Some of you may have noticed that BLL include a poem by a mysterious poet named Jehan l'Ascuiz at the beginning of most of their books.
They never identify who he is. (He's also in the HBHG dedications
which would seem to suggest he's alive in the 20th century; seems odd since elsewhere they identify him as a long-dead 15th century Occitan poet.)
Paul Smith has a letter apparently written from Henry Lincoln to Douglas Carpenter. With attachments.
Very strange (aside from once again there's no explanation why he currently has the letter) ... Lincoln claims they found "Ascuiz" work in the "hand" of Antoine Bigou, as an annotation to another book on French history. You tell me if the lettering here looks familiar.
The author of the text this was "annotated" to was
This is the poem that begins HBHG (with translation). Notice it's (supposedly) above.
Le jour du mi-ete tranquille
Brule au centre de l'estoile,
Ou miriotee la mare dedans
Son couer dore Nymphaea montre clair.
Nostres dames adorees
Dans l'heure fleurie
Dissoudent les ombres tenebreuses du temps.
The calm midsummer day
burns in the center of the star
where shimmering within the pond
her golden Nymphaea's heart shows clearly
our adored lady
within the dawning hour
dissolving the obscure shadows of time.
You'll notice a Jehan l'Ascuiz poem begins every book that Richard Leigh wrote with the other two; even some he collaborated on with Baigent only; but not in any solo books by Baigent or Lincoln.
Leigh seems to have been the "Ascuiz" enthusiast; this seems to lead many to think that he (who was also a poet) WAS "Ascuiz" (pseudo). That's certainly the opinion offered above.
Now, there seems to be someone claiming Jehan l'Ascuiz was quite real and definitely was an Occitan poet living in the 15th century. Not only that, but he was a companion of Joan of Arc, and apparently also the "Norman Leslie" of a Monk of Fife.
According to everything we've been led to believe, Jehan, as his name suggests, was Occitan and was born in the Languedoc, near the actual town of Sigean and then brought to Scotland. . .
It appears that he was born in poverty and that his father died in his youth, but that his mother, for whom he wrote one of his most famous ballades, was still living when her son was thirty years old.
He was brought up in the Cistercian community of The Fontfroide Abbey in the heart of the Corbières by the Chanoine Jehan Nouvel, his « plus que père dont il prendroit le prénom en hommage ».
The name "Ascuiz" was stated by the sixteenth-century historian Claude Fauchet to be merely a common noun in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
"Professor Hugh Payne, son of John Payne (1842 - 1916) the english poet and translator of the Villon Society, Professor of Medieval French Literature at Rutgers University in New Jersey confirmed us before his retirement in 2004 that Jehan’s poetry was originally written in Occitan, or Langue d'Oc
(So I guess it's not a pun on Hugh de Payns after all.)
But the poems we have are believed to be 17th century French translations from the original Occitan - Certain rumours, admittedly unconfirmed, suggest they may have been perpetrated by the young Racine.
Jehan's talent and genius can be found according to Professor Hugh Payne in the fact that “he synthesised the troubadour or trouveur forms of some two centuries before - The trobar clus, trobar clar and trobar ric - baked them together into a hitherto unprecedented poetic soufflé…. "
Jehan was a great innovator in terms of the themes of poetry and, through these themes, a great renovator of the forms. He understood perfectly the medieval courtly ideal, but he sometimes chose to write against the grain, reversing the values and celebrating the lowlifes, and constantly innovating in his diction and vocabulary.
It is our belief according to our researches that Norman Leslie of Pitcullo – and Jehan L’Ascuiz are the same person
Jehan (alias Norman Leslie) refers more than once to his unfinished Latin Chronicle - That work, usually known as "The Book of Pluscarden," has been edited by Felix Skene, in the series of "Historians of Scotland".
Norman Leslie is the autobiographical narrator of the book Monk of Fife
, written by Scottish author Andrew Lang. However, most people believe the character ("Norman Leslie"), who is supposed to be one of Joan of Arc's companions, is a fictional invention!
Andrew Lang was a Scottish folklorist and anthropologist who lived from 1844 to 1912.
and A Monk of Fife (1896) is a fictitious
narrative purporting to be written by a young Scot in France in 1429-1431.
Or is it? The author of this website seems to be indicating Lang's "Norman Leslie of Pitcullo" was not an invented character for a historical romance but the real "Jehan l'Ascuiz"! A Scot who dabbled in Occitan troubadour poetry?
The creators of this website call themselves "The Auld Alliance".
The Auld Alliance (French: Vieille Alliance, Norwegian: auld-alliansen) refers to a series of treaties, offensive and defensive in nature, between Scotland and France (until 1326 also Norway), aimed specifically against England. The first such agreement was signed in Paris on 23 October 1295 – subsequently ratified at Dunfermline the following February – during the reign of John Balliol and Philip the Fair. It was renewed on several subsequent occasions, and affected Franco-Scottish (and English) affairs until the Treaty of Edinburgh in 1560.