UNA DOUSSA RES BENESTAN ... A LADY WHO'S GOOD-LOOKING, FAIR ...
Guiraut de Calanso trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Una doussa res benestan,
Belha e prezan
Guaia e complida de totz bes,
Miralhs e flors
De dompnas et jois d'amadors
Mi saup panar
Tot mon cor ab sos belhs plazers,
Quar sembla vers
Tot so que dis, senes guabar,
Et hieu pres mais un belh mot ab ver dir
Que mil plazers lai on hom vol mentir.

Si tot al cor m'es trop pezan
Pel belh semblan
Amoros ab que m'a conques
E ma folors
No sai si s'er mals o doussors,
Ni sai que far,
Pus que ten grans es sos poders
Quel sieus vezers
Fals amoros oltracujar
Ab sos plazers, don m'a dat tal cossir,
Quar tot lo mon pot de plazer complir.

E pus qu'es de valor tan gran
No·m sia dan
Si del grieu mal li quier merces
Que·m don Amors
Per lieis que passa las gensors
Ab gen parlar
Et ab lauzor et ab valers
Quar lunh avers
No m'aondal lieu pretz lauzar,
E de senhor conquier hom son albir
Qu·il sap amar e lauzar e grazir.

S·il plai, senes tot enjan
Vuelh que s'en an
Al bon rei de·ls Aragones,
Quar sa valors
Es tals que·ls sieus bos aips melhors
Pot hom comtar
Cum las estelas quant es sers
E son aders
Per lui ben servir mout joglar
Que res als sieus no·i sabon avenir
Mas quan dizon. "Pros reis es ses falhir."

E
A Na Maria de Ventedorn vai dir,
Chansoneta, qu'ieu sui al sieu servor.
A lady who's good-looking, fair
and capable,
gay and full of every good;
mirror and flower
of ladies, joy of lovers too:
she steals from me
all of my heart with her delights,
for all seems true,
all that she says, and I don't joke,
and I'll take one pure word of truth against
a score of pleasures where they always lie.

If all of this weighs on my heart
by the fair face
and lovely, with which she won me
and my nonsense,
I don't know if it's bad or sweet
nor what to do,
for I hold that her power is great:
the sight of her
false, lovely, and imagination-prone,
and with the pleasures that have worried me:
for she with pleasure could fill up the world.

And since she is of worth so great
it does no harm
to seek relief from grievous ill
Love gives to me
through her, who's better than the best
with kindly speech,
with praises and with worthiness
for one opposed
would help me, when I praise her worth;
and from the Lord a man learns to discern
so he may know to love and laud and thank.

If she will please without deceit,
I'll have her go
to the good King of Aragon,
because her worth
is such, that her good customs are
as things to count
like stars that fill the evening skies,
and he'll be touched
for many minstrels serve him well,
and none of them but knows how to arrive,
as when they say: "The good king never fails."

E
To Lady Mary, her of Ventadour,
go, little song, and tell her I serve her.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2005


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