EN ABRIL, QUAN VEI VERDEYAR ... IN APRIL, WHEN I SEE APPEAR ...
Peire Bremon lo Tort trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
En abril, quan vei verdeyar
los pratz vertz e·ls vergiers florir
e vei las aiguas esclarzir
et aug los auselletz chantar
l'odors de l'erba floria
eܧ dous chanz que l'auzels cria
mi fai mon joi renovellar.

En cest temps soli' ieu pensar
cossi·m pogues d'amor jauzir:
ab cavalgar et ab garnir
et ab servir et ab onrar;
qui aquestz mestiers auria,
per els es amors jauzia
e deu la·n hom mielhs conquistar.

Ieu chant, qui deuria plorar,
qu'ira d'amor me fai languir;
ab chantar mi cug esbaudir;
et anc mais no·n auzi parlar
qu' hom chant qui plorar deuria
pero no·m desesper mia,
qu'enquer aurai luec de chantar.

No·m dei del tot desesperar
qu'ieu enquer midons non remir,
qu'aisselh qui la m'a fag gequir
a ben poder del recobrar;
e s'ieu era en sa bailia,
si mai tornava en Suria,
ja Dieus no m'en laisses tornar.

Ben se dec Dieus meravilhar
car anc mi poc de lieis partir,
e dec m'o ben en grat tenir
quan per lui la volgui laissar;
qu'el sap ben, s'ieu la perdia,
que ja mais joi non auria,
ni elh no la·m pogr'esmendar.

Mout me saup gent lo cor emblar,
quan pris comjat de chai venir,
que non es jorns qu'ieu non sospir
per un bel semblan que·l vi far,
qu'elha·m dis tuta marria:
"que fara la vostr'amia,
bels amics? per que·m vols laissar?"

Chanzos, tu·t n'iras outra mar,
e, per Deu, vai a midons dir
qu'en gran dolor et en cossir
me fai la nuoit e·l jorn estar.
di·m a'n Guilhelm Longa-Espia,
bona chanzos, qu'el li·t dia
e que i an per lieis confortar.
In April, when I see appear
green meadows, gardens flowering,
I see the waters turning clear
and hear the singing of the birds,
the smells of grass and flowering;
sweet songs the birds are crying too
make me renew my joy within.

All through this time I've always thought
how I might then enjoy a love
by riding and by readying,
by serving and by honoring:
if you would follow this pursuit
you'll have the joy of love thereby
and have a better chance to win.

I sing when I had ought to weep;
love's sadness has me languishing;
by singing I can cheer myself,
and though I dare not say much more
as I am singing, but should weep,
but I am not despairing yet
for still I have a place to sing.

I cannot let myself despair
because my lady's not at hand,
and that which made me break with her
is able to recover her;
and if I still were in her pow'r,
if I turned back from Syria,
God wouldn't let me turn again.

God well permits our marvelling,
for though I can depart from her
he lets me hold it for the best:
when for him I saw fit to leave
(for he knows well, if I lost her,
I'd never have my joy again)
and she could not excuse me then.

Many folk may steal my heart
when I take leave to come down here:
there's not a day I do not sigh
for that expression she puts on
when in distress she says to mie:
"What will your friend do, handsome friend,
why do you want to leave me here?"

My song, you'll not go overseas,
for heav'n's sake tell my lady that
it makes me pass the night and day
in great affliction and in grief,
and tell Sir William Longespee,
good song, to give you to her, then
to go to her and comfort her.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2003


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