QUANT L'AURA DOUSSA
.........................S'AMARZIS ...
WHEN THE SWEET AIR
................TURNS BITTER ...
Cercamon trans. A.S.Kline (from Provençal)

Quant l'aura doussa s'amarzis
E·l fuelha chai de sul verjan
E l'auzelh chanjan lor latis,
Et ieu de sai sospir e chan
D'Amor que·m te lassat e pres,
Qu'ieu anc no l'agui en poder.

Las! qu'ieu d'Amor non ai conquis
Mas cant lo trebalh e l'afan,
Ni res tant greu no·s covertis
Com fai so qu'ieu vau deziran!
Ni tal enveja no·m fai res
Cum fai so qu'ieu non posc aver.

Per una joja m'esbaudis
Fina, qu'anc re non amiey tan!
Quan suy ab lieys si m'esbahis
Qu'ieu no·ill sai dire mon talan,
E quan m'en vauc, vejaire m'es
Que tot perda·l sen e·l saber.

Tota la genser qu'anc hom vis
Encontra lieys no pretz un guan!
Quan totz lo segles brunezis,
Delai on ylh es si resplan.
Dieu prejarai qu'ancar l'ades
O que la vej'anar jazer.

Totz trassalh e bran et fremis
Per s'Amor, durmen o velhan.
Tal paor ai qu'ieu mesfalhis
No m'aus pessar cum la deman,
Mas servir l'ai dos ans o tres,
E pueys ben leu sabra·n lo ver.

Ni muer ni viu ni no guaris,
Ni mal no·m sent e si l'ai gran,
Quar de s'Amor no suy devis,
Non sai si ja l'aurai ni quan,
Qu'en lieys es tota la merces
Que·m pot sorzer o decazer.

Bel m'es quant ilh m'enfolhetis
E·m fai badar e·n vau muzan!
De leis m'es bel si m'escarnis
O·m gaba dereir'o denan,
Qu'apres lo mal me venra bes
Be leu, s'a lieys ven a plazer.

S'elha no·m vol, volgra moris
Lo dia que·m pres a coman!
Ai, las! tan suavet m'aucis
Quan de s'Amor me fetz semblan,
Que tornat m'a en tal deves
Que nuill' autra no vuelh vezer.

Totz cossiros m'en esjauzis,
Car s'ieu la dopti o la blan,
Per lieys serai o fals o fis,
O drechuriers o ples d'enjan,
O totz vilas o totz cortes,
O trebalhos o de lezer.

Mas, cui que plass'o cui que pes,
Elha·m pot, si·s vol, retener.

Cercamons ditz: greu er cortes
Hom qui d'Amor se desesper.

When the sweet air turns bitter,
And leaves fall from the branch,
And birds their singing alter
Still I, of him, sigh and chant,
Amor, who keeps me closely bound,
He that I never had in my power.
 
Alas! I gained nothing from Amor
But only had pain and torment,
For nothing is as hard to conquer
As that on which my desire is bent!
No greater longing have I found,
Than for that which I’ll lack ever.
 
In a jewel I rejoice, in her
So fine, no other’s felt my intent!
When I’m with her I dumbly stutter,
Cannot utter my words well meant,
And when we part I seem drowned,
Loss of all sense and reason suffer.
 
All the ladies a man saw ever
Compared to her aren’t worth a franc!
When on earth the shadows gather,
Where she rests, all is brilliant.
Pray God I’ll soon with her be wound,
Or watch her as she mounts the stair.
 
I startle and I shake and shiver
Awake, asleep, on Love intent,
So afraid that I might wrong her,
I don’t dare ask for what I meant,
But two or three years’ service downed,
Then she’ll know the truth I offer.
 
I live nor die, nor am made better
Nor feel my sickness though intense,
Since with her Love I want no other,
Nor know if I’ll have it or when,
For in her mercy does all abound,
That can destroy me or deliver. 
 
It pleases me when she makes me madder,
Makes me muse, or in gaping rent!
It’s fine if she plays the scorner
Laughs in my face, or at fingers’ end,
For, after the bad, the good will sound,
And swiftly, should that be her pleasure.
 
If she wants me not, I’d rather
I’d died the day my service commenced!
Ah, alas! So sweet she did murder
Me, when she gave her Love’s assent,
And tied me with such knots around,
That I desire to see no other.

All anxiously I delight in her,
For whether I fear or court her then
Is up to her; or be false or truer,
Trick her, or prove all innocent,
Or courteous or vile be found,
Or in torment, or take my leisure.
 
But, who it may please or who astound,
She may, if she wants, retain me there.
 
Say I: scarce courteous is he crowned,
The man who shall of Love despair.

Trans. Copyright © A.S.Kline 2010


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