BREU VERS PER TAL QUE MEINS
I POING ...
A BRIEF VERSE THAT WILL MEAN
LESS WORK ...
Gausbert Amiel trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Breu vers per tal que meins i poing
Fatz e que sia ben apres,
Q'ieu sui trobaire, mas non ges
De celz rics qe·is fant auzir loing,
E s'anava mos chans tro lai
Don la razons ven a mi sai,
Ja non volria plus anes.

De trop ric amor non ai soing,
Sol de mon paratge n'agues,
Qe·l poders ni·l semblans non es
En mi ni fui faitz de tal coing
D'enquerre ric joi ni s'eschai
Ni devenir, que ben o sai
No·m poiria qan be·i poignes.

Mais dei doncs amar e mon poing
Un bel auzellet q'ieu tengues
C'al cel doas gruas o tres,
Per q'ieu non prec ni non somoing
D'amar dompna s'a far non fai;
Jal fol cabrier non semblerai
Qu'enquis qe·il reina l'ames.

Las ricas c'una non caloing
Lais als rics donadors cortes,
C'una basseta m'a conques
Tal que de Paris tro al Groing
Genseer non es ni meills noill vai
A nuilla de fin pretz verai
Ab lo poder qu·ill ten en pes.

Ad aquesta soplei e joing
Mas mans per referre merces,
Que la benananssa on m'a mes
Mi val mais e ges no·m vergoing
Si trop rica dompna non ai,
Que·l sens e la beutatz l'estai
Tan aut que paucas li son pres.

E
De ma ricor, ni meins ni mai,
Am e conosc que mieills m'estai
Que si trop autamen ames.
A brief verse that will mean less work,
a fact that should be noted well:
I am a troubadour, but not
a rich man to be heard at length,
and if my song runs on too long
the reason for it comes to me:
I would not wish to go beyond.

For too rich love, I've not a care,
it's not concerning my estate,
nor power nor appearances
with me, nor was I made of such
as to seek rich joy or to try
or to become, for well I know
I won't decay while I work well.

But I should then love and incite
a pretty little bird I have,
for in the sky two cranes or three ...
but I don't plead or summon them.
To love a lady who won't suit
would make me like the mad goatherd
who sought to have the queen love him.

I don't aspire to have rich girls,
I leave them to rich courtiers,
because a lowlier one's won me:
you'll find no better, gentler one
from Paris to Logrono now,
and you'll see none of finer worth
with power, such as hers, in thought.

This one I supplicate, and join
my hands to beg for mercy now,
for this well-doing where I am
is worth much more and there's no shame
if I've a lady who's not rich
but is in sense and beauty, so
high that few are close to her.

E
My richness, neither less nor more,
I like and know are more for me
than if I loved one who's too rich.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2005


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