Bernart de Ventadorn trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Conortz, era sai eu be
que ges de me no pensatz,
pois salutz ni amistatz
ni messatges no m'en ve.
trop cuit que fatz lonc aten,
et er be semblans oimai
qu'eu chasse so c'autre pren,
pois no m'en ven aventura.

Bels Conortz, can me sove
com gen fui per vos onratz
e can era m'oblidatz,
per un pauc no·n mor desse!
qu'eu eis m'o vauc enqueren,
qui·m met de foudat em plai,
can eu midons sobrepren
de la mia forfaitura.

Per ma colpa m'esdeve
que ja no·n sia privatz,
car vas leis no sui tornatz
per foudat que m'en rete.
tan n'ai estat lonjamen
que de vergonha qu'eu n'ai,
non aus aver 1'ardimen
que i an, s'ans no m'asegura.

Ilh m'encolpet de tal re
don me degra venir gratz.
fe qu'eu dei a l'Alvernhatz,
tot o fi per bona fe.
e s'eu en amar mespren,
tort a qui colpa m'en fai,
car, qui en amor quer sen,
cel non a sen ni mezura.

Tan er gen servitz per me
sos fers cors durs et iratz,
tro del tot si' adoussatz
ab bels dihz et ab merce;
qu'eu ai be trobat legen
que gota d'aiga que chai,
for en un loc tan soven,
tro chava la peira dura.

Qui be remira ni ve
olhs e gola, fron e faz,
aissi son finas beutatz
que mais ni menhs no i cove:
cors lonc, dreih e covinen,
gen afliban, conhd' e gai.
om no·l pot lauzar tan gen
com la saup formar Natura.

Chansonets, ar t'en vai
a Mo Frances, 1'avinen,
cui pretz enans' e melhura;

E digas li que be·m vai,
car de Mo Conort aten
enquera bon' aventura.
'Comfort', I now know too well:
I know you don't think of me
since your friendly greetings and
messages don't come to me;
for too long, I've had to wait
and now it is apparent that
I hunt what another traps.
No luck comes to me from this.

Sweet the solace I recall:
how you kindly honored me
and then, when you just forgot,
I was very close to death.
then I sought out my own grief,
setting foolishness in play
when I blamed my lady love
for my own transgression there.

It has happened by my fault:
I'm no longer linked to her;
I did not return to her;
foolishness has held me back.
Then I was away so long
I was overcome by shame:
I could not approach her then
without being reassured.

She finds fault with me for this:
where will my reward come from?
I pledged to the Auvergnat,
which I did in all good faith,
and if I have failed in love
I won't take the blame for that:
if you look for sense in love
you're the one who has no sense!

I've served angry people long,
with their hard and savage hearts;
finally, I've softened them
just with mercy and good words;
In my reading, I have found
that the water-drop that falls
on a spot with frequency
will bore through the hardest rock.

If you take a careful look:
forehead, eyes and face and neck:
such her fine beauties are,
neither more nor less will suit:
body long, erect and fit,
well-dressed, pleasant, happy too:
All out praise can't justify
that which nature gave to her.

Go off now, my little song,
to my 'Frenchman', courtly one,
for his worth has been increased;

Tell him that I am all right:
from my 'Comfort' I expect
everything will turn out well.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2004

VB21 next
VB21 index
Other index