Arnaut Daniel

Arnaut Daniel, image taken from wikipedia

The 12th century minstrel Arnaut Daniel (born in what is now Dordogne, France) has had a cult following that goes from Dante (though he sent him to Purgatory, typical of Dante) to Petrarch and from Ezra Pound to T.S. Eliot.

A student of Latin turned into a poet / singer, this passionate troubadour could be as sensual and arrogant as complex and obscure.

And I pray my song does not displease you
since, if you like the music and lyrics,
little cares Arnaut whether the unpleasant ones like them as well (a)

(E ma chanzos prec que no’us si’enois
car, si voletz grazir lo son e’ls motz,
pauc prez’Arnautz cui que plass’o que tire)

Among his most celebrated and famous lines are the following:

I am Arnaut who hoard the air 
and hunt the hare with the ox 
and swim against the flow (b)

(Ieu sui Arnautz qu’amas l’aura
e cas la lebre ab lo bueu
e nadi contra suberna)

How cool is that one? I want to say that someday, but not sure what would be a good circumstance to do so.

Not everybody was as impressed with his complex and intricate poetry though. Another poet, the monk of Montaudon, wrote a satire on various troubadours,  “Pois Peire d’Alvernh’ a chantat”. Arnaut Daniel, who was probably alive when the monk of Montaudon wrote this verses, is featured on an unflattering way:

With Arnaut Daniel there are seven,
who in his life never sung well,
except for some fool words nobody understands.
Since he hunted the hare and the ox and swam against the tide,
his songs are worthless.

Thus, if you think that verbal battles are a new thing invented by rappers, you may have to reconsider it. Even statisticians got into them (like Pearse vs Fisher).

Speaking of statisticians, one of the most widely used tests was thought of by Gosset while he was working at Guiness. Since the people at Guiness did not want their competitors to know they were clever enough to hire statisticians , Gossett had to publish his findings under the name of “Student”

(a) I took this translation from this site here, though I prefer the last line to read: little cares Arnaut who likes or dislikes them

(b) translation taken from the same site as in (a)


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