Monday, February 18, 2013

Ella Young and Romance

Jaufre Rudel dies in the arms of Hodierna of Tripoli (MS of troubadour songs, 13C North Italian, Bib. Nat. Française)
Somehow I missed Valentine' Day…but endeavor to carry on the theme of love and romantic gestures. I came across a poem by Ella from her volume of poems The Rose of Heaven - published in Dublin in 1920. As with many of her poems I find myself on an adventure as I research the names and places she mentions.  First, here is the poem - my gift, from Ella.

Rudel takes leave of the Countess of Tripoli

You are so beautiful, and yet the light
Ebbs fast and faster as I lie:
Outside 'tis noonday burning white
In that long-wished-for Southern sky.

I have no words now - I that made
So many songs for you.  All's done.
I have reached to you: my life essayed.
Naught further, Lady of the Sun.

Bend down and kiss me, let your hair 
Shut out the darkness for a space:
It may be death itself will spare
This Dream in which I see your face. 

So,  who are these people? Are they real? Imaginary?

My research led me to one Jaufre Rudel - a Provincial troubadour of the early mid-twelfth century and a Prince. The legend has it that Jaufre went on a Crusade after hearing about the great beauty and intelligence of the Countess of Tripoli - Hodierna. It is said that Jaufre was deathly ill when he reached Tripoli ( a small duchy north of Palestine) and the Countess came to him - permitting him to die in her arms. Ah, love and death - so painfully entwined. 

Others have written poems in honor of Juafre's quest and his death - but none, I feel, as perfect in its simplicity as Ella's creation.  

Reading about Jaufre Rudel reminded me of a favorite novel - A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay.  Kay's fantasy brings to life this age of romance, courtly love, and troubadours. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post. I've somehow missed Kay's books over the years, but now feel a order coming on! Thanks again.