CAN LA VERZ FOLHA
S'ESPAN ...
WHEN THE GREEN LEAF
UNFOLDS ...
Bernart de Ventadorn trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Can la verz folha s'espan
e par flors blanch' et ramel,
per lo douz chan del auzel
se vai mos cors alegran.
lancan ve·ls arbres florir
et an·l rossinhol chantar,
adonc deu's ben alegrar
qui bon'amor saup chauzir.
mas eu n'ai una chauzida
per qu'eu sui coinhdes e gais.

E se tuih et mon garan
desoz la chapa del cel
eron en un sol tropel,
for d'una non ai talan.
mai d'aquesta no·m cossir,
que·l jorn me fai sospirar
e la noih no posc pauzar
ni·m pren talans de dormir:
tan es grail' et eschafida,
ab cor franc e dihz verais.

S'eu fos a lei destinan,
e for'eu dinz d'un chastel,
que·l jorn manges un morsel,
lai viuria sens afan,
se·m don' aisso qu'eu dezir!
de be far se deu penar,
car se·m ten en lonc pensar,
no posc viure ni morir.
ar eslonh en breu ma vida,
si com ja de mort me trais!
When the green leaf unfolds
and the flowers white the branch,
at the sweet song of birds
my heart joys as I go:
when I see trees in bloom
and the nightingale sings,
then it's well to rejoice,
if you know to choose love;
for I've one of my choice,
who gives me drive and joy.

And if all in the world
underneath heaven's cloak
were brought up in a bunch,
I've no wish but for one:
nothing else but the one
who by day makes me sigh
and by night gives no rest;
nor do I want to sleep:
slender, she, dainty, too,
noble heart, true of speech.

And if she summoned me,
and put me in a keep
with a morsel a day
I'd live there without grief
if she gave what I want.
She should try to do right,
for if she makes me yearn
I can't live and can't die:
so she puts off my life
as she took me from death.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2004


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