The First Troubadour Comparison Analysis

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During the Middle Ages, numerous forms of lyrics arose, which recreated the way that poetry was looked at for centuries afterward. The poetry that will be discussed was written by the troubadours, a southern French romance language, and the minnesingers, which were German singers of love songs. The troubadours are known for being “the first secular poets to rhyme their songs and put them to music,” as well as the first to redefine the idea of love (Medieval 1, pg. 2). Guillem IX, named “the First Troubadour,” went on to create many different poems, addressing themes of love and even satirizing the different conventional demands of courtly love during that time (Medieval 1, pg. 5). His poems, being among the first available that addressed courtly…show more content…
Today, the idealistic nature of love presented in the poems seems a bit obsessive. However, at the time, society did not look at this as obsessive, but rather as a heroic act. For instance, in “When the Sweet Air Turns Bitter,” the poet states that “nothing fills me with such longing / As the thing I cannot have,” yet still refuses to “tell her my desire” (Medieval 2, pg. 2). Naturally, if the speaker of the poem was completely in love with a woman and tormented by this feeling, but refused to tell her anything, it would traditionally be looked at as obsessive to a certain extent. However, in the context of the Middle Ages, the act of sacrificing one’s own happiness for something bigger was thought of as a heroic act. This is reinforced when he concludes with, “She can retain me, if that’s what she wants. Cercamon says: a man will hardly belong in court if he despairs of love” (Medieval 2, pg. 2). This is representative of the ideology that the man is being heroic by keeping his feelings bottled up for the greater good. In the poem “It has gone with me as with a child,” the narrator is also feeling conflicted, but for a different reason. For instance, he notes that “When I set my eyes on my beloved lady, / Through whom, beside some pleasure, I have felt much pain,” which is representative of the contradictory feelings one feels toward love (Medieval 4, pg. 2). This contrast seems to mimic the feelings that were felt in Cercamon’s poem. The poet continues to express his love for the woman and states “I have been brought down, / I must stay far away and cleave to her forever” (Medieval 4, pg. 2). This is different than the earlier poem in the sense that the poet is rejected and choosing to keep out of the woman’s life. This is looked at as less noble and heroic than the earlier poem, but still noteworthy in the sense that he is making some
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