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King Arthur Aloud

Arthurian Audio Files


Le Roman de Jaufré

Read by Dan O'Sullivan, University of Mississippi

For an MP3 file of the reading, click here.

from Les troubadours: L'oeuvre épique et l'oeuvre poétique.
[Jaufré, Flamenca, Barlaam et Josaphat. Le trésor poétique de l'Occitanie]
,
Paris: Desclée de Brouwer (1960, rptd. 2000).
edited by René Lavaud et René Nelli
Translated by Dan O'Sullivan


Le Roman de Jaufré is an Occitan romance of the late 12th or early 13th century, about 11,000 lines long. It is the only surviving Arthurian romance from medieval Provence and seems to be very influenced by Chrétien de Troyes. This is the opening.

D'un cumte de bona maneira,
D'asauta rasun vertadeira,
De sein e de cavalaría,
D'ardiment et de cortesía,
De proesas e d'aventuras,
D'estraínas, de fortz e de duras,
D'asaut, d'encontre, de bataila,
Pudetz ausir la comensaila,
Qe, si-us voltez, ie-us en dirai Aitant can n'ai ausit ni'n sai.
E digatz m'en so q'en volretz,
Si ie-us en dic, si m'ausiretz
Ni-m volretz de bon cor entendre;
Car om nun deu comprar ni vendre
Ni l'us a l'autre conselar
Can au bunas novas comtar;
Qe can no so ben entenduas,
A cel qe las ditz son perduas,
E as aqels no valon gaire
Qe las ausun, a mun veaire,
Si enfre-l cor no las entendo
Qan per las aurelas desendon.
E aiso son novas rïals,
Grans e ricas e naturals,
De la cort del bon rei Artus.
E anc no-s fes ab el negus
Qe fos en aqela sazon,
De bon pres ni de mesïon.
Tant fu pros e de gran valor
Qe ja no morra sa lausor,
Car ja sempre serant retraxas
Las prosezas que el a faxas
E-il bos cavaliers mentagutz
Qe-a sa cort foron elegutz,
Q'a la Taula redonda vengron,
E las proesas que mantengron,
Car anc om no-i venc cosseil querre,
Per tal que dreit poges proferre,
Qe s'en anes desconseilatz,
Mais anc Tort no-i fo escotatz.
Tant fo la cortz lïals e bona
Qe negus om tort no-i rasona,
Ni anc om per cavalaría
No-i venc, q'en tornes a fadía
Ni per guerra ni per bataila.
Anc en sa cort no trobet faila
Negus om, per re qe-i qeses
Ni per calqe obs y ages.
Vesvas domnas, orfes enfans,
Pucelas, donzels, paucs e grans,
Can a tort eron guerrejat
Ni per forsa deseretatz,
Aqui trobavo mantenensa.
Aitóri, socors e valensa.
Per qe devon esser grasídas
Novas de tan bon loc issídas,
E-n patz e sens gab escotadas.
E cel ditz qe las a rimadas
Qe anc lo rei Artus no vi,
Mais tut plan contar o auzi
En la cort del plus onrat rei
Qe anc fos de neguna lei,
Aco es lo rei d'Aragon,
Paire de Pretz e fil de Don
E seiner de Bonaventura,
Humils e de leial natura,
Q'el ama Dieu e tem e cre,
E mante Lïautat e Fe
Patz e Justísia, per qe Deus
L'ama, car se ten ab los seus,
Q'el es sos novels cavalies
E de sos enemics guerries.
Anc Dieus no trobet en el faila,
Ans a la primera bataila
Faita per el, el a vencutz
Cel per qe Deu es descresutz,
Per qe Deus l'an tan fort onrat
Qe sobre totz l'a isausat
De pres e de natural sen,
De galart cor e d'ardimen.
Anc en tan joven coronat
Nu ac tan bo aib ajustat,
Q'el dona grans dos volentiers
A juglars et a cavaliers,
Per que veno a sa cort tutz
Aquels qe per pros son tengutz.
E cel qe rimet la canso
Ausi denant el la raso
Dir a un cavalier estrain,
Paren d'Artus e de Galvain,
D'un'aventura qe avenc
Al rei Artus, qe gran cort tenc
A la festa de Pantecosta,
On cad'an gran poble s'ajusta,
Per so qe-l rei lus en semon.
Pauc n'i venon a qui non don.
You may hear the beginning
of a good story,
both pleasing and true in theme,
full of worth and chivalry,
of boldness and of courtesy,
of noble deeds and adventures
--strange, difficult, and brutal--,
of sieges, encounters, and battles.
If it pleases you, I will tell you
as much as I have learned and know about it.
But tell me what will be your attitude
if I recite it to you and whether or not you
will listen attentively.
Because one should not discuss buying and selling,
nor give each other advice
when one hears good stories being told.
When they are not heard as they should be,
the teller wastes his energy,
and the listeners hardly profit either, in my opinion,
when the stories are heard in the ear
but not in the heart.
These here are royal tales,
wondrous, rich, and truthful,
of the good King Arthur's court.
No knight, living at that time,
could equal him
in true worth and largesse.
He was so worthy and so valorous
that his glory will never die,
for we will always remember the
feats that he accomplished.
And forever will his good knights
that he chose for his court,
who took their place around the Round Table
and who accomplished great deeds
be celebrated.
No one who sought their aid,
provided they could prove their right,
went away without help.
Never did Falseness find an audience there:
so good and loyal was the court
that no one ever defended the side of injustice.
And never did a man who offered himself
for the sake of chivalry
to fight in a war or battle
come away with a refusal.
No one ever found the court in want
of what one asked,
of whatever he needed.
Widows, orphans,
young ladies and men, poor and rich,
all found protection,
aid, and valiant support there
when another waged an unjust war against them,
or tried to disinherit them by force of arms.
This is why stories coming from such a noble source
should be welcome and listened to attentively
without any shenanigans.
And the one who performs them tells you
that he never saw King Arthur:
he has simply heard these stories
at the court of the most honorable king
who ever held any religion, that is,
the king of Aragon,
father of Worth and son of Liberality,
lord of Good Fortune.
He is good and loyal;
he loves God, believes in him, and fears him.
He cultivates Loyalty and Faith,
Peace and Justice. And God loves him,
for he aids the faithful,
serves God as his new knight,
and fights God's enemies.
God has never found fault with him:
at the first battle that the king fought, he vanquished
the one who renounced God.
This is why God has honored him
above all
in Worth and in intelligence,
in valiance and in courage.
Never have so many good qualities been
brought together in a king so young:
he willingly gives rich gifts to
minstrels and knights.
And one sees assembled at his court
those who are considered worthy.
The one who performs this song
heard a foreign knight of Arthur and Gawain's lineage
tell, in the company of the king,
the story of an adventure that came to pass as
King Arthur was holding full court
on the feast of Pentecost, when, each year, many people assemble
because the king beckons them.
And few among those who heed his call
fail to receive some gift.

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