King. “My Lord,” said En Bertran, “the day your son, the valiant Young King died, I lost my wits, judgment and mind.” And when the king saw En Bertran’s tears and heard what he said of his son, a great grief entered his heart and eyes, and he could not keep from fainting. And when he had recovered, he called out and said in tears, “En Bertran, En Bertran, it was only right that you should lose your wits for my son, for he loved you more than any other man in the world. And I, for love of him, shall set you free—your person, your belongings and your castle—and I shall grant you my love and my favor, and I shall also give you five hundred marks of silver for the injury you have received.” And En Bertran fell at his feet, giving him thanks and gratitude.—from his vida.


Bertran was a lessor noble born in Limousin, eldest son of the lord of Hautefort. Many of his works are political and satirical sirventes, along with a few cansos. Ezra Pound translated his “Be.m platz lo gais temps de pascor” (“A War Song”): [Note: “Yea and Nay” was de Born’s pet-name for Richard the Lionheart.]

…We shall see battle axes and swords, a-battering colored haumes and   a-hacking through shields at entering melee; and many vassals smiting   together, whence there run free the horses of the dead and wrecked. And when   each man of prowess shall be come into the fray he thinks no more of (merely)   breaking heads and arms, for a dead man is worth more than one taken alive.


I tell you that I find no such savor in eating butter and sleeping, as   when I hear cried “On them!” and from both sides hear horses neighing through   their head-guards, and hear shouted “To aid! To aid!” and see the dead with   lance truncheons, the pennants still on them, piercing their sides.


Barons! put in pawn castles, and towns, and cities before anyone makes   war on us.

Papiol, be glad to go speedily to “Yea   and Nay”, and tell him there’s too much peace about.



Widowed for the second time in 1196, Bertran became a monk and entered a Cistercian abbey. Forty-seven of his works survive, along with several melodies.




Doré’s illustration of Bertran in Hell, from Dante’s L’Inferno


Dante put de Born in the Inferno in the eighth circle of hell carrying his severed head like a lantern, as a sower of schism.


Surely I saw, and still before my eyes
Goes on that headless trunk, that bears for light
Its own head swinging, gripped by the dead hair,
And like a swinging lamp that says, “Ah me!
I severed men, my head and heart
Ye see here severed, my life’s counterpart.”

Pound translated him and based several original poems around him and his work, including “No Audiart,” “Sestina: Altaforte,” and “Near Perigord.” He also features in his Cantos. Translating Bertran’s poem “Lady, Since You Care Nothing for Me,” Pound claimed that de Born was writing in code to send tactical information to his confederates, and every lady in the poems stands for a castle.

Tortz e gerras e joi d’amor

Injustice and wars and the joys
of love used to exhilarate me
and keep me gay and tuneful,
until singing was forbidden me
by the lady I must obey. But
now look, my song has turned
entirely to fidelity.


Now I have turned to love, and
you’ll see love songs come and
go, since it pleases the most
beautiful one to allow my song.
To my honor she has rightly
entrusted herself, and not to
any of the counts.


As for the little king of
Lesser-Land, I’m pleased that
he wants to get ahead. From
now on the men who hold fiefs
from him will acknowledge him
as their lord. Since he has
gotten into their foolish
business, now let him stay
there, and regain his rights all


Don’t take me for a
troublemaker if I want one
great man to hate another; then
vavasors and castellans will be
able to get more sport out of
them. I swear it by the faith that
I owe you–a great man is more
free, generous and friendly in
war than in peace.


The Lombards wanted to
attack that fox of an emperor,
and fear never stops them from
building upstream from
Cremona; Count Raymond is
honored here, since he has
newly allied himself with the


I know that because I want to
tell the truth about their war, the
bad-mouthers will say I’ve been
a dupe to let myself be drafted
into it and used. My brother
even wants to keep my half of
the fiefs he promised to share.


Since my brothers won’t
tolerate my rights, my love, or
my pleas, if I do manage to
regain possession of my half, I
don’t want to be scolded by
any jeering shop-keepers. They
talk peace many a time when
no one has asked them to.


But I have so many teachers
that I don’t know, by Christ,
how to choose the best course;
when I grab and snatch the
wealth of those who don’t let
me keep to myself, they say
I’ve been too rash. Now since
I’m not making war, they say
I’m no good.




Beatritz de Dia (c. 1140-c. 1175)


The Countess de Dia was the wife of Lord Guillem de Peitieu, a beautiful and good lady. And she fell in love with Lord Raimbaut d’Aurenga and composed many good songs about him.—from her vida


Beatritz was the most famous of a small group of trobairitz, of female troubadours. Sometimes referred to as the Countess de Dia, it is almost certain that her husband, Guillem de Poitiers, was not a count. She fell in love with and sang about Raimbaut of Orange. Her poems were often set to flute music. Four cansos and one tenso of hers survives. The opening lines of her canso Estat ai en greu cossirier (Cruel Are the Pains I’ve Suffered) begins:


One night I’d like to take my swain
To bed and hug him, wearing no clothes—
I’d give him reason to suppose
He was in heaven, if I deigned
To be his pillow!


“In A chantar, Comtessa plays the part of a betrayed lover, and despite the fact she has been betrayed, continues to defend and praise herself.”—from the Wikipedia entry for Beatritz de Dia.


One line from her lyrics reads: “The joy you give me is such that a thousand doleful people would be made merry by my joy.”




Maria de Ventadorn and Gui d’Ussel


You have surely heard of my lady Maria de Ventadorn, how she was the most esteemed lady who ever lived in Limousin…. And her reason always helped her, and folly never made her act foolishly. And God honored her with a beautifully pleasing body, without any artifice. Lord Gui d’Ussel had lost his lady … so he lived in great pain and in great sadness. And he had not sung or invented poetry in a long time, and all the good ladies from that region were very grieved about it, and Lady Maria more than any other, for Lord Gui d’Ussel praised her in all his songs. And the Count of La Marche … was [Maria’s] knight, and she had granted him as much honor and as much love as a lady can bestow on a knight. And one day as he was courting her, they had an argument between them: the Count of La Marche said that every true lover, from the time his lady gives him her love and takes him as her knight and friend, must have … as much suzerainty and authority [over] her as she has [over] him. And Lady Maria forbade that the friend should have suzerainty or authority over her. Lord Gui d’Ussel was in the court of Lady Maria and she, to make him return to his songs and his joy, composed a couplet in which she asked him if it was proper for the friend to have as much suzerainty over the lady as she had over him. And on this subject my lady Maria challenged him to a tenson exchange.—from Gui d’Ussel’s vida.

Maria de Ventadorn
(fl. 1197, d. 1222)


Maria de Ventadorn was a daughter of viscount Raymond II of Turenne, and a patron of troubadours. Bertran de Born wrote that Maria and her two older sisters possessed tota beltat terrena, “all earthly beauty.” Her husband was the grandson of Eble III, patron of Bernart de Ventadorn), and great-grandsson of Eble le chanteur, one of the first troubadours. She is mentioned in the poems of several troubadours, including Gaucelm Faidit, the Monk of Montaudon, Gausbert de Pucibot, Pons de Capduelh, Guiraut de Calanso, Bertran de Born, and Gui d’Ussel.


Gui d’Ussel (fl. 1195-1209)


Gui was born in Limousin, the youngest of three sons of a wealthy noble family. Twenty of his lyrics survive, along with four of his melodies. He fell in love with Malgarita, wife of Rainaut VI, viscount of Aubusson. Later he fell in love with Guillemette de Comborn, wife of Dalfi d’Alvernha. Many of his lyrics are written to Maria de Ventadorn. In 1209 he was ordered by the pope to stop writing and all evidence points to him ceasing his writing at that time.


Below: from Be-m pesa de vos (When a Lady Loves), by Gui d’Ussel and Maria de Ventadorn. The argument of the poem is whether once a man has been accepted as a lady’s lover, does he become her equal, or does he remain her servant? Gui argues for their equality, Maria that he remains her servant.


Gui d’Ussel, I’ve been distraught
Since you gave up singing. In
Hopes that you’ll make a new beginning
At this, and since you know about
Such things, I ask you: when a lady freely
Falls in love with a gentleman, should she
Do as much for him as he does for her,
According to the tenants of


Lady Maria, I thought I’d given
Up debates and all those other
Forms of song, but when you order
It, how can I refuse your bidding?
Here is my opinion since you ask me:
A lady ought to treat her love exactly
As he treats her, with no regard to station—
In friendship rank is no consideration.

                        —translated by Robert Kehew




Monge de Montaudon (fl. 1193-1210)


The Monk of Montaudon … was made a monk in the abbey of Orlac. And then the abbot gave him the priorate of Montaudon, and there he did a great deal for the good of the house. While he was in the monastery he wrote coblas and sirventes on subjects that were popular in that region. And knights and barons brought him forth from the monastery, did him great honor and gave him whatever he wanted or requested; and he took everything back to Montaudon, to his priorate…. And he returned to Orlac, to his abbot … and he begged the abbot to allow him to follow Alfonso of Aragon’s advice, and the abbot consented. For the king had commanded him to eat meat, court women, sing and write poetry, and thus he did. And he was made lord of [the festival of] Puoi Santa Maria and was chosen as the one to give the sparrow hawk.—from his vida.


The Monk of Montaudon was born Peire de Vic, a nobleman, in a castle in Auvergne. He became a Benedictine monk and began writing couplets and sirventes in 1180, and became so popular with the local nobility that he was taken from the monastery to serve and entertain them. The favors he received for his poetry were sent back to his priory until he was relieved from his monastic vocation and followed Alfonso II of Aragon. He traveled widely, including visits to Perigord, Languedoc, Catalonia, and was patronized by Dalfi D’Alvernha and Maria de Ventadorn. At Alfonso’s court he was appointed lord of the poetical society and given a sparrow hawk, the prize granted for superb poetry. He later retired to the Benedictine priory near Villafranca, where he died. Seven of his cansos survive, along with poems written in forms he probably invented: the enueg (a poem listing unpleasant things) and the plazer (a poem cataloguing pleasant things). One of his songs—”Be m’ennueia so auzes dire”—translates as “What I Don’t Like.” In one of his poems—”Pos Peire d’Alvernh’ a chantat”—is a famous parody of Peire d’Alvernha, where he also insults Arnaut Daniel (who “never sung well except for some foolish words that no one understands,” Arnaut de Maruelh (“with a bad disposition, as his lady has no compassion for him”), Folquet de Marshelha, Gaucelm Faidit (“who from a lover became the husband of the one he used to follow around”), Guilhem Ademar, Guillem de Saint Didier, Peire Vidal (a “peasant who used to be a fur merchant”), Peirol (“who has worn the same suit for thirty years,”), Raimon Jordan, and Raimon de Miraval. Two of his melodies survive.




from What I Like


I love amusements and gaiety,
Feasts and gifts and tests of endurance,
And when a well-bred, courteous lady
Expresses herself with self-assurance.
I love a lord who speaks with candor,
Who shows his enemies his anger.



from What I Don’t Like


I don’t care much, I do declare,
For servants who are jabbering bores,
For the blusterer who always swears
He’ll kill someone, and the old cart horse.
And I dislike, God only knows,
The dandy who is fond of bearing
A shield that’s never received a blow;
Monks and priests and the beards they’re wearing;
Slanderers and the lies they’re sharing.

—Translations by Robert Kehew




Arnaut Daniel (fl. 1180-1200)

Arnaut Daniel came from … a castle called Ribairac in … Perigord, and he was of gentle birth. He learned his letters well and took great delight in writing poetry. And then he abandoned his letters and became a jongleur, and began writing a kind of poetry with difficult rhymes, which is why his songs are not easy to understand or to learn.—from his vida.


Dante praised Daniel as “il miglior fabbro”—the better craftsman, and he was called “gran maestro d’amor”—”Grand Master of Love” by Petrarch, and Ezra Pound called him the greatest poet to have ever lived in The Spirit of Romance, and wrote “The Twelfth Century … has left us two perfect gifts: the church of San Zeno in Verona, and the canzoni of Arnaut Daniel.” Daniel’s vida claims he was born to a noble family in the castle of Riberac in Perigord, but contemporary sources claim he was a jester with constant money problems. Raimon de Durfort calls him “a student, ruined by dice and shut-the-box.” He invented the sestina. Dante claims that he also wrote “proses of romance,” but none survive. Arnaut’s speech in Provencal is the only passage in the Commedia not in vernacular Italian. Sixteen of his lyrics survive, but none of his melodies.


In the Commedia, Daniel appears in Purgatory doing penance for lust. When asked who he is, he answers:


“Your courteous question pleases me so,

that I cannot and will not hide from you.

I am Arnaut, who weeping and singing go;

Contrite I see the folly of the past,

And, joyous, I foresee the joy I hope for one day.

Therefore do I implore you, by that power

Which guides you to the summit of the stairs,

Remember my suffering, in the right time.”


Pound claimed that “the three lines by which Daniel is most commonly known” are:



“I am Arnaut who gathers up the wind,

And chases the hare with the ox,

And swims against the torrent.”


Up until Daniel, all of the troubadours we know wrote in 8- or 10-syllable lines. Arnaut chopped these up into smaller pieces, as in “The Bitter Air,” below, translated by Pound, and replaced end rhymes with interior rhymes:


L’aura amara                                      The bitter air
fa-ls bruoills brancutz                          Strips panoply
Clarzir                                                 From trees
Qe-l doutz espeissa ab fuoills,             Where softer winds set leaves,
E-ls letz                                                The glad
Becs                                                     Beaks
Dels auels ramencs                             Now in brakes are coy,
Pars                                                     Mates
E non pars.                                          And un-mates.


By the time Daniel wrote “Sols sui”, he has eliminated end rhymes completely, which Pound called “the first piece of blank verse.” Arnaut also created new words to serve his purposes when he felt the already existing words would not suit his poetical purposes, or to give new meanings to already existing words. Pound honors him for so understanding the mechanics that language used to communicate meaning that he “tried to make a new language, or at least to enlarge the Langue d’Oc, and make new things possible.” To describe his poetry—which was not written in the intentionally difficult-to-understand trobar clus but is rather inherently challenging in that he is inventing so much that is not traditional, a new term was created, trobar ric, or rich and ornate poetry. Pound concluded that Daniel’s achievement “is not literature but the art of fitting words well with music…. [His] triumph is … in an art between literature and music.” His favorite passage in Daniel’s work is the fourth stanza of “Doutz brais e critz”:


Dieus lo chauzitz                                             God, who did tax
Per cui foron assoutas                         not Longus’ sin, respected
Las faillidas que fetz Longis lo cecs,               That blind centurion beneath the spikes
Voilla, sil platz, qu’ ieu e midonz jassam        And him forgave, grant that we two shall lie
En la chambrea on amdui no mandem           Within one room, and seal therein our pact,
Uns rics convens dn tan gran joi atendi,         Yes, that she kiss me in the half-light, leaning
Quel seu bel cors baisan rizen descobra         To me, and laugh and strip and stand forth in the
E quell remir contral lum de la lampa.           Where lamp-light with light limb but half




Arnaut de Mareuill (fl. 1170-1200)


Arnaut de Marueill was from … Perigueux, from a castle called Mareuill; he was of a poor family and became a clerk. But since he could not live by his letters, he went out into the world. And he could write good poetry, and he was a man of intelligence. The heavens and good fortune brought him to the court of the Countess of Burlatz…. This Arnaut was handsome, and he sang well, and read romances. And the Countess did much for him and honored him greatly. And he fell in love with her and dedicated his songs to her, but he did not dare tell her nor anyone else that it was he who had written them, but instead he pretended somebody else had done so.—from his vida.


Arnaut was born to a poor family in Perigord and was a clerk who became a jongleur. His poems were dedicated to his patroness, Azalais, the daughter of Raymond V, count of Toulouse, wife to Roger II, viscount of Beziers. Later he was at the court of William VIII, count of Montpellier. Twenty-five of his lyrics, all cansos, survive, six with music, and the poems form a lyric cycle about his love for Azalais. The Monk of Montaudon wrote of him that “his eyes are always calling out for mercy; the more he sings, the more his tears are flowing.” Petrarch wrote that he was the “less famous Arnaut” (compared to Arnaut Daniel) but also praised him. Pound praised him “For the simplicity of adequate speech that Arnaut is to be numbered among the best of courtly ‘makers’.” Pound’s favorite of his surviving works is Belh m’es quan lo vens m’alena, the first verse of which follows:



Belh m’es quan lo vens m’alena          Fair is it to me when the wind “blows down my throat,”
En abril ans qu’entre mais,                  In April ere May come in,
E tota la nueg serena                           And all the calm night the nightingale sings, and the jay,
Chanta-l rossinhols e-l jais                  Each bird in his own speech
Quecx auzel en son lenguatge,            Through the freshness of the morning
Per la frescor del mati,                        Goes bearing joy rejoicingly
Van menan joi d’agradatge,                As he lodges him by his mate.
Com quecx abs a par s’aizi.fai




Gaucelm Faidet (c. 1170-c. 1202)


Gaucelm Faidit was from a town called Uzerche, which is in the bishopric of Limousin, and he was the son of a burgher. And he sang worse than anyone in the world, but he composed many good melodies and good rhymes. And he became a minstrel because he lost all his belongings in a game of dice. He was a man of great girth, and he exhibited great gluttony in eating and drinking…. And he married a prostitute whom he took with him around the courts, and her name was Guillelma Monja [“nun”]. She was extremely beautiful and extremely learned, and she became as large and as fat as he was.—from his vida.


Gaucelm was born in Uzerche in the Limousin into a family of knights in service to the count of Turenne. He traveled widely in France, Spain, and Hungary. His patrons included Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany, and Dalfi d’Alvernha, Richard the I of England at Poitiers, and he may have also taken part in the Third Crusade. In 1202, he set off for the Fourth Crusade with his current patron Boniface of Montferrat. There is no record of him returning from that Crusade. Gaucelm apparently married a prostitute named Guillelma Monja who “was very beautiful and well educated” according to contemporary accounts. It is also said that he was rather fat and that after their marriage his wife put on weight as well. He was one of the most prolific of the troubadours, and seventy of his lyrics and fourteen of his melodies survive.



Del gran golfe de mar                                               From The Depths of the Sea


Del gran golfe de mar                                                 From the depths of the sea
E dels enois dels portz,                                               From the perilous strait
E dels perillos far,                                                       From the port’s ennui
Soi, merce Dieu, estortz!                                             I have, thank God, escaped,
Don posc dir e comdar                                                And thus the miseries
Qe mainta malanansa                                                  I’ve faced, I can express
I hai suffer, e maint turmen!                                       And share: and since God has ordained
E pos a Dieu platz que torn m’en                                That I with joyful heart again
En Lemozi, ab cor jauzen,                                           Find myself in Limousin
Don parti ab pensansa,                                                Which I left in distress,
Lo tornar e l’onransa                                                   For the home that I’m blessed
Li grazisc, pos el m’o cossen.                                      With, for honor, I give thanks to him.




Peire Vidal (1175-1205)


Peire Vidal was … one of the craziest men who ever lived, for he believed to be true whatever he liked or wanted. And he … recounted the craziest things in matter or arms and of love and in speaking ill of others…. And he loved Loba [“She-Wolf”] of Pueinautier … and for her sake Perie Vidal took the name of Lop [“Wolf’] and bore wolf arms. And he had shepherds hunt him through the mountains of Caberet with mastiffs and greyhounds as if he were a wolf. And he dressed in a wolf’s skin so the shepherds and dogs would make no mistake about his being one. And the shepherds with their dogs hunted him down and caught him in such a way that he was brought half dead to the house of Loba de Pueinautier. When she saw that it was Peire Vidal, she began to feel great joy for the madness he had committed and to laugh a great deal, and her husband did the same.—from his vida.



Peire Vidal was a furrier and known as the greatest singer among the troubadours. He started his career singing in the court of Raimon V of Toulouse, and later worked for Viscount Barral of Marseille, King Alfonso II of Aragon, Boniface of Montferrat, and Manfred I Lancia. He may have taken part in the Third Crusade. He was described as an erratic character and a malicious gossip. Forty-five of his lyrics have survived, along with twelve with melodies. He was known for introducing a more natural and simple voice to courtly poetry and complicated metrical forms. He specialized in the canso-sirventes, a Provencal poetic form that combines the tenets of courtly love with contemporary political references. He also often sings of his success with the ladies:



I am such a one that a thousand greetings come to me every day from Catalonia and from Lombardy, for every day my value mounts and increases, wherefore the King nearly dies of envy, for I have my fun and pleasure with ladies.

Ab l’alen tir vas me l’aire                 from The Song of Breath

E s’ieu sai ren dir ni faire,                   If I have skill in speech or deed hers is the thanks
Ilh n’aja-l grat, que sciensa                 for it, for she has given me proficiency and the
M’a donat e conoissensa,                    understanding whereby I am a gay singer, and
Per qu’ieu sui gais e chantaire.            every pleasing thing that I do is because of her fair
E tot quan fauc d’avinen                    self, and I have all needful joy of her fair body,
Ai del sieu bell cors plazen,                even when I with good heart desire it.
Neis quan de bon cor consire                                      —translation by Ezra Pound




Peirol d’ Auvernha (c. 1150-c. 1225)


Peirol was a poor knight of Auvergne from a castle named Peirol … in the region of the Dalfin…. And he was a courtly man and handsome in appearance. And the Dalfin of Auvergne kept Peirol with him and clothed him and gave him horses and arms. And the Dalfin had a sister named Sail de Claustra [“escaped from the cloister”], beautiful and good and well regarded, who was the wife of … a great baron of Auvergne. Lord Peirol loved her truly, and the Dalfin … was very pleased with the songs Peirol composed about his sister…. And the love of the lady and Peirol grew so much that the Dalfin became jealous of her, for he believed that she accorded the poet more than was appropriate. And he parted with Peirol and banished him and did not clothe him or arm him. So Peirol was unable to maintain himself as a knight and became a minstrel. And he went around the courts and received clothing and money and horses from the barons.—from his vida.


Peirol was a poor knight who served at the court of Dalfi d’ Alvernha, and wrote mostly cansos of courtly love. Thirty-four of his poems survive, and seventeen have surviving melodies—including “Mainta Gens Mi Malrazona.” Many of these were directed at the sister of the Dalfi, who was married. Dalfi eventually tired of the attentions paid to him by his sister, and dismissed him, at which time Peirol became a jongleur who wrote in the trobar leu tradition and played the fiddle, and traveled from court to court. He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem around 1222. He wrote a tenso—”Quant amors trobet partit” (When Love discovered that my heart / Had parted from his concerns)—in support of the Third Crusade. In it he says that he wants to go on the Crusade as well, but is convinced by Love not to abandon his lady but rather to “love and sing often.”


From “Even as the Swan,” translated by Robert Kehew


Even as the swan that knows
It dies, yet sings, so I

Though suffering sing, thus seeking to

…Relieve distress and die
With greater merit; for Love has fashioned

Such a snare that the joys of passion
Render its torments bearable:

To them I am insensible.



Raimbaut de Vaqueiras (circa 1155-1207)


Raimbaut de Vaqueiras was from a castle called Vaqueiras, and he was the son of a poor knight … who was thought to be mad. And Raimbaut became a minstrel…. And he came to Montferrat to the Marquis Boniface. And he stayed with him for a long time, and he increased in arms and in [poetic] invention…. And the marquis, because of the great worth he recognized in him, made him a knight…. So he fell in love with the sister of the marquis, who was called Lady Beatrice and was the wife of Enrico del Carretto. And he invented many good songs about her. And he called her “Bel Cavalier.” And this is why he called her this: Lord Raimbaut had such good fortune that he could see Lady Beatrice whenever he wanted, as long as she was in her room, through a keyhole. Nobody noticed this. And one day the marquis came in from the hunt. And he entered the room and put his sword next to the bed and went out. And Lady Beatrice stayed in the room and took off her mantle and remained in her coat. And she took the sword and girt it in the manner of a knight. And she took it out of its sheath and brandished it up high and swung it in her hand from one side to the other. And she put it back in the sheath, ungirded it, and put it back by the side of the bed. And Lord Raimbaut de Vaqueiras saw everything I told you through the keyhole. So for this reason he afterwards called her “Bel Cavelier” in his songs.—from his vida.



Raimbaut was born the son of a poor knight in Vacqueyras between 1150 and 1160, and was a court poet for Boniface I of Montferrat, Italy. Also a soldier, he earned his knighthood by protecting Boniface with his shield at Messina in 1194, when they were part of the force Henry VI sent to Sicily. He was accompanied Boniface on the Fourth Crusade, and was present at the siege and capture of Constantinople in 1204, and traveled with Boniface to Thessalonica. He also wrote of the politics of the Latin Empire in his “Epic Letter.” He is believed to have died beside Boniface on September 4, 1207, in an ambush by the Bulgarians.


Thirty three of his lyrics have been preserved, eight of them with their melodies, including “Kalenda maia” (The First of May)—a love song to the wife of Boniface—which is considered by many to be one of the best troubadour melodies, which he himself claims to have “borrowed” from two other musicians. Its last line refers to itself as an estampida, which makes it a very early example of the estampie. He invented the form of the torneyamen.


Kalenda   maia
Ni fueills de faia
Ni chans d’auzell ni flors de glaia
Non es qe.m plaia,
Pros dona gaia,
Tro q’un isnell messagier aia
Del vostre bell cors, qi.m retraia
Plazer novell q’amors m’atraia
E jaia,
E.m traia
Vas vos, donna veraia,
E chaia
De plaia
.l gelos, anz qe.m n’estraia.

Neither calends of May,
nor leaves of beech
nor songs of bird, nor gladiolus flowers
are of my liking,
o noble and merry lady,
until I have a fleet messenger
of your beautiful person to tell me
of new pleasures love and joy
are bringing;
and I repair
to you, true lady;
and let me crush
and strike
the jealous, before I depart from here.

Ma   bell’ amia,
Per Dieu non sia
Qe ja.l gelos de mon dan ria,
Qe car vendria
Sa gelozia,
Si aitals dos amantz partia;
Q’ieu ja joios mais non seria,
Ni jois ses vos pro no.m tenria;
Tal via
Q’oms ja mais no.m veiria;
Cell dia
Donna pros, q’ie.us perdria.

My beautiful friend
by God, this never be:
that out of jealousy one scoffs at my harm,
he’d command a dear price
for his jealousy
if it were such as to part two lovers;
Since never again I’d be happy
nor would I know happiness, without you;
I’d take
such a way
that I’d never be seen by men again;
that day
I’ll die,
brave lady, in which I lose you.

Con   er perduda
Ni m’er renduda
Donna, s’enanz non l’ai aguda
Qe drutz ni druda
Non es per cuda;
Mas qant amantz en drut si muda,
L’onors es granz qe.l n’es creguda,
E.l bels semblanz fai far tal bruda;
Qe nuda
No.us ai, ni d’als vencuda;
Vos ai, ses autr’ajuda.

How could I lose
or retrieve
a lady, before I have had her?
neither leman nor lover
is such by imagination alone;
but when a suitor turns into a lover
great is the honour he has accrued,
such is the fame produced by a sweet glance;
yet naked
you I have never, nor others have won you;
longed for,
you I have, without any meed.

Tart   m’esjauzira,
Pos ja.m partira,
Bells Cavalhiers, de vos ab ira,
Q’ailhors no.s vira
Mos cors, ni.m tira
Mos deziriers, q’als non dezira;
Q’a lauzengiers sai q’abellira,
Donna, q’estiers non lur garira:
Tals vira,
Mos danz, qi.lls vos grazira,
Qe.us mira,
Cuidanz, don cors sospira.

I’d hardly rejoice
should I part from you,
my Beautiful Knight, in sorrow,
since it doesn’t turn anywhere else
my hart, nor drags me
my desire, since it desires naught else.
The slanderers, I know, would be pleased,
lady, as otherwise they’d find no peace.
Such one would see
and listen to
my loss, who would be indebted to you for it
as he looks at you
and considers
in his presumption, for which my heart sighs.

Tant   gent comensa,
Part totas gensa,
Na Beatritz, e pren creissensa
Vostra valensa;
Per ma credensa,
De pretz garnitz vostra tenensa
E de bels ditz, senes failhensa;
De faitz grazitz tenetz semensa;
Avetz e coneissensa;
Ses tensa
Vistetz ab benvolensa.

So kindly blossoms,
shining above all,
noble Beatriz, and so kindly grows
your valour;
in my opinion
your dominion is adorned with worth
and of fair speech, without doubt.
You are the source of gracious deeds;
and mercy
you have, along with knowledge;
beyond all dispute
you clothe in kindness.

Donna   grazida,
Qecs lauz’ e crida
Vostra valor q’es abellida,
E qi.us oblida,
Pauc li val vida,
Per q’ie.us azor, donn’ eissernida;
Qar per gencor vos ai chauzida
E per meilhor, de prez complida,
Genses q’Erecs Enida.
N’Engles, ai l’estampida.

Gracious lady,
everyone praises and proclaims
your worth, which gives such pleasure;
and he who forgets you,
prizes life but a trifle
and so I adore you, distinguished lady;
since I have chosen you as the kindest
and as the best, laden with worth,
I have flattered
and served
you more kindly than Eric did Enid.
and ended,
Dame Engles, I have the estampida.




Guillem de Cabestanh (1162-1212)


[In Roussillon, Guillem de Cabestanh’s birthplace] there lived a woman called my lady Seremonda, wife of En Raimon de Castel-Roussillon. The man was very rich and noble, but also cruel and harsh, fierce and arrogant. Guillem de Cabestanh loved the lady with a great love; he sang of it and wrote his songs for her. And she, young and noble, lovely and charming, loved him above all other creatures. This was told to Raimon de Castel-Roussillon who, in a jealous rage, made inquiries and, finding it was true, had his wife put under guard. And then one day Raimon de Castel-Roussillon saw Guillem de Cabestanh passing by unescorted and killed him. He had his heart removed from his body and his head cut off. He had the heart cooked and seasoned with pepper, and gave it to his wife to eat. And when this lady had eaten it, Raimon de Castel-Roussillon asked her, “Do you know what you have eaten?” And she answered, “No, I know that is it was savory and very good.” Then he told her that she had eaten the heart of En Guillem de Cabestanh; and in order that she should have no doubts, he had the head brought before her. And when the lady heard and saw this, she lost her sense of sight and hearing. Upon recovering, she said, “Sir, you have given me such a find thing to eat, that I shall never eat again.” When he heard this, he leapt at her with sword in hand, intending to strike her on the head, but she ran to a balcony and threw herself down. And so she died.—from his vida.



Guillem was a Catalan troubadour from Capestany. His story is recounted in “Canto IV” of Ezra Pound’s Cantos, as well in Boccaccio’s Decameron, and he is referred to as the archetypal troubadour in Ford Madox Ford’s Provence.



From “That Day, My Lady, When I First Discovered That You Exist,” translated by Robert Kehew:


That day, my lady, when I first discovered
That you exist, that time you first allowed

Me to behold you, the thought of any other
Left my heart, my longings found an abode

In you. Thus, lady, you gave me to know

Longing, with a sweet smile, a simple glance:

You made forget myself and all existence.


For the great beauty, the gracious presence,

The courteous speech, the pleasures known to lovers

That you granted, deprived me of my sense,

Which I have not been able to recover….

Take, lady, this gift my true heart offers—

Let the praise that is your due be rendered:

My love’s well placed, to you it is surrendered.




Raimon de Miraval (c. 1160-1220)


Raimon was a poor knight from Carcassonne who owned less than a quarter of the castle of Miraval. Raymond VI of Toulouse was his first patron, and later Peter II of Aragon and Alfonso VIII of Castile. He wrote under the name of Audiart. When his castle was lost during the Albigensian Crusade, he fled to Spain, pledging to never sing again until he recaptured his castle. He separated from his wife Gaudairenca (also a poet) for uncourtly behavior. Forty-five of his lyrics remain and 22 melodies. He wrote mostly in the trobar leu style. His work parallels a move away from celebrating jois d’amore (“joys of love”) or amor de lonh (“love from afar”) to emphasizing courtliness, honor, and reputation, where the highest virtue is faithfulness.






Rigaut de Berbeilh (fl. 1140-1163)


Rigaut was of the “petty nobility” of Saintonge. He is quoted in Roman de la Rose. Fifteen of his lyrics survive. They include references to Ovid and the legend of Perceval and many natural images and similes. His vida states “he knew better how to compose poetry than to listen to it or recite it.” He is reported there to be timid in the company of nobleman but to sing “in a charming way” with encouragement. He is reported to have fallen in love with the wife of Jaufre of Tonnay, possibly a daughter of Jaufre Rudel. She is reported to have made “sweet pretenses of love to him … like a lady who desired that a troubadour invent poems about her.” He referred to her as the “Best of Ladies” in four of his lyrics. When she died he traveled to Spain, where he spent the rest of his life at the court of Diego Lopez Diaz de Haro. Another story says that he married into a family of rank, and that he lived his entire life in Angouleme and that at the end of his life he entered a monastery.




Guilhem de Saint-Leidier (c. 1149-c. 1195)


Guilhem was lord of Saint Didier-en-Velay, and is said to have loved Belissende, sister of Dalfi d’Alvernha and wife of Eracle III of Polignac, Guilhem’s feudal overlord. Seventeen of his lyrics have survived. He is the first poet mentioned in a poetical survey written by the Monge of Montaudon, written about 1195. Guilhem’s daughter’s son, Gauseran, was also a troubadour.




Folquet de Marselha (c. 1150-1231)


Folquet of Marseilla was the son of a merchant from Genoa…. And when the father died, he left Folquet very wealthy. Then Folquet sought fame and merit. And he began to serve the worthy barons…. And he was greatly esteemed and honored by King Richard [the Lion-Hearted] and by the count Raimon [V] of Toulouse and by … his lord from Marseilla. He invented poetry very well, and … he loved the wife of his lord…. And it so happened that the lady died…. Because of his sadness over [the death] of his lady and [of] the princes I told you about, he abandoned his world. And he joined the order of Citeaux with his wife and his two sons. And so he was made abbot of a rich abbey which is in Provence, and which is called Torondet. And later he was made Bishop of Toulouse. And there he died.—from his vida.


Folquet was born into a Genoese merchant family in Marseille. He began composing songs in the 1170s. His love poems were praised by Dante. There are fourteen surviving cansos, one tenso, one lament, one invective, three crusading songs, and one religious song. It is said that his love for Eudocia Comnena led to her husband—William VIII—to divorce her. In 1195 he experienced a religious conversion and he renounced his life as a troubadour. He joined the Cistercian Order and put his wife and two sons in monasteries as well. He was elected Bishop of Toulouse in 1204. He supported the Albigensian Crusade and administered the Episcopal Inquisition with a gang he called the White Brotherhood. In 1216, he promised Toulousian rebels they would receive lenient treatment if they released their captive Crusaders. But once they complied, the Crusaders took 400 Toulousians prisoner and seized their lands. A contemporary chronicle claims that Folquet himself had 1500 people put to death.


Although Fulquet never could quite shake his past as a troubadour—enemies referred to him even after twenty-five years in his ministry as a “singer of songs whose sound is damnation,” and he once gave himself harsh penance after hearing a minstrel singing one of his songs on the street—but he is the only troubadour placed by Dante in the Paradiso—as a “bright and precious jewel” whose loving nature originally led him to the carnality and later led him to God.


From “So Pleasureth Me the Amorous Thought,” translated by Ezra Pound


So pleasureth me the amorous thought

Which has come to beset my true heart

That no other thought can fare there.

Nor is any other thought now sweet and pleasant to me.

For I am hers when the grief of it kills me,

And true love lightens my martyrdom,

Promising me joy; but she gives it to me over-slowly,

And has held me long with fair seeming.






Raimon Jordan (fl. 1178-1195)


Raimon was a viscount of Saint-Antonin. Jordan was a contemporary of Bertran de Born and joined with him in the Revolt of 1173-1174. Twelve of his lyrics survive, and one melody. According to his profile on Wikipedia:


Jordan’s work is generally ahistorical and his poetry “suggests a jazz musician working over well-worn themes to move inexorably deeper into the poetic imagination.” His innovations have led to comparisons with Thelonious Monk…. Though Jordan is not usually regarded as a master by modern standards, the Monge de Montaudon writing in the 1190s in the generation after him, gave him a high place in his Pos Peire d’Alvernh’a cantat. Jordan was one of the early troubadours to employ the mythology of the ‘wild man’ in his poems. He refers to the “solace of the savage” (aissi farai lo conort del salvatge) and remarks that the expectation of joy makes him brave and that therefore he should better enjoy the snowfall rather than the blossoming of the flowers. In general Jordan’s poetry emphasizes the accompanying suffering of love and the stoic embrace of the suffering as a necessary consequence to be endured. The sufferings of love were compared to the buffeting of a tempestuous sea, a metaphor which was common enough in the literature of the time, when the sea was typically viewed as dangerous…. In another passage, Jordan explains that his song is an “interpreter” of his sorrows to the lady for whom he is suffering…. In one of his more famous passages he exclaims that he would give up eternity in Paradise for one night with a certain lady….




Jordan Bonel de Confolens (fl. late 12th century)


Jordan was from western Aquitaine and was associated with the court of Alfonso II of Aragon. Three of his lyrics survive, including one melody.

Le Chastelain de Couci (fl. late 12th century)


Some suggest the Le Chastelain was Guy de Couci. Fifteen of his lyrics survive. There is a legend of a love between Le Chastelain and the Lady of Fayel in which the jealous husband makes his wife unknowingly eat the heart of her lover, but this comes from a later work of fiction.




Peire Raimon de Tolosa (Toulouse) (fl. 1180-1220)


Peire Raimon was born into the merchant class and is sometimes referred to as “the Old” or “the Fat.” Eighteen of his poems survive, and one canso with a melody. He was a jongleur who traveled to the court of Alfonso II of Aragon. His poetry features a great deal of nature imagery. He also traveled to several other courts, including two in Italy.




Walther von der Vogelweide (c. 1170-1230)


Walther is less a troubadour and more of a Middle High German lyric poet and Minnesinger. He was a knight, but not a rich or landed one. His name translates as Sir Walter of the Bird-Field. Walther studied poetry with Reinmar the Old and Duke Frederick became his first patron. This time was his happiest, and he composed mostly love lyrics in this period. But in 1198 the Duke died and Walther became an itinerant musician and his poetry became critical of the court society, and so he was often soon sent packing. He also wrote political poems and attacked the papacy. It is because of his political poetry in support of an independent Germany that he received a small piece of land in Franconia by King Frederick. He left instructions at his death that the birds should be fed at his tomb daily. Walter Alison Phillips, in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica writes of Walther’s work:


Historically interesting as Walther’s political verses are, their merit has been somewhat exaggerated by many 19th and early 20th century German critics, who saw their own imperial aspirations and anti-papal prejudices reflected in this patriotic poet of the Middle Ages. Usually considered to be of more lasting value are his lyrics, mainly dealing with love, which led his contemporaries to hail him as their master in song (unsers sanges meister). He is of course unequal. At his worst he does not rise above the tiresome conventionalities of his school. At his best he shows a spontaneity, a charm and a facility which his rivals sought in vain to emulate. His earlier lyrics are full of the joy of life, of feelings for nature and of the glory of love. Greatly daring, he even rescues love from the convention which had made it the prerogative of the nobly born; contrasts the titles “woman” (wîp) and “lady” (froûwe) to the disadvantage of the latter; and puts the most beautiful of his lyrics—Unter der linden— into the mouth of a simple girl. A certain seriousness apparent under the joyousness of his earlier work grew on him with years. Religious and didactic poems become more frequent; and his verses in praise of love turn at times to a protest against the laxer standards of an age demoralized by political unrest. Throughout his work, his attitude is regarded as healthy and sane. He preaches support for the crusade; but at the same time he suggests the virtue of toleration, pointing out that in the worship of God “Christians, Jews and heathen all agree.” He fulminates against “false love”; but pours scorn on those who maintain that “love is sin.” In an age of monastic ideals and loose morality, there was nothing commonplace in the simple lines in which he sums up the inspiring principle of chivalry at its best: “Swer guotes wibes liebe hat Der schamt sich ieder missetat.” (He who has a good woman’s love is ashamed of every ill deed.) Altogether Walther’s poems give us the picture of not only a great artistic genius, but also a strenuous, passionate, very human and very lovable character.






Aimeric de Peguilhan (c. 1170-c. 1230)


Aimeric was born the son of a cloth merchant in Peguilhan. As a troubadour most of his songs were cansos with a few tensos. His first patron was Raimon V of Toulouse. With the coming of the Albigensian Crusade, he fled to Spain and then spent ten years in Lombardy. Fifty of his lyrics survive, including the music for six of them, including “Atressi’m pren com fal al jogador.”







Perdigon (fl. 1190-1212)


Perdigon was born the son of a poor fisherman in Lesperon who, according to his vida, succeeded beyond his humble birth due to his “wit and inventiveness.” He was eventually granted land and rent and was clothed and armed and knighted by Dalfi D’Alvernha. Fourteen of his lyrics survive, including three melodies. He was also an accomplished fiddle player. His patrons included Dalfi d’Alvernha, the Baux; Peter II of Aragon; and Barral of Marseilles. His vida says that at the end of his life he had outlived all of his friends—male and female—and so he lost his position and retired to a Cistercian monastery. Another vida claims that he opposed the Cathars and supported the Albigensian Crusade, and that he accompanied Guillem des Baux, Folquet de Marselha, and the Abbot of Citeaux to Rome to oppose Raymond VI of Toulouse. This report also writes that he wrote songs to encourage the Crusade and boasted of humiliating Peter II of Aragon—a former patron “who had clothed him”—who died at the Battle of Muret. This story says that because of this he became despised and lost all of his friends, and his patron, Dalfi d’Alvernha, abandoned him and confiscated his lands and banished him.






Guillem Magret (fl. 1195-1210)


Guillem was a jongleur from Viennois. Eight of his lyrics survive, two with melodies. He was a publican who spent all of his money gambling and drinking. In a collaboration with another poet—Guilhem Rainol d’Apt—he is despised as “an old, silly, stupid jongleur.” He traveled widely in Spain, staying at the courts of Peter II of Aragon and Alfonso IX of Leon. He died in a hospital in Spain.



Peire Cardenal (c. 1180-c. 1278)


Peire Cardenal … wrote cansos, but only a few; however he wrote many sirventes, all of which were splendid and beautiful. And in these sirventes—or at least for those who understood them—he propounded many fine arguments and examples, for he greatly chastised the folly of this world and greatly vilified false clergymen, as one can see in these poems of his. And … En Peire Cardenal, when he passed from this life, was close to a hundred years old.—from his vida.


Peire Cardenal mostly wrote satirical sirventes and contrafacta about the clergy. Ninety-six of his songs survive. He was born in Le Puy-en-Velay in a noble family. He was educated as a canon, and studied vernacular lyric poetry. He abandoned the church for “the vanity of this world,” according to his vida. He began his career as a troubadour at the court of Raymond VI of Toulouse, where he was known as Peire del Puoi, and was referred to in 1204 as a scribe of Raymond’s chancery. Peire traveled widely, including the courts of Auvergne, Les Baux, Foix, Rodez, and Vienne. He may also have traveled to Spain and met Alfonso X of Castile and James I of Aragon. He traveled with a company of jongleurs. He met on his journeys other troubadours such as Aimeric de Belenoi and Raimon de Miravel, and also may have met Daude de Pradas and Guiraut Riquier at Rodez. He wrote one song in praise of Cadenet. His early work is critical of the French, the clergy, and the Albigensian Crusade. For instance, in “Atressi cum per fargar,” Peire writes that the clergy “protect their own swinish flesh from every blade” but they do not care how many knights die in battle. Pound wrote of him that “the gentle reader in search of trunk-hose and the light guitar had better go elsewhere,” and he also commented on “how finely the sound of [his] poems is matched with their meaning. There is a lash and sting in his timbre and in his movement.” Cardenal wrote that he “refused this world’s mad sanity.” It is claimed that he lived until the age of 100, and died in Montpellier or Nimes. Although his vida says that “he invented poetry about many beautiful subjects with beautiful tunes,” only three of his songs have surviving melodies, and two of these were composed by others” (namely, Guiraut de Bornelh and Raimon Jordan).




From “A New Protest Song,” translated by W.D. Snodgrass


I’ll now compose a brand new protest song

Which I’ll perform on the Last Judgment Day

Telling the Lord who contrived me from clay

That if He’s planning to claim I’ve done wrong

Then stick me down with those devils that scare me,

That I’ll just say: “Have a heart, Lord, and spare me!

I had torments in that damned world enough;

If You don’t mind, keep Hell’s pitchforkers off!”


Gilles le Vinier
(d. 1252)


Gilles was from a middle class family or Arras, the younger brother of trouvere Guillaume le Vinier. He entered the church and served as canon. In his songs he mentions making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Seven of his lyrics have survived.






Neidhart von Reuental (fl. 1210-40)


Neidhart was born in Bavaria and lived in Austria. He was comical and sarcastic. His name translates as “Grim-Heart of Lament-Valley,” and is probably a pseudonym. His lyrics are very different than the usual subjects of the other minnesingers, who wrote of courtly or romantic love. He introduced a new from called höfische Dorfpoesie (“courtly village poetry”). It celebrated, in dancing songs, the poet’s love of village maidens rather than noble ladies. His lyrics are usually divided into Sommerlieder (“summer songs”) and Winterlieder (“winter songs”). The summer songs open with a description of the season, followed by a dance on the village green and a love episode dealing with a knight’s conquest of a village maiden. The winter songs, usually more satirical, describe a dance in a farmhouse and ridicule the boorish peasant youths who are the knight’s rivals for the village beauty. A winter song often ends with a fight. The novelty of Neidhart’s settings and his coarse humor inspired many imitators, and mockery of the peasants became a popular theme. His best known song is “Meienzit” (“May Time”) in which he begins by describing a peaceful spring day before he begins insulting his foes, friends, and allies who betrayed him.



Aimeric de Belenoi (fl. 1215-1242)


Aimeric was born in the castle at Lesparra in Bordelais. His uncle was the troubadour Peire de Corbiac. He was a cleric and then a jongleur, and may have ended up a feudal lord. Fifteen of his lyrics survive, but only one melody. Most of these are to the wife of Raimon de Benque, Gentil de Rieux. He lived for a long time in Gascony to be near her, before moving to Catalonia, where he died. He traveled to Toulouse, Provence, Castile, and Italy. At the Este court in Ferrrara in the 1210s he probably had contact with Aimeric de Pegulhan, Albertet de Sestaro, Guillem Augier Novella, Peire Cardenal, and Peirol.



Guiot de Dijon (fl. 1215-25)


Guiot was born in Dijon. He participated in the Fourth Crusade with his patron Erard II de Chassenay. Seventeen of his lyrics survive, four of them with melodies. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians states that Guiot was “technically fluent [and] successfully used a wide variety of poetic structures[, but] is seldom imaginative.”

Falquet de Romans (fl. 1215-33)


Falquet was the most famous troubadour in the court of Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor, despite the fact that he began his career as a jongleur. Fourteen of his lyrics survive. According to his vida, he was “at ease in the courts and of pleasant conversation … well-honored among high society.” He spent much of his career in Italy, went back to Provence in 1226-1228, and then returned to Italy, where he wrote a poem to salute Frederick II on the Sixth Crusade. He was learned and well-read, and there is many references to chivalric romances in his poetry. his Vers Dieu, el vostre nom e de Sancta Maria, was addressed to God and the Virgin Mary and ends with the lines:

. The night goes and the day comes

to a clear sky and serene,

and the sunrise does not hold back

before becoming beautiful and complete.

His political views are expressed in a sirventes:

I wish we had a lord

with so much power and judgement

that from the base he took their   riches

and did not leave them land to   hold,

and gave their heritage

to the worthy and admired

that thus the world began,

and not respecting lineage.



Guillem Figueira (fl. 1230s)

Guillem Figueira was from Toulouse, the son of a tailor, and he was a tailor also. And when the French took Toulouse, he came to Lombardy. And he knew how to invent poetry well and how to sing. And he became a minstrel among the citizens. He was not a man who would know how to fit among barons or among high society. But he was greatly cherished by rogues and harlots and innkeepers and publicans. And if he saw a notable man from the court come to where he was, he became sad and afflicted. And at once he would take pains to debase him and exalt the rabble.—from his vida.

Guillem was a Languedocian jongleur and troubadour from Toulouse. He was an associate of troubadours Aimery de Pegulhan and Guillem Augier Novella, with whom he founded a troubadour tradition of songs about the “good old days” or pre-Crusade Languedoc. During the Albigensian Crusade he was exiled and took refuge in Lombardy, from where he made his way to the court of Emperor Frederick II.

His most famous song was set to a famous hymn to the Virgin Mary (and thus easily memorized by the masses) and written when he was in Toulouse besieged by the Crusaders in 1229. Here’s a section of the lyrics:

Treacherous   Rome,
So that you shear
May the Holy Ghost
avarice   ensnares you
too much wool from your sheep;
who takes on human flesh
Hear   my prayers
And break your beaks,
O Rome! You will never have truce with me,
Because you are false and perfidious
With us and with the Greeks![7]
Rome,   to the Saracens
But to the Greeks and Latins
In the bottom of the abyss,
you   do little damage
massacre and carnage;
Rome, you have your seat
In   hell.[8]

His songs were outlawed during the Inquisition of Toulouse because of heresy. For instance, he claimed that avarice was the motive of the Crusades and that Rome was the “mother of fornication.” He fled to Italy in 1229 or 1230, where he was free to criticize the Papacy and the Crusade.



Sordel or Sordello (fl. 1220-1260s)
Sordello came from the region of Mantua…. And he was a good singer and a good poet, and also a great lover; but he was very treacherous and false towards women and towards the baron with whom he stayed…. [He went] to the castle of the lords of Strasso … who were very good friends of his. And he secretly married a sister of theirs called Otha, and he then went to Treviso. And when the lord of Strasso found out about it, he wanted to do him harm…. Sordello therefore remained in the house of My Lord Ezzelino, always armed; and when he went out, he rode on a good horse and had himself accompanied by a great number of knights. And for fear of those who wanted to do him harm, he left and went to Provence, where he stayed with the Count of Provence.—from his vida.


Sordello (the Italian version of his name) or Sordel (encountered by Dante and Virgil in the Purgatorio above) was the most famous Italian troubadour. He was born in Mantua in Lombardy. He was praised by Dante in De vulgari eloquentia and in the Purgatorio. He is the hero of “Sordello” by Robert Browning, and was also praised in Oscar Wilde’s poem “Amor Intellectualis.” He is referred to in Samuel Beckett’s novels Molloy and Malone Dies, Pound writes of him in The Cantos, and he appears in Roberto Bolano’s novella “By Night in Chile.” In 1220 he was in a tavern brawl in Florence, and in 1226 he abducted his master’s wife. The scandal that followed led him to flee to Provence. In 1265 he joined Charles of Anjoy on his Naples expedition, and in 1266 he was a prisoner in Naples. He died in Provence. According to Wikipedia, “His appearance in Purgatory among the spirits of those who, though redeemed, were prevented from making a final confession and reconciliation by sudden death, suggests that he was murdered, although this may be Dante’s own conjecture.” According to Robert Kehew’s Lark in the Morning: “In his epic, Dante encounters the morally aloof and majestic Sordel at the entrance to the ‘valley of the negligent rulers.’ There the troubadour points out to the Tuscan poet those grief-stricken souls who, although called to high station while on Earth, did not accomplish their appointed tasks before death.”




From “I Want to Mourn Blacatz,” translated by Robert Kehew


I want to mourn Blacatz with this simple lament:

My heart is sad and mournful, as makes perfect sense,

For with his passing I have lost a lord and a good friend;

All the noble qualities have come to an end.

So deadly is the damage that’s been done that I
Hold little hope for any cure except in one way:

Let his heart be cut out, and let the barons feed—

They’ve no heart now and this will give them what they need.




Jehan Erart (c. 1200-1258)


Jehan was a trouvere from Arras. Twenty-two of his lyrics survive. He was particularly known for his pastourelles.




Theobald I of Navarre (1201-1253)


Theobald was Count of Champagne from birth and King of Navarre from 1234. He was born in Troyes. His reign was marked by political and financial problems. He abandoned a rebellion against the French king after falling in love with Queen Blanche of Castille, the king’s regent. This also led to rumors that he attempted to poison King Louis VIII at the siege of Avignon, and he was barred from attending the coronation of Louis IX. He antagonized Louis IX, which led to an invasion by the French, which caused him to give up much of his land. When he succeeded his uncle as King of Navarre, his fortunes turned and he spent the rest of life in relative peace and prosperity. In 1239, he led a crusade to the Holy Land which was ineffectual and ended with a decisive loss near Gaza.




Jaque de Cambrai (fl. 1260-80)


Jaque was born in Cambrai. Twelve of his lyrics survive, but none of his melodies. He wrote devotional songs the emphasized Jesus’ humanity directed at the Cathars, who denied Christ’s humanity. Jaques expressed his devotion to Mary primarily through chansons modeled on the songs of Courtly love.




Guillelma de Rosers (fl. 1235-1265) and Lanfranc Cigala (fl. 1235-1257)

Lord Lanfranc Cigala was from the city of Genoa. He was a noble and learned man. And he was a judge and a knight, but he led the life of a judge. And he was a great lover; and he was interested in inventing poetry and was a good inventor, and he composed many good songs.—from Cigala’s vida.

Guillelma de Rosers was one of the last of the trobairitz. She was born in Rougiers and lived in Genoa, where she met Lanfranc Cigala. Her only surviving piece of poetry is a partimen—Na Guillelma maint cavalier arratge”—written with Lanfranc. In it (translated by Robert Kehew) he asks her:

Dame Guilllelma, a band of weary knights
abroad in the dark, in most dismal weather,
wished aloud in their own tongues that they might
find shelter. Two lovers happened to over-
hear while on their way to their ladies who
lived close at hand; one of them turned back to
help the knights, the other went to his lady:
which of the two behaved most fittingly?

Guillelma answers:

Friend Lanfranc, I think that he did best
Who continued on to see his lady.
The other also did well, however his
Loved one couldn’t observe in the same way
What the other could see with her own eyes,
Her lover’s worth; she waited for him to arrive.
The man who keeps his word is held in much
Higher esteem than he whose plans are in flux.

Lanfranc Cigala was a Genoese nobleman, knight, judge, and a man of letters. Thirty-two of his lyrics survive. He was a critic of the Papacy and a supporter of the Albegensian Crusade. One of his anti-Cathar poems—Si mos chans for de jo ni de solatz—includes the lines:

Coms Proensals, tost fora   deliuratz
Lo Sepulchres si vostra manentia
Poges tan aut com lo prets qui vos guia, . . .
Mas del passar non ai cor que’us destregna,
C’obs es qe sai vostra valors pro tegna
A la gleiza d’aitals guerreiadors.
Ja de lai mar non queiratz Turcs peiors!
Count of Provence, would soon be   freed
The [Holy] Sepulchre if your means
Corresponded to the esteem you inspire, . . .
But I do not have the heart to urge you to cross [the sea],
Because there is need for you valour to defend
The Church from its attackers.
On the other side of the sea there are not Turks who are worse!



Heinrich Frauenlob (c. 1250-1318)


Heinrich was a Middle High German poet who was born in Meissen. His nickname Frauenlob means “praise of women” or “praise of Our Lady.”

Guiraut Riquier (c. 1230-1292)


Guiraut is known as the last of the Provencal troubadours. He was born in Narbonne, and there is no extant vida for him and no portraits of him exist. He served for Aimery IV, Viscount of Narbonne, and when he died in 1270, Guirat traveled to Spain and stayed with Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon. In 1280, he left Spain and returned to southern France and stayed a while with Henry II, Count of Rodez, but the days of the troubadours were over. In 1292, a man who lived past his time, he wrote his last lyric, the first stanza of which is reprinted below. Eighty-nine of his lyrics survive, and most are assigned a date, and forty-eight of his melodies, such as the following:




It would be best if I refrained
From singing: song should spring from gladness;
But I’m tormented by a sadness
So profound that I’m seized by pain.
Remembering how grim things were,
Considering how hard things are,
And pondering the by-and-by,
I have every cause to cry.



Albigensian Crusade: The Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade (1209–1229) was a 20-year military campaign initiated by the Catholic Church to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc.

amor de lonh: love from afar

cansos: (from Wikipedia) “A canso consists of three parts. The first stanza is the exordium, where the composer explains his purpose. The main body of the song occurs in the following stanzas, and usually draw out a variety of relationships with the exordium. The canso can end with either a tornada or envoi. This part usually brings the piece to some form of resolution.

canso-sirventes: a poem combining courtly love themes with contemporary political references

chancery: an embassy

chansons: a lyrical song

chatelains: a castle owner

coblas: a single stanza of a troubadour song
contrafacta: Either secular lyrics set to sacred music, or religious lyrics set to a popular tune

cortez’ amor: Courtly love

enueg: a poem listing unpleasant things

estampida: early reference to an estampie, a dance tune
estampie: a dance song
joglar: a minstrel, or traveling singer-songwriter

jois d’amore: joys of love
jongleur: a minstrel, or traveling singer songwriter

partimen: a lyrical debate between two troubadours

pastourelles: a song wherein the poet woos a shepherdess

planh: a dirge

plazer: a peom listing pleasant things
a parody, borrowing the melody, metrical structure, and often even the rhymes of a well-known canso to address a controversial subject, often a current event.

tenso: a rhymed debate in which two poets write one stanza each

tornada: a refrain in a troubadour song
torneyamen: a lyrical debate by more than two poets (typically three)
trobar clus
: closed style

trobar leu: light style

trobar ric: rich and ornate poetry

trobairitz: female troubadour

trouvere: a troubadour from northern France

vers: written (rather than sung) poetry
vida: the biography or life story of a famous individual


Please Leave a Comment:

Comment Guidelines: Basic XHTML is allowed (a href, strong, em, code). All line breaks and paragraphs are automatically generated. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Email addresses will never be published. Keep it PG-13 people!

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>

All fields marked with "*" are required.