UN ESTRIBOT FARAI ... I'LL MAKE AN ESTRIBOT ...
Peire Cardenal trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Un estribot farai que er mot maistratz,
de motz novels e d'art e de divinitatz,
qu' ieu ai en lieu crezensa, que fon de maire natz,
d'una santa pieusela, per que·l mons es salvatz;
et es paire e filhs e santa trinitatz,
et es en tres personas et una unitatz;
e cre que·l cels e·l tros ne fos per el traucatz,
e·n trabuquet los angels, can los trobet dampnatz;
e crei que Sans Joans lo tenc entre sos bratz
e·l bateget en l'aigua el flum, can fo propchatz;
e conosc be la senha abanchas que fos natz,
el ventre de sa maire que·s vols al destre latz;
e cre Rom'e Sant Peire, a cui fon comandatz
jutge de penedensa, de sen e de foldatz.
Mas so non crezon clerge, que fan las falcetatz,
que son larc d'aver penre et escas de bontatz,
e son bel per la cara et ore de peccatz,
e devedon als autres d'aco que fan lurs atz,
et en loc de matinas an us ordes trobatz
que jazon ab putanas tro·l solelhs es levatz;
enans canton baladas e prozels trasgitatz;
abans conquerran Dieu Cayfas o Pilatz.
Monge solon estar dins los mostiers serratz,
on adzoravon Dieu denan las magestatz;
era son en las vilas, on an lurs poestatz.
Si avetz bela fema o es homs molheratz,
el seran cobertor, sieus peza o sieus platz;
e cant el son dessus e·l con son sa gelatz
ab las bolas redondas que pendon als matratz,
can las letras son clauzas e lo traucx es serratz,
d'aqui eison li'retge e li essabatatz
que juron e renegon e jogon a tres datz;
aiso fan monge negre en loc de caritatz.
Mon estribot fenisc, que es tot compassatz,
c'ai traq de gramatica e de divinitatz,
e si mal o ai dig, que·m sia perdonatz,
que ieu o dic per Dieu, qu'en sia pus amatz,
.................................e per mal estribatz clergues.
I'll make an estribot that's very masterful,
with new words and with art and with divinity,
for I believe in God who was of mother born,
of holy virgin, by whom all the world is saved;
and he is Fath'r and Son and holy Trinity,
and he is in three Persons and one Unity;
and I believe he entered into heaven and hell,
and overthrew the angels when he found them damned,
and I believe he holds St. John in his embrace
and baptized in the river when he was ordained;
and he knew well the signs before he was born from
his mother's womb if you prefer on the right side;
and I believe Rome and St.Peter who was made
the judge of penitence, of sense and folly too.
The clergy don't believe this but have falsities:
they're liberal to grab but stingy with good deeds,
they're beautiful in face and hateful in their sins,
and they forbid to others all that they have done,
and now in place of matins, some orders are found
that lie abed with whores until the sun is up;
they sing a ballad or a prose that's travestied;
and they'd let Calaphas or Pilate conquer God.
And monks in monasteries used to be locked in,
where they adored our God before the majesties;
but now, they're in the cities where they have their power.
If you've a pretty woman or have married one,
then they will covet her, if you like it or not.
He'll sing a tune above and then he'll seal her hole
with two round seals that hang down from his throwing-spear,
when letters all are sealed and holes have all been shut,
from this Waldensians and the heretics come out
who swear and then recant and play a three-dice game;
the black monks do this too, in place of charity.
My estribot is ended but takes all things in,
for I have dealt with grammar and divinity,
and if I've said it badly, let them pardon me,
for I've said this for God, that he may be more loved,
.................................and for clerks who're unfortified.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2006


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