The Trobairitz

by aschan13

The song of the troubadour should not be recognized without mention of the female equivalent, the Trobairitz. These Occitan aristocratic females of the 12th and 13th centuries composed secular music revolving around topics such as courtly love. The most famous of which is Beatriz de Dia (aka Comtessa de Dia), wife of William II of Poltlers. The following is the original text and English translation of La Comtessa de Dia’s song  “Estat ai en greu cossirier:”

Estat ai en greu cossirier
per un cavallier q’ai agut,
e vuoil sia totz temps saubut cum eu l’ai amat a sobrier. Ara vei q’ieu sui trahida
car eu non li donei m’amor don ai estat en gran error
en lieig e qand sui vestida.

Ben volria mon cavallier
tener un ser en mos bratz nut, q’el s’en tengra per ereubut
sol q’a lui fezes cosseillier;
car plus m’en sui abellida
no fetz Floris de Blanchaflor;
eu l’autrei mon cor e m’amor, mon sen, mos huoills e ma vida.

Bels amics, avinens e bos, tenrai en mon poder,
e que iagues ab vos un ser,
e des un bais amoros? Sapchatz gran talan n’auria tengues en luoc del marit ab so que m’aguessetz plevit de far tot so qu’eu volria.


I have been sorely troubled
about a knight I had;
I want it known for all time
how exceedingly I loved him.
Now I see myself betrayed
because I didn’t grant my love
to him; I’ve suffered much distress from it in bed and fully clothed

I’d like to hold my knight
in my arms one evening, naked, for he’d be overjoyed
were I only serving as his pillow, and I am more pleased with him than Floris with his Blanchaflor. To him I grant my heart, my love, my mind, my eyes, my life.

Fair, agreeable, good friend,
when will I have you in my power, lie beside you for an evening,
and kiss you amorously?
Be sure I’d feel a strong desire
to have you in my husband’s place provided you had promised me
to do everything I wished.

A recording of the song can be found here:

Not only does this music have a distinct texture, it also demonstrates the strength of this women to express her desires for a man who is not her husband. I find this music very powerful and emotional. The Trobairitz seems to be a special strong and courageous member of medieval society.