AUSI CONME UNICORNE SUI ... JUST LIKE THE UNICORN AM I ...
Thibaut de Champagne tr. Samuel N.Rosenberg
Ausi conme unicorne sui
Qui s'esbahit en regardant
Quant la pucele va mirant.
Tant est liee de son ennui,
Pasmee chiet en son giron;
Lors l'ocit on en traïson.
Et moi ont mort d'autel semblant
Amors et ma dame, por voir,
Mon cuer ont, n'en puis point ravoir.

Dame, quant je devant vos fui
Et je vos vi premierement,
Mes cuers aloit si tresaillant
Qu'il vos remest quant je m'en mui.
Lors fu menés sanz raençon
En la douce chartre en prison,
Dont li piler sont de talent
Et li huis sont de biais veoir
Et li anel de bon espoir.

De la chartre a la clef Amors,
Et si i a mis trois portiers:
Biau Semblant a non li premiers,
Et Biautez cens en fait seignors,
Dangier a mis a l'uis devant,
Un ort felon, vilain puant,
Qui mult est maus et pautoniers.
Cist troi sont et viste et hardi;
Mult ont tost un home saisi.

Qui porroit souffrir la tristors
Et les assaus de ces huissiers?
Onques Rollans ne Oliviers
Ne vainquirent si fors estocs;
Il vainquirent en conbatant,
Mais ceus vaint on humiliant.
Soufrirs en est gonfanoniers;
En cent estor dont je vos di,
N'a nul secors que de merci.

Dame, je ne dout mes riens plus
Fors tant que faille a vos amer.
Tant ai apris a endurer
Que je sui vostres tout par us;
Et se il vos en pesoit bien,
Ne m'en puis je partir por rien
Que je n'aie le remenbrer
Et que mes cuers ne soit adés
En la prison et de moi pres.

Dame, quant je ne sai guiler,
Merciz seroit de saison mes
De soustenir si grevain fes.
Just like the unicorn am I
Whom steady contemplation stuns,
As if the maiden's eyes were suns.
Elated and unnerved thereby,
He falls in a faint in her lap.
There he is slain, as in a trap.
In just that way am I undone
By Love and my lady, indeed:
They have nny heart; it can't be freed.

When, my lady, I first saw you,
Stood before you on that first day,
My heart went leaping up, away,
And stayed with you when I withdrew.
Then to a prison it was led,
Not struggling but with hope instead.
What made the walls was love, not clay;
The gates were eyes, with wondrous sight;
The bars were hope in place of might.

Love is in charge, Love holds the key
And has posted guards at the cell:
One place to Fair Attraction fell,
But Beauty is master- of three;
In front there stands that filthy knave,
Rejection, baser than a slave,
A creature barely out of hell.
All three are fast and all are bold;
You can't resist their stranglehold.

Who could endure the harsh attacks
And savage beatings of such guards?
Not Oliver, while fighting hard,
Nor Roland, faced such ruthless packs;
They beat their foes with greater force,
But in this case the only course
Is humbleness; all pride is barred
Where suffering's superior
And only mercy ends the war.

My lady, I fear nothing more
Than failing in my love for you.
Such pain have I endured, it's true,
That I've become now wholly yours.
Are you perhaps dismayed by this?
My feelings, though, can't be dismissed
Nor memory fade for something new.
My yearning heart will always be
Your captive, yet still close to me.

My lady, what I say is true:
Mercy's time has come for me -
My reward for tenacity.

Trans. Copyright © Samuel N. Rosenberg

First published "Metamorphoses" by Smith College, Northampton, Mass. U.S.A.



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