AMORS, ENQUERA·US
PREYARA ...
O LOVE, AGAIN I'M
PRAYING YOU ...
Bernart de Ventadorn trans. James H. Donalson
(from Provençal)
Amors, enquera·us preyara
que·m fossetz plus amoroza,
c'us paucs bes dezadolora
gran re de mal; e paregra
s'era n'aquessetz merce.
e car de me no·us sove?
mas e·m pes qu'enaissi·m prenha
com fetz al comensamen,
can me mis al cor la flama
de leis que·m fetz estar len,
c'anc no m·en detz jauzimen.

Mout viu a gran aliscara
et ab dolor angoissoza
selh cui totz tems assenhora
mala domna; qu'eu m'estegra
jauzens, mas aissi m'ave
que leis cui dezir, no cre
qu'eu l'am tan c'a mi covenha
l'onors ni·l bes qu'eu n'aten;
et a·n tort, c'als no reclama
mos cors mas leis solamen
e so c'a leis es plazen.

Totz tems de leis me lauzara,
s'era·m fos plus volontoza
c'amors, qui·l cor enamora,
m'en det (mas no·m escazegra):
non plazers, mas sabetz que?
envey' e dezir ancse!
e s'a leis platz que·m retenha
far pot de me so talen,
melhs no fa·l vens de la rama,
qu'enaissi vau les seguen
com la folha sec lo ven.

Tant es fresch' e bel' e clara
qu'amors n'es vas me doptoza,
car sa beutatz alugora
bel jorn e clarzis noih negra.
Tuit sei fait on mielz coven.
Son fin e de beutaz ple
no·n dic laus, mas mortz mi venha
s'eu no l'am de tot mo sen'
mas, domn', Amors m'enliama,
que·m fai dir soven e gen
de vos manh ver avinen.

Doussa res, conhd' et avara,
umils, franch' et orgolhoza,
bel' e genser c'ops no fora,
domna, per merce·us queregra,
car vos am mais c'autra re,
que·us prezes merces de me,
que tem que mortz me destrenha,
si pietatz no·us en pren.
e s'eu mor, car mos cors ama
vos, vas cui res no·m defen,
tem que i fassatz falhimen.

Soven plor tan que la chara
n'ai destrech' e vergonhoza,
e·l vis s'en dezacolora,
car vos, don jauzir me degra,
pert, que de me no·us sove.
e no·m don Deus de vos be,
s'eu sai ses vos co·m chaptenha,
c'aitan doloirozamen
viu com cel que mor en flama;
e si tot no·m fatz parven,
nulhs on menhs de joi no sen.
O Love, again I'm praying you
to love me just a little more:
a little goodness will remove
the pain of many evils, and
will show if you have mercy still.
Why do you not remember me?
Because to me it seems as though
it's just as it began to be
when you lit in my heart the flame
for her, that troubles even now
though you have never given joy.

I'm living in the greatest need
and with an agonizing grief,
as I'm controlled at all times by
an evil lady. I rejoice
to sing of her, but it would seem
the one I want does not believe
I love her so,that I deserve
the honors I expect from her;
She's wrong: my heart has made no claim
except for her and for the things
that would be pleasing just to her.

I'm always full of praise for her,
if only she had more good will,
and may the love that stirs my heart
now give me (I can claim no more)
not pleasure, but do you know what?
a steady craving and desire,
and if she's pleased to keep me on,
to do with me as she may wish,
just as the wind does to the branch,
and I will follow her the way
the leaf of autumn does the wind.

Her beauty is so fresh and clear
that Love is not in doubt of me.
Her beauty brightens any day
and lightens up the blackest night.
Let these things be where best befits:
her beauty isn't what I praise
but let death overtake me now
if I don't love with all my heart;
but, lady, love envelops me
and makes me speak repeatedly
of your abundant qualities.

My sweet one, you're desirable,
you're noble, haughty but you're meek
and measurelessly beautiful.
My lady, pity me, I pray;
I love you more than anything,
so do have mercy upon me.
I fear that death will tread me down
if pity doesn't come from you,
and if I die, since my heart loves
but you, from whom I've no defense,
I fear you'll make me slip away.

I often weep so much my face
is sorrowful and full of shame,
my face has lost its color too,
for you, in whom I should rejoice,
will lose by not remembering me,
and God won't grant me good from you
if without you, I can get by,
and I will live with all the pain
of one who dies a death in flames,
and if you cannot help me out
nobody could feel less of joy.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2004


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