DIU MINNE LÂT SICH NENNEN DÂ ... LOVE LETS ITS NAME BE SAID ...
Walter von der Vogelweide trans. Tim Chilcott

diu minne lât sich nennen dâ
dar sî doch niemer komen wil
si ist den tôren in dem munde zam
und in dem herzen wilde
nû hüetet ir iuch reinen wîp
vor kinden bergent iuwer jâ
sône wirt ez niht ein kindes spil
minne und kintkeit sint ein ander gram
vil dicke in schoenem bilde
siht man leider valschen lîp
ir sult ê spehen war umbe wie wenne unde wâ rehte
.............................................................unde weme
ir iuwer minneklîchez jâ sô teilet mite daz ez gezeme
sich minne sich swer alsô spehe der sî dîn kint
sô man sô wîp die andern dû vertrîp.

Love lets its name be said
where it itself would never come:
as from the mouths of fools
whose hearts know no control.
So noble women, take great care.
Hide your ‘yes’ from those who’re boys,
so it is no children’s game.
Sworn enemies are love and childishness.
How often in a handsome face
one wrongly sees the person there.
You first must study why and how, when and where, and
...........................................................specially on whom
you give your loving ‘yes’, so it is fitting there, in harmony.
See, Love, see who studies so. Choose that one as your child -
that man, that woman. Drive out all the rest.

This warning against precipitous love, especially between those of different ages or social background, may have been occasioned
by the marriage between Heinrich VII and Margaretha von Battenberg of Austria in 1225. He was only thirteen; she was in her twenties.
Their marriage was not happy. Walther’s lines were probably composed during that year, or shortly thereafter.

Trans. Copyright © Tim Chilcott 2009

See also: http://www.tclt.org.uk



next
index
translator's next