BÉTHUNE, CONON or Quesnes, DE (c. 1150–1224), French trouvère of Arras, was born about the middle of the 12th century. He came about 1180 to the court of France, where he met Marie de France, countess of Champagne. To this princess his love poems are dedicated, and much of his time was passed at her court where the trouvères were held in high honour. At the French court he met with some criticisms from Queen Alix, the widow of Louis VII., on the roughness of his verse and on his Picard dialect. To these criticisms, interesting as proof of the already preponderant influence of the dialect of the Île de France, the poet replied by some verses in the satirical vein that best suited his temperament. Some of his best songs were inspired by anger at the delays before the crusade of 1188–1192. His plain-speaking made him many enemies, and when he returned with the rest after the fruitless capture of Acre, these were not slow to take advantage of the opportunity for retaliation. Conon took part with Baldwin of Flanders in the crusade which resulted in 1204 in the capture of Constantinople, and he is said to have been the first to plant the crusaders’ standard on the walls of the city. He held high office in the new empire and died about 1224. His verses, of which the crusading song Ah! amors com dure departie is well known, are marked by a vigour and martial spirit which distinguish them from the work of other trouvères.
The completest edition of his works is in the Trouvères belges of Aug. Scheler (1876).