Lo Sordels si fo de Mantoana, de Sirier, fils d’un paubre cavallier que avia nom sier el Cort. E deletava se en cansos aprendre & en trobar, e briguet com los bons homes de cort, & apres tot so qu’el poc; e fetz coblas et sirventes. E venc s’en a la cort del comte de San Bonifaci; el coms l’onret molt; & enamoret se de la moiller del comte a forma de solatz, & ella de lui. Et avenc si quel coms estet mal com los fraires d’ella, e si s’estranjet d’ella. E sier Icellis e sier Albrics, li fraire d’ella, si la feiren envolar al comte a sier Sordel; e s’en venc estar com lor en gran benanansa. E pois s’en anet en Proensa, on el receup grans honors de totz los bos homes, e del comte e de la comtessa, que li deron un bon castel e moiller gentil. (Chabaneau, [II - I, K] 106)
Sordello was from the province of Mantua, from Sirier, son of a poor knight who was named lord el Cort. And he delighted in the learning of canzones & in the composition of poetry, and had business with the good men of the court, and he learnt all he could; and he composed coblas and sirventes. And he came to the court of the count of San Bonifacio; and the count honored him well; & he fell in love with the wife of the count, as a pastime, and she of him. And it happened that the count was in a bad relationship with her brothers, and became estranged from her. And lord Ezzelino and lord Alberico, her brothers, had her kidnapped from the count by lord Sordello; and he came to dwell with them in great wealth. And then he went to Provence, where he received great honors from all the good people, and from the count and the countess, who gave him a nice castle and a noble wife.
Transcription and translation by Eloisa Bressan
Ezra Pound. "Troubadours - Their Sorts and Conditions"
"Dante and Browning have created so much interest in Sordello that it may not be amiss to give the brief account of him as it stands in a manuscript in the Ambrosian library in Milan. ‘Lo Sordels si fo di Mantovana. Sordello was of Mantuan territory of Sirier (this would hardly seem to be Goito), son of a poor cavalier who had name Sier Escort (Browning’s El Corte), and he delighted himself in chançons, to learn and to make them. And he mingled with the good men of the court. And he learned all that he could and he made coblas and sirventes. And he came thence to the court of St. Bonifaci, and the Count honoured him much. And he fell in love with the wife of the Count, in the form of pleasure (a forma de solatz), and she with him. (The Palma of Browning’s poem and the Cunizza of Dante’s.) And it befell that the Count stood ill with her brothers. And thus he estranged himself from her and from Sier Sceillme and Sier Albrics. And thus her brothers caused her to be stolen from the Count by Sier Sordello and the latter came to stop with them. And he (Sordello) stayed a long time with them in great happiness, and then he went into Proensa where he received great honours for all the good men and from the Count and from the Countess who gave him a good castle and a wife of gentle birth.’ (Browning with perfect right alters this ending to suit his own purpose)” (LE 97).
See also: Sordello
Chabaneau, Camille. Biographies des troubadours en langue provençale. Toulouse: Privat, 1885. The Cantos Project: General Sources.
Pound, Ezra. "Troubadours - Their Sorts and Conditions." 1913. Literary Essays. New York: New Directions, 1968. 94-108.