Giraut was born to a lower-class family in the Limousin, probably in Bourney, near Excideuil in modern-day France.
Guiraut might have accompanied Richard I of England and Aimar V of Limoges on the Third Crusade and stayed a while with the "good prince of Antioch", Bohemond III. He certainly made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but perhaps before the Crusade.
About ninety of Giraut's poems and four of his melodies survive; these were held in high esteem in the 13th century: Petrarch called him "master of the troubadours", while Dante, who preferred Arnaut Daniel, mentions that many considered him superior.
Notable pieces include:
- S'anc jorn aqui joi e solaz, a planh about the death of Raimbaut d'Aurenga.
- Ara·m platz, Giraut de Borneill, a tenso with Raimbaut d'Aurenga discussing trobar clus versus trobar leu.
- Be me plairia, senh'en reis, a tenso with king Alfons II of Aragon Giraut contributes to the poetical debate as to whether a lady is dishonoured by taking a lover who is richer than herself. This debate was begun by Guilhem de Saint-Leidier, taken up by Azalais de Porcairagues and Raimbaut d'Aurenga, and continued in a partimen between Dalfi d'Alvernha and Perdigon.
- Reis glorios (glorious king), a well-known alba
Sharman, Ruth V. (1989). The Cansos and Sirventes of the Troubadour Giraut de Borneil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. .
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