Contrast Imagery in the Poems
of Friedrich von Hausen
FRIEDRICH VON HAUSEN belongs to that group of German poets who, so far as extant work allows us to judge, were the first to be influenced deeply by the lyrics of the langue d'oïl and through them by the Provençal troubadours. The account of his death at Philomelium in 1190 makes it clear that he was a well-known and respected nobleman, far more famous as a soldier than as a poet. It is a reasonable assumption that he was an amateur in both senses of the word, a man who wrote poetry because he liked it, with no thought of establishing a professional reputation or of pleasing a patron. Such a poet would be likely to show two characteristics: he would work within the form and framework of imagery already established by the professional poets in the Romance languages but would express his personal feelings more directly. More accurately, perhaps, he would allow his personal feelings to show more obviously than the form of the canzon would normally allow.
If we assume that most of his work was written in the decade 1180- 1190, a fair assumption in view of the fact that he is extraordinarily fond of crusading motifs, he would have been able to use as models the earlier masters of the canzon in Provençal but not those whose work becomes highly complex and obscure, in other words, Bernart de Ventadorn and Folquet de Marsile but not Arnaut Daniel and Peire Cardenal. We can be reasonably sure that he knew several of the poets of the langue d'oïl, particularly Conon de Bethune, since there are echoes of their work in his verse. But we must ask one important question: in what does their influence consist? Certainly not in the verse forms. Friedrich's verse forms