LANCAN VEI LA FOLHA ... WHEN I SEE THE FOLIAGE ...
Bernart de Ventadorn trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Lancan vei la folha
jos dels albres chazer,
cui que pes ni dolha,
a me deu bo saber.
no crezatz qu'eu volha
flor ni folha vezer,
car vas me s'orgolha
so qu'eu plus volh aver.
cor ai que m'en tolha,
mas no·n ai ges poder,
c'ades cuit m'acolha,
on plus m'en dezesper.

Estranha novela
podetz de me auzir,
que, can vei la bela
que·m soli' acolhir:
ara no m'apela
ni·m fai vas se venir.
lo cor sotz l'aissela
m'en vol de dol partir.
Deus, que·l mon chapdela,
si·lh platz, m'en lais jauzir,
que s'aissi·m revela,
no·i a mas del morir.

Non ai mais fiansa
en agur ni en sort,
que bon' esperansa
m'a cofondut e mort,
que tan lonh me lansa
la bela cui am fort,
can li quer s'amansa,
com s'eu l'agues gran tort,
tan n'ai de pezansa
que totz m'en desconort;
mas no·m fatz semblansa,
c'ades chant e deport.

Als no·n sai que dire
mas: mout fatz gran folor
car em ni dezire
del mon la belazor.
be deuri' aucire
qui anc fetz mirador!
can be m'o cossire,
no·n ai guerrer peyor.
ja·l jorn qu'ela·s mire
ni pens de sa valor,
no serai jauzire
de leis ni de s'amor.

Ja per drudaria
no m'am, que no·s cove;
pero si·lh plazia
que·m fezes cal que be,
eu li juraria
per leis e per ma fe,
que·l bes que·m faria,
no fos saubutz per me.
en son plazer sia,
qu'eu sui en sa merce.
si·lh platz, que m'aucia,
qu'eu no m'en clam de re!

Ben es dreihz qu'eu planha,
s'eu pert per mon orgolh
la bona companha
e·l solatz c'aver solh.
petit me gazanha
lo fols arditz qu'eu colh,
car vas me s'estranha
so qu'eu plus am e volh.
orgolhs, Deus vos franha,
c'ara·n ploron mei olh.
dreihz es que·m sofranha
totz jois, qu'eu eis lo·m tolh.

Encontra·l damnatge
e la pena qu'eu trai,
ai mo bon uzatge:
c'ades consir de lai.
orgolh e folatge
e vilania fai
qui·n mou mo coratge
ni d'alre·m met en plai,
car melhor messatge
en tot lo mon no·n ai,
e man lo·lh ostatge
entro qu'eu torn de sai.

E
Domna, mo coratge,
·l melhor amic qu'eu ai,
vos man en ostatge
entro qu'eu torn de sai.
When I see the foliage
falling down from the trees,
even sad or ailing,
still it's pleasant to me.
Do'not think I'm wanting
just to see flowers and leaves,
let me see my lady,
who's standoffish to me.
I've a heart she raises
but no power to defend:
still I hope she'll have me
but I slip into doubt.

Listen and I'll tell you
of the strangest events:
when I see the beauty
who would welcome me in
but has left off calling
and no longer invites
and my heart's afflicted
and is breaking from grief.
God, you guide your creatures:
if she wants, let me enjoy,
but, if she's rebelling,
nothing's left but to die.

I'm no longer trusting
in predictions and fate,
for all my good hoping
has confounded to death.
She has kept me afar,
she, whom I love so much,
though I want to love her,
as if I'd done her wrong.
I'm so sad about this
that I'm all in despair,
but I won't look worried:
still I sing and have fun.

What else am I saying:
it's so much foolishness,
still, I am desiring
her, the loveliest on earth.
I will kill the one who
makes a mirror for her,
because I consider
I've no worse enemy;
seeing her reflection
she'll see all of her worth,
and I'll never enjoy
either her or her love.

As for courtly loving,
that's not proper for her;
if she found it pleasing
or if she'd do me good,
I would swear it to her,
both by her and my faith,
and the good she'd do me
I would never divulge,
I'd be at her pleasure
(at her mercy for now).
If she wants to kill me,
I'll not even object.

I deserve some pity,
if I lose through my pride
solace I've been having,
and the good fellowship.
I'm not much rewarded
by my foolish daring,
and I'm alienating
her whom I love the most.
Pride, may God restrain you,
now my eyes weep for this:
Is it fair I'm losing
joy since I'm taking her?

As against the damage
harm that I undergo,
I have my good usage:
always I think of her,
even when committing
baseness, foolishness, pride,
but I have my courage:
nothing else is in play.
There's no better message
on the face of the earth,
and I send her pledges
so I can go away.

E
Lady of my longing,
best friend I ever had,
I remain guaranteed
till I come back from here.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2004


VB21 next
VB21 index
Other index