du "ROMAN DE LA ROSE" from "THE ROMANCE OF THE ROSE"
Guillaume de Lorristr. A.S.Kline
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Des roses i or grant monceaus,
Aussi beles n'avoit sous ceaus;
S'i or boutons petis et clos,
Et tels qui sont un peu plus gros;
Si en i a d'autre moison,
Qui se traient à lor saison
Et s'aprestent d'espaneïr:
Icil ne font pas à haïr;
Les roses ouvertes et lees
Sont en un jour toutes alees,
Mais li bouton durent toit frois
A tout le moins deus jours ou trois.
Icil bouton moult m'abelurent:
Onques si bel nul lieu ne crurent;
Qui en porroit un acrochier,
Il le devrait avoir mult chier;
Se chapel en peüsse avoir,
Je n'amasse tant nul avoir.

Entre ces boutons en eslui
Un si tres bel qu'envers celui
Nul des autres rien ne prisai,
Puis que je l'oi bien avisé,
Car une color l'enlumine
Qui est si vermeille et si fine
Com Nature la pot plus faire.
De feuilles i ot quatre paire,
Que Nature par grant maistire
I ot assises tire à tire;
La queue est droite comme jons,
Et par-dessus siet li boutons
Si qu'il ne cline ne se pent.
L'odor de lui entor s'espant:
La suatume qui en ist
Toute la place replenist.
Et quant jel senti si flairier,
Je n'oi talent de repairier,
Ainz m'aprochasse pour le prendre,
Se j'i osasse la main tendre;
Mais chardon agu et poignant
M'en aloient moult esloignant;
Espines trenchans et agues,
Orties et ronces crochues
Ne me laissoient avant traire,
Car je me cremoie mal faire.


Li Dieus d'Amour, qui, l'arc tendu,
Avoit tousjours moult entendu
A moi porsuivre et espier,
S'ert arestés ls un fier;
Et quant il ot aperceü
Que j'avoie ainsi esleü
Ce bouton qui plus me plaisoit
Que nuls des autres ne faisoit,
Il a tantost pris une floiche,
Et quant la corde fu en coiche,
Il entesa jusqu'à l'oreille
L'arc, qui estoit fors à merveille,
Et traist à moi par tel devise
Que par mi l'ueil m'a ou cuer mise
La saiete par grant roidor.

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There were roses massed on high,
The loveliest beneath the sky,
Little buds all tightly closed,
Others slightly larger though:
And some of a different size,
Almost ready for our eyes,
Ready to bloom in season,
Not to be scorned, for that reason:
Those that are opened wide
In a day have blown and died,
But the little buds stay quite fresh
For two or three days Id guess.
They seemed beautiful to me,
Never such sweetness did I see:
If a man could cull one there
He should treasure it with care:
If I could have a garland made,
No greater wealth would be displayed.

Among these buds there caught my eyes
One so beautiful, it was the prize
Among the others clustered there
When I stopped close by to stare,
Illuminated by such a hue
Of the deepest red and true
That Nature could conceive.
It had four pairs of leaves,
That Nature with great skill
Placed there tier on tier at will:
Straight as a reed its stalk set,
And above the little bud-let
Without drooping or bending
Its fragrance there lingering
The scent within it spread
All around my head,
When I smelt its perfume Id
No thought of stepping aside,
But would have stooped to cull it,
If my hand had dared to touch it:
But sharp stabbing thistles
Kept me far from its petals:
Fierce, spiny thorns, nettles
And curved grasping brambles,
Would not let me pass:
I feared to harm myself.

The God of Love with arching bow
Had been ever following though,
Intent on keeping his eye on me,
Hed stopped beside a little fig tree:
And when he perceived
That Id settled on it indeed,
That little bud that pleased me so
More than any other I know,
Quickly an arrow he caught,
And when the string was taut,
He drew it back to his ear
And fired it at me there,
With such skill from his bow,
That he struck me a mighty blow
Into the eye with such power
He lodged it in my heart that hour.

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Guillaume de Lorris wrote 1st. 4,000 lines of the Roman de la Rose & left it unfinished.
It was continued some 40yrs. later by Jean de Meung.

Trans. Copyright © A.S.Kline 2005


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