La nobla leyczon
La nobla leyczon (Occitan pronunciation: [la ˈnɔbːlɔ lejˈsu], La nòbla leiçon in modern Occitan, "The Noble Lesson") is an anonymous text written in Old Occitan. It is the founding document of the Waldensian creed. Its sixth line, ben ha mil & cent an complí entierament (already eleven hundred years have run their course [since Christ died]), places it in the early 12th century but modern scholars now date it between 1190 and 1240. However, the very same line varies according to which of the four manuscripts is studied: the Geneva and Dublin ones say mil e cen (1100) while the Cambridge ones both state mil e cccc cent (1400). Further discrepancies include various anachronisms and the fact that Old Occitan was not spoken in the Lyon region. The manuscript was found in the Piedmontese valleys.
The 479 lines of the poem can be divided into seven parts according to the themes treated : 1-56 deal with the end of the world; 57-229 retrace the history of the Bible; 230-265 tell of the new law; 266-333 narrate Jesus's life and works; 334-360 praise the faithful Christian Church; 361-413 relate the persecutions and the corrupted lives of papists and 414-479 explain what true repentance is.
AYCÍ COMENCZA LA NOBLA LEYCZON
O frayre, entendé ma nobla leyczon:
O Brethren, give ear to a noble Lesson,
- The most important of the Waldensian literature is a poem in Provençal, La Nobla Leyczon, but it is not entirely original, having been edited.
- Bosio, Enrico: La Nobla Leyczon considérée au point de vue de la doctrine, de la morale et de l'histoire, Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire Vaudoise, n° 2 (dic. 1885), pp. 20-36.
- Édouard Montet, La noble leçon, texte original d'après le manuscrit de Cambridge, 1888, p. 4.
- Judith Collins, Heritage of the Waldensians: a Sketch, WRS Journal 3:2 (August 1996) 9-15, p.2: This pre-dates Peter of Lyons, who with his followers, were chased from Lyons about 1186, when they joined the valley dwellers, the Valdese. [...] The Lesson mentions the Vaudois (Valdense) as being already persecuted and as having already a well-known history. The idiom of the Nobla Leyczon is that of the valleys, the Romance language, and not that of the idiom of Lyons, a French dialect, which it would have been if Peter (Valdo) and his Poor Men had authored it.
- Ralph Griffiths & George Edward Griffiths, The Monthly Review, 1825, p. 259