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Chanterai pour mon coraige
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With its candid references to loss and sexual longing, this poem is a reminder of the human cost of crusading. There were emotional ties to be broken, perhaps for ever, both to loved ones and to inherited ancestral lands; there were expiatory donations to be made to local religious houses for the securing of Masses and prayers; resources had to be mustered, at great expense, for long-distance travel on a war footing. A crusade was not a project to be joined by impoverished opportunists seeking land and booty, but by knights of substance with lands, households and prudent marriages either made or pending (see lines 17-20). This song is remarkable, but not without parallel, for its expression of a woman’s loss of her lover to a crusade (lines 43-44 probably allude to pregnancy) but the author was almost certainly male. Chanterai pour mon coraige is either anonymous in the sources or is attributed to Guiot de Dijon. Guiot is a man’s name, a diminutive form of Gui. There is one attribution, in MS C, to a ‘Dame de Fayel’, but the attributions in chansonnier C are often unreliable, and ‘Dame de Fayel’ is the name of a fictional character in the well-known Old French Roman du Chastelain de Couci et la Dame de Fayel.

from notes by Christopher Page © 1998

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