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and gloomy songs, (lays) with gallant timidity or elevated reverence, in simple strains, or in firm and energetic expressions, and sometimes, like wild children of pature, in free and rather licentious language. Still the true and chaste poet looked up to the lady of his love with feelings almost of adoration, viewing her as the perfection of nature, and showing himself transported with happiness at the smallest tokens of her favour. time, perhaps, threatening to carry off by force, the mistress of his heart-at another, not daring to utter a word that could betray his desires. But these songs occupied a small range of thought or even sentiment and expression. They became tiresome from their uniformity. Sometimes, however, these amorous poets, amidst their feeble sighs, insert some heroic representation of their dangerous enterprizes, which often are beautiful resting places to one fatigued with their insipid gallantry.
Pastoral poetry (pastourelles) was also a production of the Provençal poets-idyls artless and simple in their construction. Very few specimens, however, of this kind of poetry repain, because the gallantry of the courts drew the poets from rural life and its innocent occupations.
More frequently, the Troubadours were occupied in giving poetical instructions in morals and behaviour to those elevated conditions of life-in forming young noblemen for the future duties of chivalry, or supplying noble ladies with maxims for their conduct in life. Sometimes they composed rules for poets, minstrels, jongleurs, and other attendants of the court, didactic poems, filled with as much moral instruction as the spirit of the age could afford, but overloaded at the same time, with trifling and tiresome allegories. They, however, give us much insight into the manners of their times.*
The Provençals were besides very fond of discourses on historical or satirical subjects, of panegyrics and invectives, which they called Syrventes. They praised in them, with candour and sincerity, generosity, valour, and nobleness of mind, even in their enemies-speak of themselves and their contemporaries--criticise with boldness the highest in rank and authority, and spare not even the clergy. Unfortunately, it was not only vices and abuses that were subject to their censure-merit itself sometimes felt the lash of envy, and their poems often degenerated into the most bitter and personal invectives. Had their satires been finished with as much spririt, delicacy and humanity,
* It is supposed that Boethius, (de consol. Philosophiæ) a favourite classic in the middle ages, aroused and nourished the love of Allegory. We may also add the Psychomachia of Prudentius.
as they were sketched with frankness and courage, they would have been admired as the reformers and benefactors of their age, instead of being contemned and neglected for their coarseness and dullness.
These smaller poems on war, love, manners and morals, on themselves and their conteinporaries, the poets sung separately at festivals, to augment the gaiety of the occasion-but sometimes two poets amused the circle by discussing in mirthful mood various questions of gallantry adapted to the display of talents, and particularly of prompt and pointed wit. These were the tenson or tenzen of the Troubadours. These dialogues were generally at courts the favourite exercise of the art, because in them wit, humour and irony had wide scope, and amid many idle “quips and quiddities,” wisdom and judgment sometimes flashed forth. In order to give such jeux partis an appearance of respect, the company was transformed into a court of justice, with its president, and ladies were called upon to decide. This was the origin of the famous cours d'amour, where two knights, or a knight with a noble lady, would engage in poetical contests, and debate and expatiate on love and all its wild and perilous adventures.*
* The names of the poetical institutions of the Provençals, where amusing and witty questions were debated, were, Cours d'amour, Corte d'amore, Parlamento d'amore, and the decisions were called Arrest d'amour. The traces of the cours d'amours begin with William Duke of Guienne and Count of Poictiers, (1071– 1226,) the oldest of the Provençal poets of whose compositions there are still to be found any remains-(among the MSS. of the royal library in Paris.). Duke William engaged in a crusade to Palestine, and on his return (1102) described in a kind of epic song, the adventures and adversities of his expedition, which he read in the assemblies of the great. Ondericus Vitalis in Hist. Ecclesiat. 1. x. p. 793, (apud du Chesne in Script. rerum Normannorum) “miserias captivitatis suæ, ut erat jocundus et lepidus, postmodum prosperitate factus, coram regibus et magnatibus atque cbristianis coetibus multoties retulit, rhythmitis versibus cum facetis modulationibus." May not the reges, magnates et christiani coetus, represent if not a completely arrangod cour d'amour, at least the commencement of such an institution? 'Savarus, Viscount of Mauleon, Lord of Poitou, (under Louis VIII,) was a great poet, of whom Papirius Mosson in Annal. Francia (Lutet. 1588,) p. 293, writes: "Fuit Savaricus poeticis studiis deditus, admirandum in modum, confluebantque ad eum ex omni Gallia Poetæ, quod ipse eos magnis et rebus et præmiis afficere esset solitus.” In this sentence there is probably an allusion to a cours d'amours, although it is not mentioned by name. About the same time also lived Thibaut, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne, who frequently sung of his love for Queen Blanca,(Blanche.) the mother of St. Louis--and these "versus a se factos in Aula publica dijudicandos proponebat," as Mariana in Hist. Hisp. l. xiii. c. 9. writes. Mariana probably took this information from Nangi's Life of St. Louis, which was more complete than the one now in print. See also Papirius Mosson, in Annal Franciæ, p. 307—"Musicæ admodum deditus et poeticis studiis fuit (Theobaldus.) carminibus adeo delectabatur, ut quæ scripsisset in Aula Sua Previri et Tricassileus? proposita omnium oculis esse velet; id enim in vita Ludovici Nangius refert.” Should not the aula have been the cours d'amours? Pierre d'Auvergne, who wrote about the year 1200, says they held at his time "assemblées aux flambeaux on l'on recitoit (en Provençal) les nouvelles fabliaux"-Papon Voyage de Provence, t. ii. p. 174. 2:27. Yet all these passages do not prove this fact certainly, and may refer to the open courts which the
After that period, when the princes in Provence announced a tournament, they invited the noble poets and the poets of the nobility to bring with them their best songs, that after the conclusion of the fait d'armes, a poetical tournament, before a court of love, might be commenced, or the assembly be entertained by single and successive songs. This poetical institution was at last so popular, that no gala day or any other princely ceremonies or entertainments, could be complete without the eourt of love. On this account, kings and princes conferred all
Kings and Princes held three or four times in each year. In a poem of Guiraud of
Res nom val mos trobars
En corts don mes amars. * Neither my verses nor my knowledge serve me, to procure me honour in my cour d'amours"---(de Càseneuve l'origine des jeux fleuraus, p. 37,)-not only men but the ladies of the castle also, had their cours d'amours. So Pierre Roger, a celebrate ed Provençal poet, sung for the honour of the Vicomtesse of Narbonne Ermen. garde—"amo Ermengarda, valorosa et nobil Segnora, che tenia Cort en Narbona" -Caseneuve, loc. rit. p. 44. Nostradamus histoire et Chronique de Provence, lib. ii. p. 133, in the life of the Provençal poet Fauffred Radel, a contemporary of Richard of England, says, “cequi est à remarquer, c'est que de ce temps il y avoit cours d amours à Signe et a Pierre feu, ou les questions plus hautes et difficiles qui par fois survenoient entre les jeunes gentilshommes et Dempiselles estoient debatues et decidées sans la regle de l'honneur par les Dames plus illustres et qualifiées dupays: sur lesquelles presidoient alors comme souvraines, Stephanete Dame de Baux fille du Comte de Provence, Adelazie Vicomtesse d'Avignon, Alaette Dame d'Ongle, Hermissiende Dame de Pasquiéres, Mabille Dame d'Yeres, le Comptesse de Die, Rostanque Dame de Pierrefeu, Bertrande Dame de Signe et Fausserande de Claustral.
Jean Nostradamus (according to Caseneuve de l'origine ces jeux fleuraus, p: 45,) au livre des Poetes Provençaux ecrit que Pharette ou Stephanette de Gaultenus, Dame de Laurette de Sare, tant celebrée par Petrarque, tenoit cour d'amour dans son chateau de Ramains prés de la ville de St. Remy en Provence, ou presidoit d'ordinaire avec elle le Marquise de Salaces, et Clarette de Baulx de l'ancienne maison des Princes d'Orange, et que le jugement qu'elles y donnoient estoient appellez Arrests d'amour. The Popes while they lived at Avignon, supported the cours d'amour, and (as Innocent VI. did) brought them into use at all feasts—(Discours sur les arcs triumphaux dressés en la ville d Aix, p. 26 ) Petrarca's Laura presided in a corte d'amore, with twelve ladies of Provence. (Sounet 188.) Caseneuve sur l'origine des jeux fleuraux, p. 45– le plus ordinaire jugement de ces cours d'amours, se faisoient sur les ouvrages de poetes, qui debattoient quelque belle question d'armes ou d'amour en sorte de dialogue qu'ils appelloient Partincen ou Tensen; et sur la fin on remettoit la decision et le jugement a deux Dames, comme font Prevost et Savarie et un Partincen que j'ay veu deux sur la fin du quel ils tombent d'accord defaire ouider leur differend à ces trois Dames Guillemeite de Benause, Marie de Ventadeur, et Madame de Monfernan-quelque fois ils prenoient pour Juges une dame et un Seigneur comme j'ay veu en un Partincen de Bertrand et de Sordeil, qui remettent la decision de leur dispute à la Comtesse de Rhodes et a un Seigneur nommé Jean de Valarie on bien quelque fois ils prenoient pour juge un grand Seigneur qui tout seul decidoit leur dispute, et comme j'ay remarqué dans un autre Partincen de Londeil et de Montagnal qui prenent le Comte de Provence pour leur juge.
We will now say a few words as to the rewards which the distinguished poets received from Monarchs. They consist chiefly in armour and weapons, in dresses, horses, &c. and sometimes after their death, in a monument. Nostradamus bist. et
the honorary offices about their court on poetical poblemen, in order to have at hand at all times, poets for the tournaments in the court of love.* Contests of wit and poetry were as much in vogue as con bats with weapons. They were practised at
Chron. de Provence, p. 135. 136. Sometimes they received in token of a victory, a flower, (either natural or composed of rich stuffs) This at least was the case in the jeux fleuraux, which were an imitation of the cours d'amours, some pbrases in the Provençal poets hinted at this practice. Foulquet of Marseilles, commences one of his songs with the words
Eia o quan per flor
Non veyran Cantadoreven the older Provençal poets use the flower as a token of victory, as Piere Cardenal in the following strophe
Mas den hom amar vencedor
El vencut nay hom sebelir. l'auchet found on the margin of an air of the old French poet, Robert Cartel, noticed, “couronnée;" this will probably say crowned in a cours d'amours Caseneuve sur l'origine des jeux f. p. 90. Fontanini cites many sentences of the cours d'amours in his work “della eloquenza Italiana," p 55—gli arresti della qual corte, Scritti da DIarziale d'Alvernia nel regno di Carlo VII. e legalmente chiosati da Benadetto Curzio Sinforiano, si veggono piu volle Stampati in Lione da Bastione Grifio. A re presentation of the cours d'amour is given in les six livres de Mario Equicola d'Al. veto de la nature d'amour Mis en François par Gabriel Chappuis, Tourangeau à Lyon, 1597, p. 361, lib. 5–in the Italian original, “libro di natura d'amore di Ma. via Equicola, MDXXVI, p. 173.
In the Northern provinces of France, they were also introduced and held in the month of May, upon an open field under an elm tree, for which reason they were called Gieux (jeux) sous l'ormel. In this part of France they were sometimes in reality courts of justice, for they weighed and decided real disputes-cases of love.. The cours d'amours were in most repute at the French Court, under Charles VI, when the celebrated Isabeau managed them. (Hist. de France par Velly, t. xii. p. 97.) A poetical representation of the French cours d'amours exists, the work of Mastil d'Auvergne, Procureur au Parlement de Paris; from which Fontenelle Hist. de Theatre de Paris—æuvres a la Haye. 1746-8, t. vi. p. 11, has made an extract.
After this institution had been long extinct, Cardinal Richelieu, out of vanity, brought it again to remembrance by his assemblée galante, which he held at Ruel, nominally as a recreation from the affairs of State. His theses of Love, will probably be the last of this kind. (Memoires d'Anne de Gonzagues, Lond. 1786, p.41.)
* Nostradamus (vies des plus celebres poetes Provencaux, p. 195,) says in the biog. raphy of Philip the tall, Le comte de Poictou daigna bien faire honneur à la poesie en notre langue Provensalle, car outre ce qu'il est ait savant aux Sciences liberalles encor prenoit il plaisir avoir en sa cour des plus savans poetes qu'il pouvait trouver, lesquels il honorait et prisait, leur assignant bons et suffisans gages, et si les provoy oit des plus beaux et honorables offices de sa cour, d'entre lesquels Peyre Milhon gentil bomme de Poictou fut son premier maistre d'hostel. Bernard Marchyz fut son chambellan, Peyre de Valieres fut son valet trénchant. Loys Emerye fut sieur de Rochefort en Poictou avoit eté un des principaux secretaires du Roy d'Arragon, pour faux rapport s'etoit retiré vers le comte de Poictou, qui lui bailla place et estat de Secretaire. Peyre Hagon, Gentilhomme de Dampierne son valet de chambre. Guilhelm Bouchard fut aussi de ses valets de chambre. Gyrandon lou Roulx, fut un des Gentilhommes de say mayson. Americ de Sarlac, autre Gentilhomme de sa mayson. Guilhem dels Amalrics, fut Gentilhomme Provençal. Pistolleta, autre Gentilhomme de sa cour. Tous ces poetes cy dessut nomméz fleurissoient d'un meme temps du dit comte de Poictou.
home as in the field-even princesses and noble ladies held them in their castles during the absence of their lords.*
The president of the court of love was sometimes the prince or nobleman who gave the entertainment, sometimes a poet, chosen by ballot, from among the noble chevaliers. The contests in verse, the tensons, were generally sustained by men, but the ladies at that time fondly devoted to poetry, sometimes participated in them. The announcement of the judgment and the delivery of the merited prize, were the office of the most noble and distinguished lady present, either at the request of the president or of the contending parties themselves, who generally appealed, at the termination of their gay repartees, to such a judgment. The nominated lady might, however, and occasionally did share her office with a knight. However mixed may have been the circle in which these themes and points of love were debated and sung, the most strict propriety was preserved, no equivocal word, no allusion which could offend the chastest ear was permitted, for the most delicate respect and devotion to the fair was the first duty of a true knight.
The poetical essays of the Provençals did not extend beyond the classes of poetry we have enumerated. There is found in their works no trace of dramatic or epic poems, nor of fables, nor of stories in verse, of which, in France and other countries, the poets were so fond. The duration of the flourishing period of the Troubadours was about three hundred years. The eldest,
Caseneuve l'origine des jeux A. p. 42. Parceque ces princes et ces grands seigneurs quelque inclination, qu'ils eussent à la poesie et de quelque affection qu'ils pussent portéz a l'entretion des cours d'amour, etoient souvent constraints d'interrompre la douceur de ces exercises, pour suivre les durs employs que leurs donnoyent les guerres, tantot civiles, tantot etrangeres, ils en laissoynent d'ordinaire le soin aux Dames-Aussi lisons nous que les plus illustres et les plus vertueuses tenoyent de ce tems là cour d'amours et y presidoyent-et pour y rendre le jugement avec plus d'equité et de justice s'adonnoyent a la poesie, et en apprenoyent l'art avec un soin si exact, que bien souvent elles egalloyent les graces et les douceurs des poetes les plus excellens comme peuvent témoigner les vers de la Comtesse Claire d'Andusen et d'autres dames qui jay leus parmy ceux des anciens poetes Provencaux.
+ There remains beside the Lais, Soulas, Sirventes and Tenzen of the Provençals, yet two rhymed narrations, (Nouvelles, Contes, Fabliaux,) one of Arnaud Carcasses, and the other of Raymond Vidal, (Hist. des Troubadours, t. ii. p. 360— t. iij. p. 296,) some authors enumerate yet four more, but their subjects do not permit them to be ranked among Contes. Two of Pierre Vidal (1180) belong to the didactic poetry of the Troubadours, for the one contains instructions for lovers, and the other for jongleurs-(Hist. Lit. des Troub. t. ii. p. 273)--a third one ,commonly called a conte of Raimond Vidal, is more in the style and fashion of the opinions and sentences of the cours d'amour-(Hist. des Troub. t. iii.p. 277)_and the fourth of Lanfranc Cigala, resembles more a Tenzen-(ibid. ii. p. 163.)
Even detailed relations, in verse, of the deeds of renowned knights, (the epic poems of the period of Chivalry,) either as romances or as the foundation for ro. mances, are as little to be found in the works of the Provençals as fabulous romances, although their imaginations must have been excited and enlivened by the military expeditions of the age to Sicily, Constantinople and Jerusalem, by tourmaments and