PEIRE DE MAENSAC

 

Peire de Maensac' si fo d'Alvernhe, de la terra del Dalfin, paupres cavaliers. Et ac un fraire que ac nom Austors de Maensac: & amdui foron trobador. E foron amdui en concordi que l'uns d'els agues lo castel, e l'autre lo trobar. Lo castel ac Austors, el trobar ac Peire; e trobava de la moiller d'en Bernart de Tierci. Tant cantet d'ela, e tant la onret e la servi, que la domna se laisset envolar ad el; e menet la en un castel del Dalfin d'Alvernhe; el maritz la demandet molt com la Gleisa, e com gran guerra qu'en fetz; el Dalfins lo mantenc si que mais no la rendet. Fort fo adregz hom e de bel solatz; e fez avinens cansos de sens e de motz, e bonas coblas de solatz (Chabaneau 58).

***

Ezra Pound. "Troubadours: Their Sorts and Conditions"

[Miquel de la Tour] has left us also an epic in his straightforward prose. “Piere de Maensac was of Alverne (Auvergne) a poor knight, and he had a brother named Austors de Maensac, and they both were troubadours and they both were in concord that one should take the castle and the other the trobar.” And presumably they tossed up a maraboutin or some such obsolete coin, for we read, “And the castle went to Austors and the poetry to Piere, and he sang of the wife of Bernart de Tierci. So much he sang of her and so much he honoured her that it befell that the lady let herself go gay (furar a del). And he took her to the castle of the Dalfin d’Auvergne, and the husband, in the manner of the golden Menelaus, demanded her much, with the church to back him and with the great war that they made. But the Dalfin maintained him (Piere) so that he never gave her up. He (Piere) was a straight man (dreitz hom) and good company, and he made charming songs, tunes and the words, and good coblas of pleasure.” And among them is one beginning

Longa saison ai estat vas amor

Humils e francs, y ai faich son coman.

 

Pound's Note:

For a long time have I stood toward Love

Humble and frank, and have done his commands.

 

***

 

Pound included Pieire de Maensac's life story into his poem Provincia Deserta:

 [...]

I have thought of the second Troy,  

Some little prized place in Auvergnat:  

Two men tossing a coin, one keeping a castle,  

One set on the highway to sing.  

He sang a woman,  

Auvergne rose to the song;  

The Dauphin backed him.  

“The castle to Austors!”  

“Pieire kept the singing-  

A fair man and a pleasant.  

He won the lady,  

Stole her away for himself, kept her against armed force:  

So ends that story.  

That age is gone;  

Pieire de Maensac is gone.

I have walked over these roads;

I have thought of them living.

 

REFERENCES

Chabaneau, Camille. Les Biographies des troubadours en langue provençale. Toulouse: Édouard Privat, 1885, 58. In "General Sources." thecantosproject.ed.ac.uk.

Pound, Ezra. "Troubadours: their Sorts and Conditions." In Literary Essays. Ed. T.S. Eliot. London: Faber, 1954. 96-97. 

Pound, Ezra. Provincia Deserta. In Ezra Pound Personae. The Shorter Poems. Eds. Lea Bachler and Walton Litz, 1990; Ezra Pound Poems and Translations. Ed. R. Sieburth. New York: Library of America, 298-99.