Lark in the Morning: The Verses of the Troubadours

by Mark McGuinness on 31 March, 2014

Troubadour and dancer, from the cover of Lark in the Morning: The Verses of the Troubadours, edited by Robert Kehew

We all know vaguely who the troubadours were: those minstrels with (in Ezra Pound’s words) “trunk-hose and the light guitar” who wandered through the middle-ages, serenading ladies outside their windows and dodging jealous glances (and arrows) from the lord of the castle. They mastered the game of courtly love, or fin amor, and inspired generations of Romantically-minded poets, from Dante, Petrarch and Chaucer onwards.

The bohemian aura of the troubadour persists to this day: the Troubadour Cafe is a legendary performance venue in West London, its tiny stage having been graced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones, as well as countless poets (including yours truly) at the Coffee House Poetry readings.

But who were the real troubadours? And what were their songs like?

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