du "ROMAN DE LA ROSE"
- ll.1-102
from "THE ROMANCE OF THE
ROSE"
Guillaume de Lorristr. Brian Cole
Maintes gens dient que en songes
N'a se fables non et mençonges;
Mes l'en puet tex songes songier
Qui ne sont mie mençongier,
Ains sont après apparissant,
Si en puis bien traire a garant
Un actor qui ot non Marcobes,
Qui ne tint pas songes a lobes,
Ainçois escrist la vision
Qui avint au roi Cypion.
Quicunques cuide ne qui die
Que soit folece ou musardie
De croire que songes aviegne,
Qui ce vodra, por fol me tiegne,
Car endroit moi ai je creance
Que songes soit signifiance
Des biens as gens et des anuis;
Car li plusor songent de nuis
Maintes choses couvertement
Qu'il voient puis apertement.

Ou vintieme an de mon aage
Ou point qu'Amors prent le paage
Des jones gens, couichez estoie
Une nuit si cum je souloie,
Et me dormoie mout forment;
Lor vi un songe en mon dorment
Qui mout fu biaus et mout me plot;
Mes onques riens ou songe n'ot
Qui avenu tretout ne soit
Si cum li songes recontoit.
Or veil mon songe rimoier
Por vos cuers fere miex esgaier,
Qu'Amors le me prie et commande.
Et se nus ne nulle demande
Comment je veil que cis romans
Soit appellés, que je commans,
Que c'est li Romans de la Rose,
Ou l'art d'Amors est toute enclose.
La matire en est bele et noive;
Or doint Diex qu'en gré le reçoive
Cele por qui je l'ai empris:
C'est cele qui tant a de pris
Et tant est digne d'estre amee
Qu'el doit estre rose clamee.

Avis m'estoit qu'il estoit maiz,
Il a ja bien cinq ans ou maiz;
En may estions, si songoie
Ou temps amorous plain de joie,
Ou temps ou toute riens s'esgaie,
Que l'en ne voit boisson ne haie
Qui en may parer ne se vueille
Et couvrir de novelle fueille.
Li bois recovrent for verdure,
Qui sont sec tant cum yver dure;
La terre me´smes s'orgueille
Por la rosee qui la mueille,
Et oblie la povreté
Ou elle a tout l'yver esté.
Lors devient la terre si gobe
Que veut avoir novele robe;
Si fait si cointe robe faire
Que de colors y a cent paire;
D'erbes, de flors indes et perses
Et de maintes colors diverses,
C'est la robe que je devise
Por quoi la terre tant se prise.
Li oisiau, qui se sont teü
Tant cum il ont le froit eü
Et le fors temps d'iver frarin,
Sont en may por le temps serin
Si lié qu'il mostrent en chantant
Qu'en for cuer a de joie tant
Qu'il lor estuet chanter par force.
Li rossignos lores s'esforce
De chanter et de faire noise;
Lors se resqueut, lors se renvoise
Li papegauz et la calandre;
Lors estuet jones gens entendre
A estre gais et amoreus
Por le temps bel et doucereus.
Mout a dur cuer qui en may n'aime
Quant il of chanter sus la raime
As oisiaus les dous chans piteus.
En yceli temps deliteus,
Que toute riens d'amer s'effroie,
Sonjai une nuit que j'estoie.
Lors m'iere avis en mon dorment
Qu'il estoit matin durement.
De mon lit tantost me levai,
Chauçai moi et mes mains lavai.
Lors trais une aguille d'argent
D'un aiguiller mignot et gent;
Si pris l'aguille a enfiler.
Hors de vile oi talent d'aler
Por ˘ir des oisiaus les sons,
Qui chantoient par ces boissons
En icele saison novele.
Cousant mes manches a vizele
M'en alai touz seus esbatant,
Et les oiselés escoutant
Qui de chanter mout s'angoissoient
Par lé vergiers qui floroissoient.
............
............

People say that when we dream
they're lying tales, not what they seem;
but then sometimes we may recall
a dream that tells no lies at all
and is confirmed by reality.
I can quote as guarantee
an author called Marcobes, who
did not consider dreams untrue,
and wrote about a vision once
King Cypion had experienced.
Those who think and even say
it's mad or stupid in some way
to think a dream could come to pass
can if they wish think me an ass!
However I am quite convinced
that dreams have fortune-telling sense
and tell what comes, for good or ill;
for many people's dreams are filled
with a host of things in dim half-light
that later they see clear and bright.

When my twentieth year had come,
the time with love calls on the young
to pay their tribute, I was abed
one night, and sleeping like the dead,
and in that state of trance so deep
I had a dream while I was asleep,
most fair, that gave me great delight
and every detail from that night
came true and in reality
happened exactly so to me.
And now my dream I will impart
in verse, to fill with joy your hearts,
for Love wills and commands this task.
And if a man or lady ask
the title I shall give this lay
that I'm just starting, I shall say
it is the 'Romance of the Rose'
where all the art of love's disclosed.
I shall tell beauteous things and new;
and may God grant it be well viewed
by her for whom I pen this verse.
For she's a lady of such worth
deserving of a love so famed
that 'Rose' should be her proper name.

I thought that May was at the door
five years ago, or even more.
Yes, it was May, and I would dream
of days of loving joy; it seemed
that all of Nature was so gay
and every bush and hedge in May
you see will decorate itself,
of new-born leaves take on a wealth.
The woods, all winter long so dry,
are now bedecked with greenery;
the Earth is full of pride, and new
in its fresh coat of moistening dew,
and can forget the poverty
it suffered in long winter's fee.
Then the Earth in all its pride
wants a new dress, like a bride,
and has one made that is so gay
with full two hundred different shades;
of grasses, flowers, violet and blue,
and many other colours too;
that is the dress that I describe
which fills the Earth with swelling pride.
The birds that all fell silent when
they felt the cold attack them, then
suffered from harsh winter's frost,
now in May their cares have lost.
They are so gay they have to sing
to show their hearts are full of Spring
that forces them to loudest song.
The nightingale then joins the throng
and vies with wondrous tunes; and hark!
the vivid parrot and the lark
awake and join the happy throng.
Young people then should follow on,
devote themselves to love's gay beat,
because the Spring is warm and sweet.
A hard heart does not love in May
when it hears the birds' sweet lay
so moving in the branches green
One night I had a wondrous dream:
it was this month of joys untold,
when Love makes every creature bold.
I felt somehow not yet awake,
that morning was already late.
I quickly jumped up from my bed,
washed and dressed, and ate my bread.
I took a needle from its place
in a splendid sewing-case
and threaded it with greatest care.
I planned to leave the town, go where
the happy sounds of birds would ring
in fresh green bushes where they sing
in this new season all about.
I sewed my ruffs to flounce them out
and set off all alone that day
listening to the birds so gay
who called on all their strength to sing
in flowering verge and on the wing.
................
................


Trans. Copyright © Brian Cole 2003


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