E BO ...
GOOD ...
Guiraut de Bornelhtrans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Un sonet fatz malvatz e bo,
e re no sai de qual razo
ni de cui ni quom ni per que,
ni re no sai don mi sove,
e farai lo, pus no·l sai far,
e chan lo qui no·l sap chantar.

Mal ai qu'anc hom plus sas no fo,
e teyng avol home per pro,
e do assatz, quan no ai re,
e vuelh mal celui qui·m vol be;
tan sui fis amix ses amar
c'ancse·m pert qui·m vol gazanhar.

Ab seluy vau qui no·m somo,
e quier li, quan non a que·m do;
per benestar suy ab Gaufre,
qu'aissi sai far so que·m cove,
qu'ie·m leu quan mi degra colgar
e chant d'aquo don dei plorar.

Detorn mi vai e deviro
foudatz, que mais sai de Cato;
devas la coa·l vir lo fre,
s'autre plus fols no m'en rete,
qu'aital sen m'i fis ensenhar
al prim, qu'ara·m fai foleiar.

Drutz ai estat una sazo
senes enian ab traizo,
ab orguel ai clamat merce
a l'autrui ops si cum per me,
qu'estra mon grat cuit acabar
e quier so que no vuelh trobar.

Domna sai, a no vuelh gue·m so,
ni, si·m fai mal, que lo·m perdo,
si·m volia colgar ab se,
a pauc no vos iur per ma fe
que pro m'en faria preiar
(mas non deu hom trop soanar).

Qui·m fezes ben, en guiardo
ieu sai ben trobar ochaiso
per que·l servizis se recre.
Mas so d'aquels derrers s'emple
per malvestat cuio·m levar
e mai valer per sordeiar.

No sai de que m'ai fag chanso
ni cum, s'autre no m'o despo;
qu'aitals foudatz-sabers m'ave,
re no conosc que·m aperte:
cela m'a fag oltracuidar
que no·m vol amic apellar.

Eu cug chauzidamen parler
e dic so que·m fai agachar.

Elha·m pot e mon sen tornar,
si·m denhava tener en car.

Si·m volques amic apellar,
enquers pogra mon sen cobrar.

I'll make a song of bad and good
but I've not known nor understood;
not who, nor how, nor what, nor why,
and mem'ry fails to verify:
I'll make it, knowing not a thing,
and sing it - as I cannot sing.

A curse on him who does no more
and thinks a wastrel fills the score;
I give a lot, have not a thing -
to wish me good is ill to bring:
while I don't love, I stay a friend -
who'd win me loses in the end.

I go to her who doesn't call
and want her who has naught at all;
and Jeff and I are best of friends -
we go as far as suits my ends:
for I get dressed to go to sleep
and sing of what should make me weep.

Around I come and 'round I go
but even Cato knew no mo';
beneath the tail, I'll turn the cool
if not ensnared by greater fools:
just such a sense has made me teach
the one who gives me stupid speech.

I was a lover for a while
by treason, never yet by guile;
I begged for mercy out of pride
for everyone who's on my side:
without an end of welcome binds
I seek what I don't want to find.

My lady, I won't be that way,
nor am I lost if I'm astray;
I wanted to lie down unscathed
and almost failed to swear 'in faith'
: that makes me pray for me and such,
but no one ought to scorn too much.

I find occasions that afford
a way to give me good rewards;
whereby a service is instilled,
but only if the last is filled:
I'm lifted up by any curse
and it's much better when it's worse.

I don't know what I'll sing about,
or how, unless I'm straightened out;
my foolish wisdom, as you see
tells nothing that pertains to me:
this makes my haughtiness extend
to any who won't call me friend.

I wanted to speak cleverly
and say you must watch out for me.

She'd change my mind and interfere
if she would deign to hold me dear.

If you would like to call me friend
you'll have to catch on in the end.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2003

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