vineri, 9 ianuarie 2009

Min herze und min lip diu wellent scheiden

Since I haven’t posted anything relevant in a while, I’ll try to make up for it by sharing with you something from my crusades studies. I’m talking about a German Crusade song of the late twelfth century by Friedrich von Hausen and translated by Jeffrey R. Ashcroft.
Friedrich von Hausen is recorded in charters and chronicles as a ministerial knight with military, legal, and diplomatic functions in the service of Frederick I Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor, and his son King Henry VI between 1171 and 1188. He was killed in battle on the Third Crusade, in May 1190. Hausen wrote courtly love songs during the 1180s, and this song of crusading propaganda must date from 1188–1189.

“My heart and my body want to part company, though they
have been together for a long time now. Body is keen to go
fight the heathen, but Heart has chosen a woman in preference
to all the world. This pains me ever more, that they will
not stay with one another. My eyes have caused me much
grief. God alone can settle this dispute.
Since, Heart, I cannot dissuade you from leaving me in
this unhappy way, I pray God that he may deign to send you
somewhere where you will be well received. Alas, how will
you fare, poor thing? How can you venture to face such peril
alone? Who shall help you bring your cares to an end so loyally
as I have done?
I thought I had freed myself of such cares when I took the
cross in honor of God. It should by rights have been so, if my
own steadfastness had not prevented it. If my heart had
given up its foolish will, I should be truly a whole man. Now
I realize that it doesn’t care how I am to fare in the end.
No one can reproach me with inconstancy if now I hate
her whom before I loved. However much I begged and
beseeched her, she behaves as if she doesn’t understand. It
seems to me indeed as if her words behave exactly like the
fickle summer weather does in Trier. I’d be a fool if I took
her foolish obstinacy seriously. It will not happen again.

Des Minnesangs Frühling, ed. Hugo Moser and Helmut
Tervooren, 36th ed. (Stuttgart: Hirzel, 1977), pp. 81–83

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