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Guiraut Riquier
Birth: 1230
Narbonne, France
Death: 1292
Narbonne, France

Poet, Musician. The last great Provenšal troubadour, his songs express nostalgia for a bygone era of French poetry. Riquier was born in Narbonne. He matured in the wake of the Albigensian or Cathar Crusade (1209 to 1255), a series of wars and inquisitions waged by the Pope and Northern France against "heretical" elements in his native Languedoc. These events did away with an entire class of tolerant Southern nobility and effectively killed off the troubadour tradition. Riquier must have experienced this firsthand in his initial wanderings, finding that few noble courts were still accepting troubadours. From 1254 to 1270 he stayed close to home in the service of Almarich IV, Viscount of Narbonne; after his patron's death he went to Spain, appearing at the court of Alfonso X of Castile (1271 to 1279). An exchange of letters between Riquier and Alfonso show that the poet grew disenchanted with what he felt was the corruption of his art there. He drew away from themes of courtly love and his lyrics became more religious in tone. By 1280 he was back in Southern France under the sponsorship of Henry II, Count of Rodez, before returning to an aimless existence in Narbonne. Riquier's final song, "It Would Be Best if I Refrained from Singing" (1292), offers a bitter epitaph for himself and the dead culture he represented: "I came into the world too late...For now no art is less admired than the worthy craft of song". He then vanishes from history. We can be thankful for Riquier's feelings of pride and isolation, for they led him to meticulously preserve his work. Over 100 of his songs survive, 48 with their music, the largest single collection from any troubadour. They include dates and extensive notes about their composition, and in one case even performing instructions. Several have been recorded, among them "Pus astres no m'es donatz" (1262), "Ples de Tristor" (1270), "Humils, forfaitz" (1273), "Jhesu Cristz" (1275), "Karitatz et Amors e fes" (1276), and "S'ieu ja trobat non agues" (1280). A real curiosity is his partimen (debate song) "Auzit ay dir, Bonfil, que saps trobar", an exchange between himself and Bonfilhs, the only recorded Jewish Provenšal troubadour. It ends with Riquier stooping to anti-Semitism and his dignified rival excusing himself from the contest. Since there is no trace of a Bonfilhs anywhere except in this song, scholars wonder if he was a historical figure or a product of Riquier's imagination. He may well have encountered Sephardic Jewish music at Alfonso's court. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
 
Burial:
Body lost or destroyed
Specifically: Location unknown to historians
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
Record added: Mar 04, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 86216061
Guiraut Riquier
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
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- Andrew Hahn
 Added: Aug. 26, 2013
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