Translated into English from the Occitan by A. S. Kline.
Published with commentary notes and illustrations courtesy of the public domain collections of the British Library.
The troubadour tradition of lyric poetry originated in eleventh century Occitania – a region comprising what is now southern France together with portions of Catalonia and northern Italy. Occitania, whilst a cultural union linguistically founded on the Occitan language, was neither a legal nor political entity in its own right. The troubadour school of Occitan poetical and musical fiction, rich in genre and satire, concerned itself principally with the twin themes of chivalry and courtly love. Spreading across Europe over two and a half centuries, the tradition eventually waned in popularity and died out around the time of the Black Death.
This selection of Occitan poetry comprises verse of poetic merit rather than that of purely historic interest. The translations herein aim to preserve, in some measure, the rhyming schemes of the originals. The form of Occtian poems was at least half their art - with crucially many being set to music, of which much survives.