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 Petrarchan sonnet

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

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Peter H. Cole 2004

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