QUAN CHAI LA FUEILHA ... WHEN TUMBLES DOWN THE LEAF ...
Arnaut Daniel trans. Alan Marshfield (from Provençal)
Quan chai la fueilha
dels aussors entrecims
e·l freitz s’ergueilha
don seca·l vais’ e·l vims
del dous refrims
au sordezir la brueilha
mas ieu sui prims
d’Amor, qui que s’en tueilha.

Tot quant es gela,
mas ieu non puesc frezir,
qu’amors novella
mi fai·l cor reverdir,
non dei fremir,
qu’Amors mi cuebr’ e·m cela
e·m fai tenir
ma valor en capdela.

Bona es vida
pus joia la mante,
que tals n’escrida
cui ges non vai tam be:
no sai de re
coreilhar m’escarida,
que per ma fe
del mieilhs ai ma partida.

De drudaria
no·m sai de re blasmar,
qu’autrui paria
trastorn en reirazar;
ges ab sa par
no sai doblar m’amia,
qu’una non par
que segonda noilh sia.

No vueilh s’asemble
mos cors ab autr’ amor
si qu’ieu ja·il m’emble
ni volva·l cap ailhor;
non ai paor
que ja celh de Pontremble
n’aia gensor
de lieis ni que la semble.

Ges non es croia
celha qui soi amis;
de sai Savoia
plus bella no·s noiris;
tals m’abelis
don ieu plus ai de joia
non ac Paris
d’Elena, cel de Troia.

Tan pareis genta
celha que·m te joios,
las gensors trenta,
vens de belhas faisos:
ben es razos
doncas que mos chans senta,
quar es tan pros
e de ric pretz manenta.


Vai t’en chansos,
denan lieis ti presenta,
que s’ill no fos
no·i metr’ Arnautz s’ententa.
When tumbles down the leaf
midst the high trees up thither
and freezing gives such grief
that hazel and willow wither;
of sweetest bird-refrain
the woods mute in the cold;
but for Love am I most fain,
whoever may it withhold.

All’s iced, here down, above,
but I feel not the chill,
because a fresh new love
makes my heart greener still,
nor ought I ever quake,
since Love enfolds and hides me,
and makes me firmly take
on courage, thus it guides me.

Goodly indeed is life
since ever joy sustains,
though men who suffer strife
may well lament its pains;
I am myself most loth
with fortune to fall out,
since I’ve shared, on my oath,
the best without a doubt.

Of chivalrous dalliance
know I nought worth blaming,
though other sports who chance
roll over in the gaming;
from those who might be her peer
no double comes to mind,
no other one comes near,
she has no second kind.

I wish not to connect
with any other affair
in case my luck defect
and she should turn elsewhere;
I never even fret
Pontremble’s lady, she,
is slightly of her set
or ever could seem to be.

There is no cruel ploy
in her, my most endeared;
on this side of Savoy
none lovelier is reared;
she makes me more than glad,
in her I have more joy
than even Paris had
of Helen, she of Troy.

So gracious her proceeding
who is my only passion,
the noblest spheres exceeding
in most attractive fashion;
so good this cause of mine
that she must hear my lays,
she is so gentle and fine,
deserving richest praise.


Along, my song, you go,
until you be in her coil,
since were she not, Arnaut
would not put in this toil.

Click here 3 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Alan Marshfield 2003


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