VOULEZ VOUS QUE JE VOUS CHANT ... WOULD IT PLEASE YOU THEN IF I ...
Anon. (12. or 13c.) tr. A.S.Kline
Voulez vous que je vous chant
Un son d'amours avenant?
Vilain nel fist mie,
Ainz le fist un chevalier
Sous l'ombre d'un olivier
Entre les bras s'amie.

Chemisete avoit de lin
Et blanc peliçon hermin
Et bliaut de soie;
Chauces ot de jaglolai
Et solers de flours de mai.
Estroitement chauçade.

Ceinturete avoit de feuille
Qui verdist quant li tens meuille,
D'or est boutonade.
L'aumosníere estoit d'amour,
Li pendant furent de flour:
Par amours fu donade,

Et chevauchoit une mule;
D'argent ert la ferreüre
La sele ert dorade;
Sus la croupe par derriers
Avoit planté trois rosiers
Pour faire li ombrage.

Si s'en va aval la pree.
Chevaliers l'ont encontree,
Beau l'ont saluade:
"Belle, dont estes vous nee?"
"De France sui la loee,
Du plus haut parage.

"Li rossignol est mon pere,
Qui chante sor la ramee
El plus haut boscage.
La seraine elle est ma mere,
Qui chante en la mer salee,
El plus haut rivage."

"Belle, bon fussiez vous nee!
Bien estes emparentee
Et de haut parage.
Pleüst à Dieu nostre pere
Que vous me fussiez donee
A femme esposade."
Would it please you then if I
Sang to you a pleasant rhyme?
With no vile maker,
It was made by a gentle knight
Under the shade of an olive bright,
In the arms of his lover.

Her petticoat was linen
Her tunic of white ermine
And her gown of silk:
Stockings made of iris blades,
Shoes of flowers of the may
Fitting her feet closely.

She'd a little belt of leaves
That when it rained grew green,
Buckles all golden.
Her purse was fashioned of amour,
With pendants of hanging flowers:
As a lovers' token.

And she travelled on a mule,
All silver were its shoes,
It's saddle was of gold:
Behind her as she sat at ease,
Were planted three rose-trees
To give her shade also.

Through the meadow as she rides
She meets there with gentle knights,
And they sweetly say:
'Lady, where were you born?'
'From France it is I come,
Of high family.

My father's the nightingale,
Who sings on the branch all day,
Of the highest wood.
My mother is the mermaid,
Who sings in the salt wave,
Of the deepest flood.'

'Good fortune, lovely lady!
You come of fine stock I see
Of high family.
I would that God our Father,
As a bride in marriage,
Might grant you to me.'

Trans. Copyright © A.S.Kline 2005


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