cation. Thus the shepherdess is both natural and pure. Sound of body and of mind, she can distin- guish good sense from folly (line 23). She is pre- pared to stand her ground in the face of the knight’s provocations.
worth by seducing her. He will then have the re-
ward he deserves:
The knight does not yet give up. He shifts reg- isters, conflating two disparate ideas: the wild beast tamed and the oath of fidelity.
What then are these provocations and how does the shepherdess reply?
ionship “pareill par2
The first is the offer of protection and (stanzas II and III). Turning the knight’s (like or suitable companionship)
(line 19) into a mocking
s h e p h e r d e s s r e j e c t s t h i s a p p r o a c h , q u a l i f y i n g i t a s The companionship “illusion” (ufana) (line
The shepherdess picks up on both of these. First she exposes the futility of homage coming from a man possessed by madness, that is, by lust:
“hom coitatz de follatge
Jur’e pliu e
gatge: Si.m fariatz homenatge” (a man pressed by madness Swears and pledges and Thus you would do me homage) (lines 64-66). Then she draws out the implication of bestiality
the knight wants between them would leave her with nothing; she figures that out right away.
by linking it to prostitution.
picks up the previous
Companionship would be more fitting if they were of the same class. To remedy the defect of their differing social classes, the calculating seigner
fee one can pass along certain roads. The venality of women is sharply evoked to unmask the knight’s true intentions. Prostitution is a promi-
proposes that the
is really a courtly peasant
nent theme in many
girl because her father was a knight. Again the
is quick with a rebuff (stanza VI): her ances- try, she affirms, is pure, and the association of peasant and plow guarantees its authenticity. But the knight. . . is his ancestry so clear? There are those who only pass themselves off as knights (line 40). Innuendo is met with innuendo. But the knight persists. He will try flattery. The possesses by birth perfect beauty (stanza VII); she is in a sense born noble, or at least with one of the major attributes of a noble lady. But the flattery suddenly becomes comic -the knight is a rather crude fellow- when we discover that the beauty would be doubled if the knight just once saw himself above with her below (lines
The shepherdess’s reply plays on a collection of themes and values that early on appear in Occitan
song: The lady is
the lover/poet praises
her, enhances her reputation, her pretz (line and then she should reward him. The shepherdess flings back an ironic undercutting of this motif: certainly the knight would not be enhancing her
were looked upon as women of easy virtue, and the notion of prostitution clung readily to their class. The implications of the knight’s clumsy
rhetoric outrage the
She defends her honor
by categorically rejecting both the act of prostitu- tion and the name of whore. In the strongest state- ment of the poem, she flatly negates the rhyme link of vilana with putana (prostitute) (line 70). One thinks of how she originally defined herself: “sana,” the opposite of the image the knight would project on her.
The knight still can’t quite believe he will fail. He returns in stanza XI to his opening gambit: “we should do what comes naturally, over there,”
“a l’abric pasture).
(under cover beside the
The shepherdess initially agrees: “Don, oc” (line 78). But then in a masterful rebuff, she turns the knight’s rhetoric against him. She will act ac- cording to what is right, in a correctly natural
manner, according to
then sorts out the proper couples -a bit like the
mockev than Swicten, Cansus, 149.
dia e non
al” (He who praises his lady more
she is worth makes it appear that his words are
and nothing else). Raimon de
For what might be called the “excess praise”
val / Laura
91,148, que non
S 46. Involved in this exchange, too, is the notion that e e L . T . T o p s f i e l d , T r o u b a d o u r s a n d L o v e ( C a m b r i d g e : C a m b r i d g e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s praise is simple “E