MES ...
Bernart de Ventadorn trans. James H. Donalson
(from Provençal)
Anc no gardei sazo ni mes
ni can flors par ni can s'escon
ni l'erba nais delonc la fon,
mas en cal c'oras m'avengues
d'amor us rics esjauzimens,
tan me fo bels comensamens
qu'eu cre c'aquel tems senhorei.

Be l'agra per fol qui·m disses
tro aras, qu'en sui tan prion,
que ja·m tengues tan deziron
amors qu'eu morir en pogues;
mas aras sen e sui sabens
que totz autres mals es niens
vas lo dezir ab pauc d'esplei.

A! tan doussetamen me pres
la bela qui·m te jauzion,
qued eu no·m posc saber vas on
re mais tan ben amar pogues;
car, on plus l'esgar, plus me vens
s'amors, e·m dobla mos talens
on eu mais d'autras domnas vei.

Depus anc la vi, m'a conques,
per que no l'er gen si·m cofon,
car volh mas perdre·ls olhs del fron
qu'eu ja re fassa c'a leis pes.
d'aitan cum poira, 'n essiens
no volh que·m si' adiramens,
que Deus aya failh de mi rei.

Tota gens ditz que Vianes
es la melher terra del mon
e las melhors domnas i son.
doncs sabon tuih e' aisso vers es
c'aicestas son las plus valens,
e midons, que totas las bens,
es la melher qued el mon sei!
I never treasure weeks or months
when flowers come out or hide away
or when there's grass around the spring:
but there are times when I receive
enjoyment given me by love
which is for me a bright new year:
a time when I am in control.

You well may say that I'm a fool
because I'm deeply into this
and I am yearning so for love
that I could die from all of this
but now I feel, and am informed,
that any other ill is naught
compared to unfulfilled desire.

Ah! sweetly has she gripped me now,
this beauty who's my source of joy,
so I have no idea where
I might find love that suits so well.
The more I see, the more her love
takes over, doubling my desire
when other ladies are around.

When I saw her, she conquered me;
it wouldn't help to disappoint:
I'd rather lose my very eyes
than do something she wouldn't like,
and I would never, knowingly,
do anything to anger her,
not even if God made me King.

All people say the Viennoise
is best of all the lands on earth
and there the best of ladies are,
and all know this, and that it's true
that these are those of greatest worth
and that my lady's best of them
who are the best ones in the world.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2004

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