Born in France in 1201, Thibaut IV was the Count of Champagne and King of Navarre. The countship was inherited from his father, but he had to defend it twice - first against his uncle, Count of Brienne in 1221 and later against his aunt, Alice, Queen of Cyprus. In 1234 he succeeded his childless uncle Sancho VII as King of Navarre.
In 1239 Thibaut was the leader of the Christian crusade organized by Gregory IX, after sueveral unsuccessful battles he composed four Crusade Songs in order to arouse some fighting spirit. As well as this, he was a prolific poet and is regarded as one of the greatest lyrical poets of his generation. The Catholic Encyclopedia describe his style like this: "His rhythm are most harmonious, his combinations of metres show a real skill, while his expressions are full of refinement and true sentiment." Sixty six of his poems were published in the collection Poésies du Roi de Navarre in 1742.
Little is known of Thibaut's life after he returned from the crusade in Palestine. It is thought that he died on 8th July 1253, although it is unknown where.
Lady, the fates command, and I must go,---
Leaving the pleasant land so dear to me:
Here my heart suffered many a heavy woe:
But what is left to love, thus leaving thee?
The other day I went wandering
Without any companion
On my palfrey, thinking
To make a song,
I can’t prevent myself from singing,
And yet I’m full of grief and sadness,
Though joy is always a lovely thing,
Love I have served, for such length of time
If I forsake Him no man should blame me,
Now I go, and commend him to God in rhyme,