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tagnac, daughter of the Viscount of Turenne and wife of Talleyrand de Perigord. The lady accepted his service, and acknowledged him as her Knight; but evil tongues having attempted to sow dissension between the lovers, Bertrand addressed to her a song, in which he defends himself from the imputation of inconstancy, in a style altogether characteristic and original. The warrior poet, borrowing from the objects of his daily cares, ambition and pleasure, phrases to illustrate and enhance the expression of his love, wishes that he may lose his favourite hawk in her first flight; that a falcon may stoop and bear her off, as she sits upon his wrist, and tear her in his sight, if the sound of his lady's voice be not dearer to him than all the gifts of love from another."— That he may stumble with his shield about his neck; that his helmet may gall his brow; that his bridle may be too long, his stirrups too short; that he may be forced 10 ride a hard trotting horse, and find his groom drunk when he arrives at his gate, if there be a word of truth in the accusations of his enemies :that he may not have a denier to stake at the gaming-table, and that the dice may never more be favourable to him, if ever he had swerved from his faith :-that. he may look on like a dastard, and see his lady wooed and won by another ;-that the winds may fail him at sea ;-that in the battle he may be the first to fly, if he who has slandered him does not lie in his throai," &c., and so on through seven or eight stanzas.
Bertrand de Born exercised in his time a fatal influence on the counsels and politics of England. A close and ardent friendship existed between him and young Henry Plantagenet, the eldest son of our Henry the Second; and the family dissensions which distracted the English Court, and the unnatural rebellion of Henry and Richard against their father, were his work. It happened some time after the death of Prince Henry, that the King of England besieged Bertrand de Born in one of his castles: the resist. ance was long and obstinate, but at length the warlike Troubadour was taken prisoner and brought before the King, so justly incensed against him, and from whom he had certainly no mercy to expect. The heart of Henry was still bleeding with the wounds inflicted by his
ungrateful children, and he saw before him, and in his power, the primary cause of their misdeeds and his own bitter sufferings. Bertrand was on the point of being led out to death, when by a single word he reminded the King of his lost son, and the tender friendship which had existed between them.* The chord was struck which never ceased to vibrate in the parental heart of Henry; bursting into tears, he turned aside, and commanded Bertrand and his followers to be immediately set at liberty; he even restored to Bertrand his castle and his lands, “in the name of his dead son." It is such traits as these, occurring at every page, which lend to the chronicles of this stormy period an interest overpowering the horror they would otherwise excite: for then all the best, as well as the worst of human passions were called into play. In this tempestuous commingling of all the jarring elements of society, we have those strange approximations of the most opposite sentiments,-implacable revenge and sublime forgiveness ;-gross licentiousness and delicate tenderness; -barbarism and refinement;-treachery and fidelitywhich remind one of that heterogeneous mass tossed up by a stormy ocean; heaps of pearls, unvalued gems, wedges of gold, mingled with dead men's hones, and all the slimy, loathsome, and monotonous production of the deep, which during a calm remain together concealed and unknown in its unfathomed abysses.
To return from this long similitude to Bertrand de Born: he concluded his stormy career in a manner very
charac. teristic of the times; for he turned monk, and died in the odour of sanctity. But neither his late devotion, nor his warlike heroism, nor his poetic fame, could rescue him from the severe justice of Dante, who has visited his crimes and his violence with so terrible a judgment, that we forget, while we thrill with horror, that the crimes were real, the penance only imaginary. Dante, in one of the circles of the Inferno, meets Bertrand de Born carrying his severed head, lantern wise, in his hand ;—the phantom lifts it up by the hair, and the ghastly lips unclose
* Le Roi lui demande, “S'il a perdu raison ?" il lui répond, "Helas, oui ! c'est depuis la mort du Prince Henri, votre fils !"
to confess the cause and the justice of this horrible and unheard-of penance.
Pierre Vidal, whose description of love I have quoted before, was one of the most extraordinary characters of his time, a kind of poetical Don Quixotte :-his brain was turned with love, poetry, and vanity: he believed himself the beloved of all the fair, the mirror of knighthood, and the prince of Troubadours. Yet in the midst of all his extravagances, he possessed exquisite skill in his art, and was not surpassed by any of the poets of those days, for the harmony, delicacy, and tenderness of his amatory ef. fusions. He chose for his first love the beautiful wife of the Viscomte de Marseilles : the lady unlike some of the Princesses of her time, distinguished between the poet and the man, and as he presumed too far on the encouragement bestowed on him in the former capacity, he was
* Inferno, c. xxviii. # Carey's translation of Dante. Mr. Carey reads Re Giovanna, instead of Re giovane :-King John, instead of Prince Henry.
banished: he then followed Richard the First to the cru. sade. The verses he addressed to the lady from the Island of Cyprus are still preserved. The folly of Vidal, or rather the derangement of his imagination, subjected him to some of those mystifications which remind us of Don Quixotte and Sancho, in the court of the laughterloving Duchess. For instance, Richard and his followers amused themselves at Cyprus, by marrying Vidal to a beautiful Greek girl of no immaculate reputation, whom they introduced to him as the niece of the Greek Emperor. Vidal, in right of his wife, immediately took the title of Emperor, assumed the purple, ordered a throne to be carried before him, and played the most fantastic antics of authorityNor was this the greatest of his extravagances: on his return to Provence, he chose for the se. cond object of his amorous and poetical devotion, a lady whose name happened to be Louve de Penautier: in her honour he assumed the name of Loup, and farther to merit the good graces of his “ Dame," and to do honour to the name he had adopted, he dressed himself in the hide of a wolf, and caused himself to be hunted in good earnest by a pack of dogs: he was brought back exhausted and half dead to the feet of his mistress, who appears to have been more moved to merriment than to love by this new and ridiculous exploit.
In general, however, the Troubadours had seldom reason to complain of the cruelty of the ladies to whom they devoted their service and their songs. The most virtuous and illustrious women thought themselves justified in repaying, with smiles and favours, the poetical adoration of their lovers; and this lasted until the profession of Troubadour was dishonoured by the indiscretions, follies, and vices of those who assumed it. Thus Peyrols, a famous Provençal poet, who was distinguished in the court of the Dauphin d'Auvergne, fell_passionately in love with the sister of that Prince, (the Baronne de Mercour) and the Dauphin, (himself a Troubadour) proud of the genius of his minstrel and of the poetical devotion paid to his sister, desired her to bestow on her lover all the encouragement and favour which was consistent with her digaity. The lady, however, either misunderstood her instructions, or
found it too difficult to obey them : the seducing talents and tender verses of this gentil Troubadour prevailed over her dignity :-Peyrols was beloved; but he was not sufficiently discreet. The sudden change in the tone and style of his songs betrayed him, and he was banished. A great number of his verses, celebrating the Dame de Merceur, are preserved by St. Palaye, and translated by Millot.
Bernard de Ventradour was beloved by Elinor de Guienne, afterwards the wife of our Henry the Second, and the mother of Richard the First :-) have before observed the poetical penchants of all Elinor's children, which they seem to have inherited from their mother.
Sordello of Mantua, whose name is familiar to all the readers of Dante, as occurring in one of the finest passages of this great poem,* was an Italian, but like all the best poets of his day, wrote in the Provençal tongue: he is said to have carried off the sister of that modern Phalaris, the tyrant Ezzelino of Padua. There is a very elegant ballad (ballata) by Sordello, translated in Millot's collection; it is properly a kind of rondeau. the first line being repeated at the end of every stanza; “ Helas ! à quoi me servent mes yeux ?”—“ Alas! wherefore have I eyes ?”—It describes the pleasures of the Spring, which are to him as nothing, in the absence of the only object on which his eyes can dwell with delight. The arrangement of the rhymes in this pastoral song is singularly elegant and musical.
Lastly, as illustrating the history of the amatory poetry of this age, I extract from Nostradamust the story of the young Countess de Die; she loved and was beloved by the Chevalier d'Adhémar: (ancestor I presume to that Chevalier d'Adhémar who figures in the letters of Madame de Sevigné.) It was not in this case the lover who celebrated the charms of his mistress, but the lady, who, being an illustrious female Troubadour, "docte en poësie," celebrated the exploits and magnanimity of her lover. The Chevalier, proud of such a distinction, caused the verses
* Purgatorio, c. vi.