GUILLEM COMTE DE PEITEUS:
1071-1127

Guilhem may have composed the following piece just before leaving to join the Crusade against the Almoravides in Spain. It is his one serious piece (and the only one where he prays in Latin).

I. Vers
Pos de chantar m'es pres talentz

Pos de chantar m'es pres talentz,
Farai un vers, don sui dolenz:
Mais non serai obedienz
En Peitau ni en Lemozi.

Qu'era m'en irai en eisil:
En gran paor, en gran peril,
En guerra laisserai mon fil,
E faran li mal siei vezi.

Lo departirs m'es aitan grieus
Del seignoratge de Peitieus!
En garda lais Folcon d'Angieus
Tota la terra e son cozi.

Si Folcos d'Angieus no.l soccor,
E.l reis de cui ieu tenc m'onor,
Faran li mal tut li plusor,
Felon Gascon et Angevi.

Si ben non es savis ni pros,
Cant ieu serai partiz de vos,
Vias l'auran tornat en jos,
Car lo veiran jov'e mesqui.

Merce quier a mon compaignon
S'anc li fi tort qu'il m'o perdon;
Et ieu prec en Jesu del tron
Et en romans et en lati.

De proeza e de joi fui,
Mais ara partem ambedui;
Et eu irai m'en a scellui
On tut peccador troban fi.

Mout ai estat cuended e gais,
Mas nostre Seignor no.l vol mais;
Ar non puesc soffrir lo fais,
Tant soi aprochatz de la fi.

Tot ai guerpit cant amar sueill,
Calvaria et orgueill;
E pos Dieu platz, tot o acueill.
E prec li que.m reteng' am si.

Toz mos amics prec a la mort
Que vengan tut e m'onren fort,
Qu'eu ai avut joi e deport
Loing e pres et en mon aizi.

Aissi guerpisc joi e deport
E vair e gris e sembeli.


"Pos de chantar m'es pres talentz"
from the Occitan of Guillem Comte de Peiteus

A song calls me,
one of sadness;
henceforth I'll see
no courtliness
in my homeland.

I go exiled,
fear following,
in war, my child--
ill abounding
all around.

With much sorrow
I must leave
Folcon d'Anjou
to guard my fief
and his kinsman.

For, without help
from my sovereign
as well, all hell
Gascons will raise,
and Angevins.

If my son's not shrewd
when I go,
they'll make him sing;
they'll overthrow
an underling!

May friends pardon
me my wrongs.
I pray to Christ-Son
in Latin
and Occitan!

Chivalrous deed
I leave behind;
to Him I speed
where sinners find
whatever end.

Long in this world
I went gaily:
God says, "Enough!"***
so I agree
to end my song.

All that I loved,
all knightly pomp,
I now give up.
For God I long
if that please Him.

I pray my friends
honor my death,
for I had pleasure
and courtliness
within my realm.

And I quit this--
joy and sable
and vair's richness.

(South Hadley, Massachusetts; 1978)



Manuscript Source: R. T. Hill and T. G. Bergin (1973), Anthology of the Provençal Troubadours, 2nd ed. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press), I. (In my notes to the translation, the original line number precedes the relevant line number in the translation; the two numbers are separated by a slash [/].)

(NOTE: I translated this poem while working with Richard Pevear. Mr. Pevear said simply, "shorten it". I said that I would not be able to fit the content. He told me not to worry, that since I was a poet, I could take a bit of liberty. I rewrote it several times and ultimately replaced the original stanzas of four approximately four-beat lines with stanzas of five usually two-veat lines. I think Mr. Pevear supplied the word, "Enough" when I was not sure what to put there, however. ) In the concluding tornada, Guilhem simply turns to the land and courtly life around him, and says, "And I quit this .* . .")

Line 4/5: "in my homeland", original, "En Peitau ni en Lemozi", lit. 'Either in Poitou or in the Limousin".

Line 12/15: The 'kinsman' is one and the same as the 'child', Guilhem's son.

Line 14/18: "as well, all hell"; Guilhem is seeking help from Folcon d'Anjou, who is his sovereign, as well as from his son here, and hopes that Folcon d'Anjou will protect his son.

Lines 17-20/21-25: "If my son's not shrewd . . ." ("Si ben non es savis ni pros"--'If he is not very cunning and hardy/able'). Somehow in at least the final copy of my translation that I did in college, I left off this stanza which to some degree repeats the ideas of the previous stanza. Maybe that stanza seemed excessive in English. I've finally noticed this! Hope I've done o.k. with the Occitan "tornat in jos"!

Lines 26-30/21-24: Here, Guilhem mentions praying in both Latin and Occitan/Romance. This I note is the only time that Guilhem ever talks about praying in Latin! He had for the most part little use for the Roman-controlled Church, little use for its edicts in Latin.

Tornada, line 42/52-53: vair, gris, and sembeli were three courtly furs, all similar and of a deep-grey hue. To preserve the quickened rhythm of my translation I have only listed two furs in English.