This sample of poetry is abstracted from Meg Bogin's book, The Female Troubadours.
These poets flourished in Southern France between the years 1150-1250. Bogin states that the 400 or so troubadeours were not wandering minstrels but serious court poets. The women in their rank were often related to the male poets, served also as patronesses, or both.
Meg Bogin's book, The Female Troubadours, , p.80
TIBORS is probably the earliest of the women troubadours. She was the sister of the troubadour Raimbaut d'Orange and the wife of Bertrand de Baux, who was an important patron of troubadours and lord of one of the most powerful families of Provence. This fragment is the only poem of hers to survive.
Sweet handsome friend, I can tell you truly
that I've never been without desire
since it pleased you that I have you as my courtly lover;
nor did a time ever arrive, sweet handsome friend,
when I didn't want to see you often;
nor did I ever feel regret, nor did it ever come to pass, if you went off angry,
that I felt joy until you had come back; nor . .
Meg Bogin's book, The Female Troubadours., p. 92
ALMUCS DE CASTELNAU AND ISEUT DE CAPIO were from two neighboring towns of Provence, about thirty miles due east of Avignon in the Valley of the Lube'ron. Almucs was probably a patron of troubadours, as was her son, Raimbaut d'Agoult. This is a dialog between a man and women troubadour.
Lady Almucs, with your permission
let me request that in place
of anger and bad grace
you show a kinder disposition
toward him who slowly dying lies
lamenting amidst moans and sighs
and humbly begs reprieve;
but if you want him dead let him receive
the sacraments, to guarantee
that he'll refrain from doing further injury.
Lady Iseut, if he showed some contrition
he might be able to erase
the effects of his disgrace
and I might grant him some remission;
but I think I'd be unwise,
since by his silence he denies
the wrong he's done, to in any way relieve
a man who was so eager to deceive.
Still, if you can get him to repent his perfidy
you'll have no trouble in converting me.
Meg Bogin's book, The Female Troubadours,, p. 82
THE COUNTESS OF DIA was probably from Die, northeast of Monte'limar. She was descended from seigneurial families of the Viennois and Burgundy and was married to a lord of Die.
Four of her poems have survived.
I thrive on youth and joy,
and youth and joy keep me alive,
for my friend's the very gayest,
which makes me gay and playful;
and since I'm true, he should be faithful:
my love for him has never strayed,
nor is my heart the straying kind.
I'm very happy,
for the man whose love I seek's so fine.
May God with joy richly repay
the man who helped us meet.
If anyone should disagree,
pay him no heed; listen only
to the one who knows one often picks the blooms
from which one's own broom's made.*
The lady who knows about valor
should place her affection
in a courteous and worthy knight
as soon as she has seen his worth,
and she should dare to love him face to face;
for courteous and worthy men
can only speak with great esteem
of a lady who loves openly.
AZALAIS DE PORCAIRAGES was from the modern town of Portiragnes, just outside Beziers. Nothing definite is known about her life, but she appears to have moved in courtly society.
Now we are come to the cold time
when the ice and the snow and the mud
and the birds' beaks are mute
(for not one inclines to sing);
and the hedge-branches are dry
no leaf nor bud sprouts up,
nor cries the nightingale
whose song awakens me in May.*
My heart is so disordered
that I'm rude to everyone;
I know it's easier to lose
than gain; still, though I be blamed
I'll tell the truth:
my pain comes from Orange.
That's why I stand gaping,
for I've lost the joy of solace.
A lady's love is badly placed
who argues with a wealthy man,
one above the rank of vassal:
she who does it is a fool.
For the people of Velay
say love and monev do not mix
and the woman money chooses