- Stephen Haynes
(Provençal: ‘dawn’). A minor genre of troubadour lyric, of which 19 examples survive. Several are anonymous or of uncertain attribution; of those whose authorship is reasonably secure, only Reis glorios, by Giraut de Bornelh (PC 242.64), is the work of a poet of the first rank. Few can be dated with any precision, but the period of composition appears to extend from the last quarter of the 12th century to the end of the 13th. Most have a refrain – a rare feature in the troubadour lyric – and this normally includes the word ‘alba’.
The dawn plays a number of different roles in these pieces. Six of the poems are religious, and use the dawn as a symbol of redemption or awakening from sin. The remainder are amorous, and most of these are concerned with the parting of lovers at daybreak, though in two cases the lover is looking forward to the dawn. The surviving poems include the unique ...