LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCY (extrait) from: LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI
Alain Chartier tr. A.S.Kline
Naguaires, chevauchant, pensoie
Comme homme triste et douloreux,
Au dueil où il fault que je soie
Le plus dolent des amoureux
Puis que par son dard rigoureux,
La mort me tolly ma maîtresse
Et me laissa seul, langoureux
En la conduite de Tristesce.

Si disoie: "Il faut que je cesse
De dicter et de rimoyer,
Et que j'abandonne et delesse
Le rire pour le lermoyer.
La me fault le temps employer,
Car plus n'ay sentement ne aise,
Soit d'escrire, soit d'envoyer
Chose qu'à moy n'à autre plaise.

Qui voudroit mon vouloir contraindre
À joyeuses choses escrire,
Ma plume n'y sauroit attaindre,
Non feroit ma langue à les dire.
Je n'ay bouche qui puisse rire
Que les yeulx ne l'en desmentissent,
Car le cuer l'envoyroit desdire
Par les larmes qui des yeulx yssent.

Je laisse aux amoureux malades
Qui ont espoir d'alegement
Faire chançons, dis et ballades,
Chascun à son entendement.
Car ma dame en son testament
Prist, à la mort (Dieu en ait l'ame!)
Et emporta mon sentement
Qui gist o elle soubz la lame."

.....
.....
I rode past, thinking, recently,
Like one who’s sad and sorrowful,
Of that lament that renders me
Of all lovers the most mournful,
Since, with his dart so dreadful,
Death has stolen my mistress,
And left me lonely: left me dull,
In the sole charge of Sadness.

I said to myself: 'I should cease
Writing and rhyming, it appears,
Abandon laughter, and be pleased
To replace all this with tears.
And so I must employ my years,
Without heart or inclination
To pen a single thing, I fear,
That pleases me, or anyone.

If any would constrain my will
To write of happy things,
My pen would not possess the skill,
Nor my tongue the power to sing.
My lips could never part, in smiling,
Without a gaze that lips betrayed,
Since my heart would claim denial
Through the tears my cheeks displayed.

I leave it to the lover, who nurses
Hopes that his wound might heal,
To make ballads, songs and verses,
That each might his own skill reveal.
My lady, by her will, did steal
At her Death, God save her soul,
And carry away, my power to feel,
That lies with her beneath the stone.'

.....
.....

Trans. Copyright © A.S.Kline 2000


next
index
translator's next