|LANCAN VEI PER MEI LA
|WHEN, IN THE HEATHLANDS, |
I CAN SEE ...
|Bernart de Ventadorn||trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)|
qu'estat n'aurai mais de dos ans,
car sec d'amor los bels semblans
que be cre qu'es vostres lo dans,
per qu'e·m ren a leis merceyans:
a genolhs et umilians,
vas se·m tira com azimans
Si·l reis engles e·l ducs normans
o vol, eu la veirai abans
Pel rei sui engles e normans,
e si no fos Mos Azimans,
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