Valen marques, senher de Monferrat,
a Dieu grazisc quar vos a tant onrat
que mais avetz conques e mes e dat
c'om ses corona de la crestiantat;
e laus en Dieu quar tant m'a enansat
que bon senhor ai molt en vos trobat,
que m'avetz gent noyrit et adobat,
e fait gran be e de bas aut pojat,
e de nien fait cavalier prezat,
grazit en cort e per donas lauzat.
Et ieu ai vos servit de voluntat,
de bona fe, de bon cor e de grat,
que mon poder vos n'ai ben tot mostrat;
et ai ab vos fait maint cortes barat,
qu'en maint bel luec ay ab vos dompneyat;
et ai ab vos per guerra cavalguat,
et ab armas perdut e guazanhat,
e pres maynt colp et ab vos n'ai donat,
e gen fugit et ab vos encaussat,
vensen l'encaus, et en fugen tornat,
e sui cazutz et ai en derrocat.
Et ai en ga e sus en pon jostat,
e part barreiras ab vos esperonat,
et envazit barbacan' e fossat,
e sus en guarda et en aut luec anat,
vensen grans coytas; et ai vos ajudat
a conquerre emperi e regnat
et estas terras et yllas e duguat,
e reys a penre, princeps e principat,
et a venser maint cavalier armat.
Maynt fort castel e mainta fort ciutat,
maint bel palaitz ai ab vos azeguat,
emperador e rey et amirat
e.l sevasto Lasquar e.l proestrat
el Peitr' assis, e maint' autra postat.
Et encaussei ab vos a Filopat
l'emperador, qu'avetz dezeretat,
de Romania, e l'autre coronat.
E si per vos no suy en gran rictat,
no semblara qu'ab vos aia estat
ni servit tan cum vos ai repropchat,
e vos sabetz qu'ieu dic del tot vertat,
Valiant marquis, lord of Monferrato, I thank god that he honoured you so much that you have conquered and dispensed and given more than any uncrowned man in christendom; and I praise god that he has exalted me to such a degree that I have found a most generous liege in you, who have kindly maintained and equipped me, and shown me great kindness and, from my lowly state exalted me so much, and turned me from a nobody into a prized knight, welcome at court and praised by ladies.
And in return, I have served you with willingly and truly and with a glad heart, and to the utmost of my power; and I have devised many a courtly stratagem with you, and in many a pleasant occasion I have wooed ladies with you; and I have ridden at your side at war, and lost and won battles, clad in armour, and given and taken many blows with you, and honourably fled and pursued with you, and, checking the pursuit, turned in mid flight, and I have fallen and have unsaddled other.
And I have jousted in fords and on bridges, and spurred on past barriers, and attacked barbicans and moats, and scaled fortified heights, victorious through great perils; and I have helped you conquer empire and reign, and these lands and islands, and a duchy, and to capture kings, princes and principalities, and to defeat many an armed knight.
I have razed with you many a strong castles, many a strong city and many a magnificent palace, and besieged emperor, king and emir and the august Lascaris, the prostrator in the Petrion and many other. And I pursued with you to the Philopation the emperor of Byzantium, which you have despoiled of his inheritance to crown the other one.
And if I bask not, thank to you, in great riches, it will seem that I haven't been by your side nor serviced you as much as I have reminded you of, and you know that I speak truly about everything, Lord Marquis.
Senher marques, ja no.m diretz de no,
que vertatz es, e vos sabetz ben quo
me tinc ab vos a ley de vassalh bo,
quant assalhis a Cart entr' Ast e No,
que quatre cens cavaliers a tenso
vos encausavon, feren ad espero,
que no.s tengron ab vos detz companho,
quan vos tornetz e feris de rando:
pueys vos dupteron mais que grua falco.
Et ieu torney al mager ops que.y fo,
que ieu e vos levem gen del sablo
n'Albert marques, qu'era jos de l'arso.
Et ai estat per vos en greu preyzo
per vostra guerra, e n'ai part Recaldo
fait maint assaut et ars maynta maizo,
e fait maint colp ab vos part Caranso.
Et a Messina vos cobri del blizo;
en la batalha vos vinc en tal sazo
que.us ferion pel pietz e pel mento
dartz e cairels, sagetas e lanso,
lansas e brans e coutels e fausso.
E quan prezes Randas e Paterno,
Rochel' e Terme e Lentin et Aido,
Plass' e Palerma e Calatagiro,
fui als premiers, sotz vostre gonfayno.
E quant anetz per crozar a Saysso,
ieu non avia en cor, Dieus m'o perdo,
que passes mar, mas per vostre resso
levey la crotz e pris confessio;
e era pres lo fort castel Babo,
e no m'avion res forfait li Grifo.
Pueys vinc ab vos guerreyar part Monço;
entorn Blaquerna, sotz vostre pabalho,
estei armatz, a ley de Bramanso,
d'elm e d'ausberc e de gros guambaizo;
e.m combatey sotz la tor el Peiro,
e.i fui nafratz d'outra la guarnizo.
E estey tan armatz pres del donjo
tro qu'en cassem l'emperador felho,
selh que destruys son frair' a trassio.
Quan vi.l gran fum e la flam' e.l carbo,
e.l mur traucat en man luec ses bonso,
issi el camp per combatr' a bando
ab tan grans gens, ses tota falhizo,
c'az un de nos eron cen per razo.
E vos pensetz de far defensio
e.l coms de Flandres; e Frances e Breto
et Alaman, Lombart e Berguonho
et Espanhol, Proensal e Guasco,
tug fom renguat, cavalier e pezo.
E l'emperaire, ab lo cor al talo,
esperonet e sei vil companho
plus d'una legua; pueys volgron li gloto.
Nos fom austor et ylh foro aigro,
e cassem los si cum lops fai mouto.
E l'emperaire fugic s'en a lairo,
e laisset nos palays Bocaleo
e se filha ab la clara faisso.
E franc vassalh quan ser a senhor bo,
pretz l'en reman et a.n bon guizardo:
per qu'ieu n'esper de vos esmend' e do,
Lord marquis, you will not gainsay me, for you know it is true, and you know full well that I was by your side, as is meet for a good vassal, when you attacked at Quarto, between Asti and Annone; four hundred knights were pursuing you, rivaling each other and spurring their steeds, and by your side were hardly ten companions, when you turned and struck with force: afterwards they dreaded you more than the crane does the falcon. And I turned to the most pressing need of the moment, when you and nimbly I lifted from the arena the marquis Albert, who had fallen from the saddle. And I have been in grievous captivity for you, for you war's sake, and I have made many raids, there by Ricaldone, and burned many a house, and I have struck many blows with you by Caranzano.
And in Messina I covered you with the shield: amid the battle, I came to you at the moment darts, bolts, javelins, spears, lances, swords, knives and falchions were striking your breast and face.
And when you conquered Randazzo and Paternò, Rocella and Termini, and Lentini and Aidone, Piazza, Palermo and Caltagirone, I was the first under your standard.
And when you went to Soissons for the crusade, I didn't, may god forgive me, want to cross the sea, but I confessed and wore the cross for your glory's sake; yet I was near the fortified castle of Babon, and the Greek had done me no wrong.
Afterwards, I went with you to fight beyond Modon; around the Blachernae, beneath your banner, I stood clad in helm, hauberk and great gambesons, in the Brabantine style; and I fought beneath the Petrion tower and was wounded through my armour. And long stood I armed by the donjon, until we drove out the villainous emperor who had undone his brother in a treacherous manner. When he saw the great smoke and the flames and the embers, and the wall breached in many places without even a battering ram, he came out into the field to wage a fierce battle, accompanied by such a host that, without lie, for each of ours there were a hundred of them. And you looked to the defence, along with the count of Flandres; and Frenchmen, Bretons, Germans, Lombards, Burgundians, Spaniards, Provençals and Gascons, we all stood arrayed, knights and footmen. And the emperor, with his heart in his heels, spurred forth, along with his pavid companions, more than a league; then the wretches turned. But we were the hawks and they were the herons, and we chased them as the wolf does the muttons. And the emperor fled thence like a thief, leaving Bucoleon Palace and her daughter with her beautiful countenance, to us.
Now, when a loyal vassal serves a generous liege, he acquires merit thereby, and receives a rich meed: therefore I expect commendation and gift from you, lord marquis.
Senher marques, no.us vuelh totz remembrar
los joves fagz qu'en prim prezem a far,
que paor ai tornes a malestar
a nos que.ls autres deuriam chastiar;
e non per tan ben ero.l fag tan clar
que en macip no.y pogr'om melhurar;
car prim punh es de jove ric triar
si vol gran pretz mantener o laissar,
cum vos, senher, que volguetz tant aussar
vostra valor ades al comensar
que vos e mi fezetz per tot lauzar,
vos cum senher e mi cum bacallar.
E quar es greu perdr' e dezamparar,
senher, amic, qu'om deu tener en car,
vuelh retraire, e l'amor refrescar
lo fag que fem de Saldina de Mar,
quan la levem al marques, al sopar,
a Malespina de sul plus aut logar,
e la donetz a Ponset d'Aguilar,
que muria el liet per lieys amar.
E membre vos d'Aimonet lo joclar,
quant a Montaut venc las novas comtar
que Jacobina ne volian menar
en Serdenha mal son grat maridar.
E vos prezes un pauc a sospirar,
e membret vos cum vos det un baizar
al comchat penre, quan vos preguet tan car
que de son oncle la volcsetz amparar,
que la volia a tort dezeretar.
E vos mandetz cinq escudiers muntar,
de tot lo mielhs que vos saupes triar,
e cavalguem la nueg apres sopar,
vos e Guiot e Hugonet del Far
e Bertaldo, que gent nos saup guidar,
e mi meteys, que no mi vuelh laissar,
que la levey al port, a l'embarcar.
E.l crit se leva per terra e per mar,
e segon nos pezo e cavalar:
grans fo l'encaus, e nos pessem d'anar,
e cujem lor a totz gent escapar,
tro silh de Piza nos vengron assautar.
E quan nos vim denant nos traversar
tan cavalier, tan estreg cavalgar,
e tant ausberc e tan belh elme clar,
tan golfaino contra.l ven baneyar,
rescozem nos entr' Albeng' e.l Finar;
aqui auzim vas manhtas partz sonar
manh corn, manh gralle, manhta senha cridar:
s'aguem paor, no.us o cal demandar.
Dos jorns estem ses beur' e ses manjar;
quant venc al terz que no.n cugem anar,
nos encontrem el pas de Belhestar
dotze lairos, que.y eron per raubar,
e no.i poguem cosselh penre ni dar,
quar a caval no.i podi' hom brocar.
Et ieu a pe anei.m ab els mesclar,
e fui nafratz ab lansa pel colar,
mas y.en nafriey tres o quatre, so.m par,
si que a totz fi las testas virar;
e Bertaldo et Hugonet del Far
viro.m nafrat e vengro.m ajudar;
e quan fom trey, fem lo pas desliurar
dels lairos, si que vos poguetz passar
seguramen, e deuria.us membrar.
Pueys nos dirnem ab gaug, ses pro manjar,
d'un pan tot sol ses beur' e ses lavar.
E.l ser venguem ab n'Eyssi al Pueg-clar,
que.ns fes tal gaug e tant nos volc onrar
que sa filha n'Aiglet' ab lo vis clar,
se.u sufrissetz, fera ab vos colgar.
Vos al mati cum senher e ric bar
volgues l'oste fort be guardazonar,
qu'Anselmet fes Jacobin' espozar,
e fetz li tot lo comtat recobrar
de Ventamilha, que devia tornar
a Jacobina per la mort de son frar,
mal grat de l'oncle que la.n cuget gitar;
pueyssas volgues Aigleta maridar,
e detz la Gui del Montelh-Azemar.
E s'ieu volia retraire ni comtar
los ondratz faitz, seynher, que.us ai vistz far
poiria nos az amdos enujar,
a me del dire, a vos de l'escotar.
Mais cent piuzellas vos ai vist maridar
a coms, marques, a baros d'aut afar,
que foran laissas e no saupran que far,
c'anc ab una jovens no.us fetz peccar.
Cent cavaziers vos ai vistz heretar,
et autres cent destruyr' et yssilhar,
los bos levar e.ls fals e.ls mals baissar;
anc lauzengier no vos poc azautar.
Tanta veuza, tant orfe cosselhar
e tant mesqui vos ai vist ajudar
qu'en paradis vos deurian menar,
si per merce nuls hom hi deu intrar;
quar anc nuls hom, dignes de merceyar,
si la.us preyet, no.i laissetz fadiar,
et ab merce voletz tostemp renhar.
E qui vol dir per vertat ni comtar,
Aleyxandres vos laisset son donar
et ardimen Rotlan e.lh dotze par
e.l pros Berart domney e gent parlar.
En vostra cort renhon tug benestar:
dar e dompney, belh vestir, gent armar,
trompas e joc, viulas e chantar,
e anc no.us plac nulh portier al manjar.
Et ieu, senher, puesc mi d'aitan vanar
qu'en vostra cort ai saubut gent estar,
dar e servir e sufrir e celar,
et anc no.y fi ad home son pezar;
ni no pot dir nuls hom ni repropchar
qu'anc en guerra.m volgues de vos lunhar,
ni temses mort per vostr' onor aussar,
ni nulh bo fait vos volgues destrigar.
E pus, senher sai tan de vostr' afar,
per tres dels autres mi devetz de be far,
et es razos, qu'en mi podetz trobar
testimoni, cavalier e joclar,
Lord marquis, I don't intend to remind you of all the youthful deeds we undertook in the old days, since I fear it would be unbecoming to us, who should be an example to the others; however, such exploits were so noble that no man in his youth can hope to perform better; since the it is a matter of utmost importance for a young noblemen to decide whether he wishes to achieve or renounce a great glory, like you, lord, who from the very beginning wanted to increase your reputation to such a degree that you made yourself and me be praised everywhere, you as a lord and me as a novice in arms.
But since abandoning and forsaking a friend whom one should hold dear is a grievous thing, my lord, I want to revive our friendship and describe the feat we performed for Saldina de Mar, when we rescued her from the marquis at supper-time, at Malaspina, on his highest retreat, and you gave her to Ponset d'Aguilar, who lay dying in his bed because of his love for her.
And call to mind as well when Aimonet, the jester, came to Montalto to bring the piece of news that they wanted to ship Jacobina to Sardinia and marry her against her will. Then you somewhat started to sigh, and remembered how she gave you a kiss on taking leave of you, when she begged you so eagerly to protect her from her uncle, who wanted to disinherit her.
So you sent five riders, the best you could choose among all, to mount horses, and we rode at night, after dinner, you, Guiot, Hugonet del Far and Bertaldo, who knew so well how to guide us, and myself, for I do not wish to overlook myself, since I was the one who took her away from the harbour at the moment of embarkation.
The alarm was raised over land and sea, and people on horse and on foot followed in our wake: it was a great pursuit, and we prepared to depart and we thought we would skilfully escape them all, until those from Pisa came to attack us. And when we saw, crossing before us, so many knights, riding in tight formation, so many hauberks, and so many fine, shiny helms, so many standards dancing in the wind, we hid between Albenga and Finale; there we heard many horns and clarions sounding and many war-cries being shouted from many sides: and there's no point in asking whether we were scared.
We remained two days without drinking and eating; when the third came and we resolved to break out, we met, at Belhestar Pass, twelve brigands who were there to rob, and we were in a quandary, because one could not assault on horseback in that place. So we went to brawl with them on foot, and I was wounded with a spear through my collar, but I wounded three or four, it seems to me, so that I made them all turn; and Bertaldo and Hugonet del Far came to my rescue when they saw me wounded, and when there were three of us, we delivered the pass of the brigands, so that you could cross freely, and you ought to remember this. Thereafter, we ate with pleasure a frugal lunch of bread alone, without drinking and without washing.
In the evening, we reached Pueg-clar and Sir Aicio, who was so overjoyed, and wanted to honour us so much that he would have had with his daughter, the fair-faced Aigleta, lie with you, had you suffered it.
The next morning, you, as a liege and noble lord, wanted to reward the host richly, and you had Anselmet marry Jacobina, and had all the county of Ventimiglia recovered, since it was to go back to Jacobina after the death of her brother, in spite of her uncle who thought he'd cast her out; afterwards, you wished to find a husband for Aigleta, and gave her to Gui of Montélimar.
And if I wanted to report or enumerate, my lord, the noble deeds I have seen you perform, I could bore us both, me in the talking, and you in the listening.
But I have seen you marry counts, marquises and barons of high rank to a hundred maidens who would otherwise have remained hapless and not have known what to do, and still youth didn't lead you to sin with a single one.
I have seen you enrich a hundred knights, and undo and exile a hundred other, exalt the good and cast the false and wicked down; and no slanderer could ever find favour with you.
I have seen you aid so many widows and orphans, and help so many of the unfortunate, that they should open the gates of heaven for you, if one shall enter them out of compassion; for never did a man worthy of compassion await it in vain if he but begged it of you, and you want to reign all the time with compassion.
And to tell the truth, Alexander left you his generosity and Roland and the twelve peers their daring, and the valiant Berart his way with women and his courteous talk.
All good usage rules in your court: munificence and courting, elegant clothing and handsome armour, trumpets and games and viols and songs, and at dinner-time it has never pleased you to have a keeper at the door.
And I, my lord, can boast this much: that I have sat well in your court, and given and served well, and been patient and discreet, and never have I given anyone cause of grieving; nor can man say in reproach that I have strayed from your side at war, or that I feared dying your honour for to increase, or that I ever tried to dissuade you from a noble deed.
And since, my lord, I know so much about your affairs, you ought to reward me as much as three of the others, and it just fair, for in me you can find a witness, a knight and a jester, lord marquis!