Bernart de Ventadorn trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Lo gens tems de pascor
ab la frescha verdor
nos adui folh' e flor
de diversa color,
per que tuih amador
son gai e chantador
mas eu, que planh e plor,
cui jois non a sabor.

A totz me clam, senhor,
de midons e d'Amor,
c'aicist dui träidor,
car me fiav'en lor,
me fan viur' a dolor
per ben e per onor
c'ai faih a la gensor,
que no·m val ni·m acor.

Pen' e dolor e dan
n'ai agut, e n'ai gran,
mas sofert o ai tan. -
no m'o tenh ad afan;
c'anc no vitz nulh aman,
melhs ames ses enjan,
qu'eu no·m vau ges chamjan
si com las domnas fan.

Pois fom amdui efan,
l'am ades e la blan;
e·s vai mos jois doblan
a chasen jorn del an.
e si no·m fai enan
amor e bel semblan,
cant er velha, ·m deman
que l'aya bo talan.

Las! e viure que·m val,
s'eu no vei a jornal
mo fi joi natural
en leih, sotz fenestral
cors blanc tot atretal
com la neus a nadal,
si c'amdui cominal
mezuressem egal?

Anc no vitz drut 1eyal,
sordeis o aya sal,
qu'eu l'am d'amor coral,
ela·m ditz: "no m'en chal;"
enans ditz que per al
no m'a ira mortal;
e si d'aisso·m vol mal,
pechat n'a criminal.

Be for' oimais sazos,
bela domna e pros,
que·m fos datz a rescos
en baizan guizardos,
si ja per als no fos,
mas car sui enveyos,
c'us bes val d'autres dos,
can per fors' es faihz dos.

Can vei vostras faissos
e·ls bels olhs amoros,
be·m meravilh de vos
com etz de mal respos.
e sembla·m trassios,
can om par francs e bos
e pois es orgolhos
lai on es poderos.

Bel Vezer, si no fos
mos enans totz en vos,
laissat agra chansos
per mal dels enoyos.
In the sweet time of spring
with the freshness and green,
come the leaf and the flower,
with the whole color-range,
so that all those who live
may enjoy singing tunes;
but just I moan and cry,
having no taste for joy.

And for all, Lord, I cry:
Lady-love and Amour
are the two traitors' names,
I have put trust in them;
they make me live in pain,
for the good and the fame
I have made for the fair;
though she won't stand by me.

Sorrow, grief and great harm
I have had, and I have,
and I have suffered much,
but it won't bother me;
never has lover seen
better love, less deceit,
so I don't look for change
in the way women do.

Since the childhood of both,
I have served only her,
and my joy's twice as much
every day of the year,
and if she won't, before,
show me love and a smile,
when she's old, let her ask
if I'm still well-disposed.

Ah! what good is my life
if I can't see each day
my true, natural joy
in her bed, by the light,
and her body as white
as the snow of a Yule;
so together we both
may be measured alike?

Truer love you've not seen
(who has wasted his work)
since I love from the heart
and she says: "What care I?"
Better say, otherwise,
she has no mortal hate:
If she'd wish ill for that
it's a crime and a sin.

There may well still be time,
lady fair, lady mine;
what was given in stealth:
the reward of a kiss,
if there were nothing else;
but I'm still full of greed.
Your one kiss is worth two
when the gift is by force.

When I see your sweet face
and your amorous eyes
then I marvel at you
and your grudging replies:
It seems treason to me
when a good, noble man
proves to be full of pride
where he's most in command.

'Belvedere', but for that
all my trust is in you;
leave the bad in the songs
to annoy those who wrong.

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2004

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