AISSI CUM SELH QUE BAISSA·L
FUELH ...
JUST AS THE ONE WHO BENDS
THE BOUGH ...
Guilhem de Cabestany trans. James H. Donalson
(from Provençal)
Aissi cum selh que baissa·l fuelh
E pren de las flors la gensor,
Ai eu chauzit en un aut bruelh
Sobre totas la belhazor,
Quelh eys Dieus, senes falhida,
La fetz de sa eyssa beutat
E mandet qu'ab humilitat
Fos sa grans valors grazida.

Ab dous esguart siey cortes huelh
M'an fait guai e fin anador,
Et anc l'amors per qu'ieu me muelh
Ab l'aigua del cor ma color.
No fon per mi espandida;
Mas era·m fai chantar de grat
De tal don an naint cundeyat,
Q'us no la tenc desvestida.

Non dic fenchas ni laus, cum suelh,
Mas ver, on me son mil auctor,
Q'usquecx dezira so qu'ieu vuelh,
Qu'als plus guais es lansa d'amor
Que fer al cor ses guandida
Ab plazers plazens d'amistat;
Mas ieu ai·l colp assaborat:
Qu'on plus duerm mielhs me ressida.

Chauzimen fara si m'acuelh
E merce contra sa ricor,
Qu'ieu li mostre·l mal de que·m duelh
E que m'aleuge ma dolor.
Qu'es dins mon cor espandida:
Amor e Cossirer m'a dat,
Que del mielhs m'a enamorat
Qu'es del Pueg tro en Lerida.

Sos rics pretz es en l'aut capduelh
De mi dons c'om ten per gensor
Qu'el mon se viesta ni·s despuelh:
Gen la saup far Dieus ad honor,
Qu'aissi es pe·ls pros chauzida,
Lai on mostra sa gran beutat
E son fin pretz tan esmerat
Qu'a las pros n'estai guarnida.

Tant es genta e de belh escuelh
Qu'enveya·m tol d'autra s'amor,
Qu'ab ensenhamen, ses jangluelh,
L'es dada beutatz ab valor,
Cortezia non oblida;
Q'us de corteza voluntat
La fai ses ginh d'enemistat
Guardar e d'autra esbrugida.
Just as the one who bends the bough
and picks the sweetest flowers of all
now from the highest in the groves,
I've culled the prettiest flower of all:
One God himself has made for me,
and faultless, of his own beauty,
and ordered the great worth in her
to be graced by humility.

By her sweet glance, her courtly eyes,
she's made a lover out of me.
Never has love, because of which
water of my heart now wets my face.
I never spread the word on this,
but now I'll freely speak of her,
whom many men have thought about -
but none has had her yet unclothed.

I won't say usual flatteries
but truth, with thousand witnesses;
and they desire what I too wish:
the lance of love for men of joy
to wound the unprotected heart
with friendship's pleasing pleasantness
but it's a blow that I've enjoyed,
awaking me from deepest sleep.

And if, despite her excellence,
she pities me and takes me in
so I can tell how much I hurt
and how she aggravates my pain
by spreading it throughout my heart.
She's given love and sadness too,
for I have loved the best you'll find
clear from Le Puy to Lérida.

Her rich worth's of the highest sort;
my lady's noblest, all agree,
of any, clothed or yet undressed:
God gave her beauty, honor too;
for she is chosen by the best,
Wherever she displays her looks
and fine and cultivated worth
adorned as any of the best.

She is so kind and well-received
I have no wish for other loves:
she's learned and not frivolous,
with beauty and with valor too
and not forgetting courtliness,
her usage bends her will to that,
restraining all unfriendliness
as well as other infamies.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2005


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