Bertrans de Born trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Pois Ventadorns e Comborns ab Segur
E Torena e Monfortz ab Gordo
An fair acort ab Peiregorc e jur
E li Borzes se claven de viro,
M'es bel qu'eu chant e qu'eu m'en entremeta
D'un sirventes per lor assegurar,
Qu'eu no volh ges sia mia Toleta
Per qu'eu segurs non i auses estar.

A! Poi-Guilhem e Clarenz e Granhol
E Sant-Astier, mout avetz grant onor,
E eu mezeis, qui conoisser la·m vol,
E a sobrier Engolesmes major
D'en Charetier que guerpis la chareta;
Non a deniers ni no'n pren ses paor,
Per qu'ab onor pretz mais paucha terreta
Qu'un grant empier tener a desonor.

Si·l rics vescours que es chaps de·ls Gascos,
A cui apen Bearns e Gavardas,
E·n Vezias o vol e·n Bernardos
El senher d'Acs e cel cui es Marsas,
D'aquela part aura prol cours que fassa;
E eissamen, aissi com el es pros,
Ab sa grant ost que atrai e amassa
Passe s'en sai e ajoste s'ab nos.

Si Talhaborcs e Ponz e Lezinhas,
E Maleos e Taunais for en pes
E a Sivrai fos vescours vius e sas,
Ja no creirai que no nos ajudes.
Cel de Toartz, pois lo coms lo menassa,
Tenga s'ab nos e no sia ges vas;
E demandem, tro que el dreit nos fassa,
De·ls omenes quens a traitz d'entre·ls mas.

Entre Peiteus e la Isla-Bochart
E Mirabel e Laudun e Chino,
A Clarasvals an bastit ses regart
Un bel chaslar e mes en pla chambo.
Mas no volh ges lo sapcha ni lo veja
Lo joves reis, que no·lh sabria bo;
Mas paor ai, pois que tan fort blancheja
Que lo veira be de Matafelo.

Del rei Felip sabrem be si paireja
O si segra los usatges Charlo
D'en Talhafer, que per senhor l'autreja,
Pois a dit d'oc, que mais diga de no.
Since Ventadour and Comborn, with Ségur,
Turenne and Montfort, with Gourdon,
have had accord with Périgord and sworn,
the burghers close in all around so that
it seems that I should sing and intervene
and make a sirventés to reassure
that I don't want Toledo to be mine,
for there I wouldn't dare to be secure.

At Puy-Guilhem and Clérans and Grignol
and Saint-Astier, you all are honored much
and I myself would like to know you too;
and at the greater, upper Angoulême
Sir Carter, who has left the cart behind,
now has no money, takes none without fear,
would rather, honored, hold a little land
than have dishonor and a great empire.

If the viscount who heads up Gascony
on which depend Béarn and Gavardan,
Sir Vézian as well, and Sir Bernard,
the Lord of Dax and he who has Marsan,
of all that region make an able count,
and too, because he is so capable,
with the great army he'll attract and mass,
he'll come up here and join his troops with ours.

If Taillebourg and Pons and Lusignan
and Mauléon and Tounay were a piece,
and Civray had a hardy Viscount there,
I can't believe they wouldn't help us out.
Those of Thouars, now menaced by the count,
hold off with us, may it not be in vain;
let us insist until we have the right
by signs that separate us from the rest.

The whole way from Poitiers and l'Île-Bouchard
and Mirebeau and Loudun and Chinon
to Clairvaux, they have built, without a care
a castle in the middle of the fields,
but they don't want it known or seen by the
Young King, so he won't know how good it is;
but I'm afraid the place shines out so white
that you can see it well from Mateflon.

We'll find out if King Philip's like his dad
or if he'll follow after Charlemagne.
Sir Taillefer, whom he sets up as Lord
has once said yes, but now he tells us no.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2003

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