Jaufre Rudel was a 12th century troubadour and crusader. His reason for joining the Second Crusade was based on love, not war. After hearing stories of the legendary beauty of the Countess Hodierna of Tripoli, Jaufre joined the Crusade to see her. He wrote songs professing his love to Hodierna, although he never met her or even saw her.
Jaufre Rudel is credited with developing the theme of amor de lonh or Love From Afar.
Jaufre finally met his love and died from her beauty, or so the legend goes. Legend says that Jaufre was sick and brought ashore in Tripoli, Hodierna rushed to his side and seeing her beauty for the first time, Jaufre died in her arms. (Cue the 80’s music)
I wonder if he died on Valentine’s Day?
There lived a singer in France of old
By the tideless dolorous midland sea.
In a land of sand and ruin and gold
There shone one woman, and none but she.
And finding life for her love’s sake fail,
Being fain to see her, he bade set sail,
Touched land, and saw her as life grew cold,
And praised God, seeing; and so died he.
Died, praising God for his gift and grace:
For she bowed down to him weeping, and said
“Live”; and her tears were shed on his face
Or ever the life in his face was shed.
The sharp tears fell through her hair, and stung
Once, and her close lips touched him and clung
Once, and grew one with his lips for a space;
And so drew back, and the man was dead.
~ The Triumph of Time by Algernon Charles Swinburne