BALADE (A Geffroy Chaucier) BALLADE (for Geoffrey Chaucer)
Eustache Deschamps tr. Brian Cole
O Socrates plains de philosophie,
Seneque en meurs et Anglux en pratique,
Ovides grans en ta poeterie,
Bries en parler, saiges en rethorique,
Aigles treshautz, qui par ta theorique
Enlumines le regne d'Enéas,
L'Isle aux Geans, ceuls de Bruth, et qui as
Semé les fleurs et planté le rosier,
Aux ignorans de la langue pandras,
Grant translateur, noble Geffroy Chaucier.

Tu es d'amours mondains Dieux en Albie:
Et de la Rose, en la terre Angelique,
Qui d'Angela saxonne, et puis flourie
Angleterre, d'elle ce nom s'applique
Le derrenier en l'ethimologique,
En bon anglès le livre translatas
Et un vergier ou du plant demandas
De seuls qui font pour eulx auctorisier,
A ja longtemps que tu edifias,
Grant translateur, noble Geffroy Chaucier.

A toy pour ce de la fontaine Helye
Requier avoir un buvraige autentique
Dont la doys est du tout en ta baillie,
Pour rafrener d'elle ma soif ethique,
Qui en Gaule seray paralitique
Jusques a ce que tu m'abuveras.
Eustaces sui, qui de mon plant aras:
Mais pran en gré les euvres d'escolier
Que par Clifford de moy avoir pourras,
Grant translateur, noble Geffroy Chaucier.

L'ENVOY
Poete hault, loenge destruye,
En ton jardin ne seroye qu'ortie:
Considere ce que j'ai dit premier,
Ton noble plant, ta douce mélodie.
Mais pour sçavoir, de rescripre te prie,
Grant translateur, noble Geffroy Chaucier.
O Socrates full of philosophy,
a Seneca in morals, Anglus in life,
as great as Ovid in your poetry,
concise in speaking, wise in rhetoric,
a lofty eagle, by your scholarship
you illumine for us Aeneas' realm,
the Isle of Giants, those of Brut - you have
sown the flowers and planted the lovely rose
for those who do not know the Pandras tongue,
great translator, noble Geoffrey Chaucer.

You are from worldly loves, you Gods in Albion,
and from the Rose, in the Angelic land
which, from the Saxon Angela, later flowered
into England, from her this name derives
by long process of etymology.
You translated the book into good English
and you asked only for a stalk or a leaf
from those who authorised you for this work.
It's many years that you have edified,
great translator, noble Geoffery Chaucer.

I ask you from the fount of Helicon
to let me savour an authentic drink,
for only you have power to grant this wish,
to assuage with it the need of my thirsting soul
because in Gaul I'll be quite paralysed
until you can deliver me that drink.
I am Eustace, you will enjoy my flowers:
but take to your heart the scholarly works
that you can have by Clifford and from me,
great translator, noble Geoffrey Chaucer.

ENVOI
Lofty poet, whom praise may destroy,
in your garden I'll be only nettles:
just consider what I said at first,
your noble flowers and your sweet melody.
But you should know, I pray you'll write to me,
great translator, noble Geoffry Chaucer.

Trans. Copyright © Brian Cole 2004


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