BALLADE BALLADE
Eustache Deschamps tr. A.S.Kline
Se tout le ciel estoit de feuilles d'or,
Et li airs fast estellés d'argent fin,
Et tous les vens fussent pleins de tresor,
Et les gouttes fussent toutes florin
D'eaue de mer, et pleust soir et matin
Richesses, biens, honeurs, joiaux, argent,
Tant que rempli en fust toute la gent,
La terre aussi en fust mouillee toute.
Et fusse nu, - de tel pluie et tel vent
Ja sur mon cors n'en cherroit une goutte.

Et qui pis est, vous puis bien dire encor
Que qui dorroit trestout l'avoir du Rin,
Et fusse là, - vaillant un harenc sor
N'en vendroit pas vers moi vif un frelin;
Onques ne fui de nul donneur afin;
Riens me defaut, tout mal me vient souvent;
Se j'ai mestier de rien, on le me vent
Plus qu'il ne vaut, de ce ne faites doute.
Se beneurté plouvoit du firmamennt,
Ja sur mon cors n'en cherroit une goutte.




Princes, deux poins font ou riche ou meschant:
Eur et meseur; l'un aime et l'autre doute;
Car, s'il pouoit plouvoir mondainement,
Ja sur mon cors n'en cherroit une goutte.



If the whole sky were made of beaten gold,
And the air was starred with purest silver,
And every wind did plenteous treasure hold,
And every drop of the brimming oceanís water
Were a florin: and night and day were to pour
Down riches, honours, jewels, goods, and money,
Till the showers had satisfied everybody,
And earth was drenched as far as you could see,
And I stood naked in the rain and flurry,
Never a drop of it would fall on me.

And whatís worse, I think you should be told,
If they gave away the Rhinelandís treasure,
And I was there, Iíd see not even an old
Dried herring, a farthing for my pleasure:
No giver and I have ever got together:
Trouble seeks me out, goods always flee,
Whatever I need itís always sold to me,
For more than itís worth, best believe me.
If good fortune rained on the ground beneath,
Never a drop of it would fall on me.

Whatever I lose never regains the fold:
Whatever I ask will get short measure:
If I do good then itís always undersold
As ill: always Iím poor Martin for sure,
With his nag, and the hood and gown he wore,
Dry bread and tears his destiny,
Wearing his days out miserably,
In all his life none poorer than he.
If it rained mulled ale, why, like him, you see,
Never a drop of it would fall on me.

Trans. Copyright© A.S.Kline 2005


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