[lit-ideas] Blondel and Richard Coeur de Lion United In Song of Love

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 10:28:41 EST

Blondel Sings His Heart -- and Has His Refrain Compleated 
The Romance of the Crusades
In "Updating one's knowledge about the Crusades", L. K. Helm writes about  
the second edition of a book:
>He has a brief (10 page)
>_afterword_ which sounds  interesting.  His chapters are,
>The critical romantics

Interesting that he should mention the Romantics. Indeed there is much of  
romance during the Crusades. The St. Michael Hall I work at (provided 'work'  
does not stop me from 'gentleness') logo is the red cross of St. George and St. 
Michael, so we know the meaning of a symbolic banner. 
There was also Richard Coeur de Lion. He was born in Beaumont, England, but  
his English was broken. He fought in the Crusades, and was made to marry a  
foreign princess. But he could not find her sexually attractive enough to  
procreate, so he left no heir. Instead he seems to have been pretty attached to 
trouvador wearing long yellow tresses, whom he called "Blondel". Blondel could 
 play the guitar.
Since Richard had an ear for verse, they jointly composed, on the way to  
Jerusalem, a romantic little rhyme. Geary knows the exact scansion. What I  
remember is the refrain:
                     Blondel:    Tra -- la -- la -- la -- la ?
                     Richard:    Tra -- la -- la -- la -- la!
In any case the uniqueness of the rhyme proved useful. On the way back from  
the Crusades (or afterwards) Richard found himself imprisoned. Nobody, his 
wife,  or his serfs could have cared less. But the troubadour did. And with his 
little  guitar, romaed along the Loire and other rivers. At every castle tower 
he would  sing,
                     Tra -- la -- la -- la -- la?
But no reply. He tried Vienna, he tried Venice, he tried even Liguria.  
Finally, on the Alps -- see beautiful colour reproduction at


-- he heard the loving accent of his French-speaking king of England,
     (softly, as he was not well fed, as in a  whisper)
                     "Tra -- la -- la -- la -- la."
And so Blondel _knew_.
The rest is Historia Anglica.


   author of
   "Who _won_ the Crusades?"
   "New Jerusalem: The History of an English idea" -- or how to  stay happy 
on your island of the blessed.

Pinging Away on Lit-Ideas --  enjoying the company and the intelligent 
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