Bernart de Ventadorn trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Lancan vei per mei la landa
dels arbres chazer la folha,
ans que·lh frejura s'espanda
ni·l gens termini s'esconda,
m'es bel que si' auzltz mos chans,
qu'estat n'aurai mais de dos ans,
e cove que·n fass' esmenda.

Mout m'es greu que ja reblanda
celeis que vas me s'orgolha,
car si mos cors re·lh demanda,
no·lh platz que mot m'i responda.
be m'auci mos nescis talans,
car sec d'amor los bels semblans
e no ve c'amors lh'atenda.

Tan sap d'engenh e de ganda
c'ades cuit c'amar mi volha.
be doussamen me truanda,
c'ab bel semblan me cofonda!
domna, so no·us es nuls enans,
que be cre qu'es vostres lo dans,
cossi que vostr'om mal prenda.

Deus, que tot lo mon garanda,
li met' en cor que m'acolha,
c'a me no te pro vianda
ni negus bes no·m aonda.
tan sui vas la bela doptans,
per qu'e·m ren a leis merceyans:
si·lh platz, que·m don o que·m venda!

Mal o fara, si no·m manda
venir lai on se despolha,
qu'eu sia per sa comanda
pres de leih, josta l'esponda,
e·lh traga·ls sotlars be chaussans,
a genolhs et umilians,
si·lh platz que sos pes me tenda.

Faihz es lo vers tot a randa,
si que motz no·i descapdolha,
outra la terra normanda,
part la fera mar prionda;
e si·m sui de midons lonhans,
vas se·m tira com azimans
la bela cui Deus defenda.

Si·l reis engles e·l ducs normans
o vol, eu la veirai abans
que l'iverns nos sobreprenda.

Pel rei sui engles e normans,
e si no fos Mos Azimans,
restera tro part calenda.
When, in the heathlands, I can see
that leaves are falling from the tree,
before the cold extends abroad,
before the autumn hides away,
it's good that all should hear my song
since over two years I've not done,
it's fitting that I make it good.

I'm grieved that she's demanding now,
the one who's so aloof with me,
and if I ask a single thing
she isn't pleased to answer me:
my foolish wish will kill me yet,
for love seeks out her pretty face
and she can't see that love awaits.

She knows evasion and finesse:
I think she wants to love me, then
she treats me very sweetly, too,
while calmly disappointing me.
It's not to your advantage, this,
and it hurts no one more than you
when one who loves you meets with ills.

O God, you govern all the world:
give her a heart to take me in,
because no food will nourish me,
no property will profit me,
but for my beauty I have fears
so I am praying for relief:
please give or sell her to me, Lord.

So it will be bad if she won't
invite me to her dressing-room,
to let me be by her command
beside her bed and close to her
and let me then take off her shoes
while humbly kneeling on my knees,
if she will let me have her foot.

The verse has come now to an end
if there is not a word misplaced;
on this side of Norman land
beyond the deep and savage sea;
and from my lady I'm far off,
but, like a magnet, she attracts,
this beauty, whom may God protect.

If English king and Norman duke
would like, I'll see him, and before
the wintertime surprises us:

the King makes me an Englishman,
and if 'My Magnet' didn't call
I'd stay till over New Year's Day.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2004

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