from "PARZIVAL" - ll.1-14 from "PARSIFAL" - (2)
Wolfram von Eschenbach trans. Peter H. Cole


Ist zwîvel herzen nâchgebûr,
daz muoz der sêle werden sûr.
gesmæhet unde gezieret
ist, swâ sich parrieret
unverzaget mannes muot,
als agelstern varwe tuot.
der mac dennoch wesen geil:
wande an im sint beidiu teil,
des himels und der helle.
der unstæte geselle
hât die swarzen varwe gar,
und wirt ouch nâch der vinster var:
sô habet sich an die blanken
der mit stæten gedanken.
as a Shakespearean sonnet

All hearts that doubt at times may inward turn,
and burdened with a crushing bitterness,
in shameful grief and deep despair may burn
to see themselves so clad in fearfulness.
But dauntless men of courage surely know
that, strong in heart, there is a healing balm
to soothe the troubled spirit bowed with woe,
and faith will temper fear with gentle calm.
Despairing men and all the weak of heart
see only hopeless darkness, deepest black,
and wallow in their misery apart -
forsaken and alone with no way back.
So has it ever been for those who lack
a measured balance of the white with black.

Click here 3 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Peter H. Cole 2004


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