Guiraut de Calanso trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
De lieis cui am de cor e de saber,
Dona e senhor et amic, volrai dir
En ma chanso sil platz co denh auzir
Del menar tems d'amor son gran poder
Per so car venz princes, ducs e marques,
Comtes e reis, e lai on sa cortz es
Non sec razos mas plana voluntatz
E ja nuill temps non sera dreitz jutgatz.

Tant es sotils c'om no la pot vezer,
E corr tan tost que res noil pot fugir,
E fer tan fort que res noil pot gandir,
Don fai grans colps de joi e de plazer,
On non ten pro ausbercs fortz ni espes
Si lanza dreich, e pois trai demanes
Sajetas daur ab son arc asteiat,
Pois lanssa un dart de plom gen afilat.

Corona d'aur porta per son dever,
E non vei ren mas lai on vol ferir;
No failh nuilh temps tant gen si sap aizir.
E vola leu e fai si mout temer,
E mais d'azaut que s'es ab joi enpres,
E qand fai mal sembla que sia bes,
E viu de joi ei·s defen eis combat,
Mas noi garda paratge ni rictat.

E son palais, en ela va jazer,
A cinc portals e qui·ls dos pot ubrir
Tost passa·ls tres mas non pot leu partir;
Mas ab joi viu cel qui pot remaner,
E pojai hom per catre gras mout les,
Mas no·i intra vilans ni mal apres,
C'ab los fals so el barri albergat,
Que ten del mon plus de l'una meitat.

Fors al peiro, on elha vai sezer,
A un taulier tal com sai devezir:
Que negus hom no sap nuilh joc legir
Las figuras no·i trob a son plazer;
Et ai mil ponhs, mas gart que no·i ades
Hom malazautz, de laich jogar mespres,
E li pointes son de veire trasgitat
E quin frainh un pert son jac envidat.

Aitant cant mars ni terra pot tener,
Ni soleils par, se fai de totz grazir
Los us fai ricx e·ls autres fa languir.
Los us ten bas e·ls autres fai valer,
Puois estrai leu so que gen a promes;
E vai nuda, mas cant d'un pauc d'orfes
Que porta seinhs, e tuich siei parentat
Naisson de fuoc de que son alumnat.

Al segon ters tainh franquez'e merces,
E·l sobeiras es de tant gran rictat
Que sobre totz eissaussa son reignhat.

A Monpeslier a·n Guilhem lo marques
Ten vai chanso fai auzir de bon grat
Que·n lui a pretz e valor e rictat.
Of her I love with all my heart and mind,
my ladies, lords and friends, I want to tell
by this my song, if you will deign to hear
a little while, of overpowering Love.
She'll overcome you, marquis, prince or duke,
and count and king, wherever your court is,
not by dry reason but by force of will,
and at no time will she be rightly judged.

She is so subtle that she can't be seen,
and runs so fast that none can get away,
and strikes so hard she can't be turned aside;
she gives great strokes of pleasure and of joy:
no hauberk and no sword's of any use,
for she shoots straight, and then the next day brings
her golden arrows, then with bow drawn taut
she shoots a dart of lead that's been well honed.

She wears a golden crown, as duty-bound,
and sees no one but those she wants to wound,
and there's no time when she will not take in.
She flies so lightly everyone's afraid
and she assails what has begun in joy,
and doing badly makes to seem the best:
she lives on joy and combat and defence
but won't respect your riches or descent.

Her palace, where she goes for lying down
has five doors and can open all of them:
soon three are passed, but don't part easily,
(the one who lasts it out will live with joy)
and one goes up by just four easy steps
but churls and evil cannot follow on
but take their shelter, with the false, outside
and hold more than a half of the whole world.

But on the terrace, where she goes to sit,
there is a game-board such as we devise,
but no one can pick out one of the games:
the figures that he finds do not please him.
There are a thousand pieces, but we watch
to weed out clumsy ones and careless moves,
the pieces all are made of fine blown-glass
and he who breaks one loses all the pot.

And everywhere the seas and earth contain
or sun shines on, she will ingratiate
and make some rich while others she makes starve:
some she holds down and others she gives worth,
but I'll be quick to take what's promised me;
and she goes nude but sings of golden gowns
that bear a sign, and all her relatives
are born out of the fire that gives them light.

The second third get mercy and high state:
the highest one is of the greatest wealth
and over all exalts his own regime.

To Marquis William, in Montpellier,
and to a grateful audience, go, my song,
in him are riches, valor and much worth.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2005

translator's next