MOUT M'ALEGRA DOUZA VOS PER
BOSCAJE ...
THE SWEET VOICE FROM THE WOODLANDS
CHEERS ME UP ...
Guilhem de Cabestany trans. James H. Donalson
(from Provençal)
Mout m'alegra douza vos per boscaje,
Can retentis sobra·l ram qui verdeia,
E·l rossignols de son chantar chandeia
Josta sa par el bosc per plain usaje,
Et aud to chant de l'auzel qui tentis,
Don mi membra·l douza terra e·l pais
E·l benestar de ma domna jauzia,
Don mi dei ben alegrar, s'eu sabia.

Ben di aver gran joi en mon corage,
Pois totz bons pretz en ma domna s'autreia,
E de beutat nulh'autra non enveia,
Tant la fe Deus de coninent estaje;
Car se era entre sos enemis
Non dirien qu'om mais tan belha vis;
Senz es en lei, beutatz e cortesia;
Hom non la vei qui cent tans meilh no·n dia.

En autra terra irai penre lengaje,
Si que ja mai en aquesta non seia,
E·l lausengier, que n'an mort per enveia,
N'auran gran joi can me veran salvaje;
E·m menerai com paubres peleris,
E·l desirer mi auran tost aucis,
E se mai non, ben ai Amor servida
E servirai tot to jorn de ma vida.

Va te·n, sospir, en loc de fin messatge,
Dreit a mi don o totz bons pretz s'autreia,
E digaz li que autre no m'enveia
No·m stau aclin vers autre seinhoratge.
Can mi membra son be oill e son vis,
A pauc no·m muor can de lei me partis.
Partis? Non me, nei ja ni me partria,
Anz es mos cors ab leis e noit e dia.

Tant es de pretz e de valor enclausa
Que eu non volgra que fos ma cusina,
E vertadiers en roman qui la lausa,
Ni non a par de ci tro a Mesina;
E si volez qu'eu vos diga son nom,
Ja non trobares alas de colom
O no·l trovez escrig senes falenza;
Mais an lezer en monstre cognoscenza.
The sweet voice from the woodlands cheers me up
when it rings back across the greening bough,
and nightingales display their gracious song
beside their mates in woods as is their use.
And I hear songs of birds resound again
and I recall how sweet the homeland is,
recall my lady's perfect form and face,
and I'd rejoice for them, if I knew how.

But I should have great joy within my heart
since in my lady, all good things unite.
She has no need to envy other girls,
for God has made her such a graceful one;
and if she were among her enemies
they'd never say they'd seen a lovelier one,
for she has beauty, sense and courtliness,
a man who sees her loves her hundredfold.

I'll take my speech into another land
and nevermore will I be in this one.
The liars who, by envy, have killed me
will all rejoice to see what I've become.
I will behave the way poor pilgrims do
and my desire will surely kill me then;
if nothing else, I will be serving Love,
and that I'll serve each day of my whole life.

Go, sigh, for want of better messengers,
straight to the one uniting all good traits,
and tell her that no other loves me now
and I do not incline towards other lords.
When I recall her beauteous eyes and face -
I nearly died when forced to go away -
To go away? Not I, I don't leave her
because my heart's with her both night and day.

Her worth and qualities surround her so,
to have her for a cousin wouldn't do;
and everything I've said of her is true:
there's no one like her this side of Messine,
and if you want me to tell you her name
you will not find the wing of any dove
which doesn't have it written perfectly:
but in due time I'll point it out to you.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2005


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