FOLH ...
Bernart de Ventadorn trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Can par la flors josta·l vert folh
e ver lo tems clar e sere
e·l doutz chans dels auzels pel brolh
m'adousa lo cor e·m reve,
pos l'auzel chanton a lor for,
eu, c'ai mais de joi en mo cor,
dei be chantar, pois tuih li mei jornal
son joi e chan, qu'eu no pes de ren al.

Cela del mon qued eu plus volh,
e mais l'am de cor e de fe,
au de joi mos dihz e·ls acolh
e mos precs escout' e rete.
e s'om ja per ben amar mor,
eu en morrai, qu'ins en mo cor
li port amor tan fin' e natural
que tuih son faus vas me li plus leyal.

Be sai la noih, can me despolh,
et leih qu'eu no dormirai re.
lo dormir pert, car eu lo·m tolh
per vos, domna, don me sove;
que "lai on om a so tezor,
vol om ades tener so cor."
s'eu no vos vei, domna, don plus me cal,
negus vezers mo bel pesar no val.

Can me membra com amar solh
la fausa de mala merce,
sapchatz c'a tal ira m'o colh,
per pauc vius de joi no·m recre.
domna, per cui chan e demor,
per la bocha·m feretz al cor
d'un doutz baizar de fin' amor coral,
que·m torn en joi e·m get d'ira mortal!

Tals n'i a qued an mais d'orgolh,
can grans jois ni grans bes lor ve;
mas eu sui de melhor escolh
e plus francs, can Deus me fai be.
c'ora qu'eu fos d'amor a l'or,
er sui de l'or venqutz al cor.
merce, domna! non ai par ni engal.
res no·m sofranh, sol que Deus vos me sal!

Domna, si no·us vezon mei olh,
be sapchatz que mos cors vos ve;
e no·us dolhatz plus qu'eu me dolh
qu'eu sai c'om vos destrenh per me.
mas, si·l gelos vos bat de for,
gardatz qu'el no vos bat al cor.
si·us fai enoi, e vos lui atretal,
e ja ab vos no gazanh be per mal!

Mo Bel-Vezer gart Deus d'ir' e de mal,
s'eu sui de lonh, e pres atretal!

Sol Deus midons e mo Bel-Vezer sal,
tot ai can volh, qu'en no deman ren al.
When flowers appear beneath green leaves
and weather is serene and clear,
sweet birdsongs coming from the park
awake me, sweetening my heart.
Since birds are singing in their way,
I, having greater joy at heart,
must sing, and well, since all my daily bread
is joy and song: I think of nothing else.

She whom on earth I love the most
(I love her more by heart and faith)
is glad to hear and keep my words,
and hears and keeps my pleas as well;
and if by true love men may die
then, I must die, for in my heart
I'm bearing love, both natural and true
and all are false to me, the loyallest.

I know at night, when I undress
that I won't sleep a bit in bed:
I lose my sleep, and give it up
for you, my lady; I recall
that "Where a man his treasure keeps
there he will also keep his heart."
If I don't see you, lady I want most,
no sight is worth as much as thoughts of you.

When I remember how I loved
the false one and the merciless,
I tell you now, I'm overcome;
I've no way to recover joy:
my lady, I sing just for you,
and by your mouth, you wound my heart
with a sweet kiss of true and heartfelt love
to turn to joy and save from deathly rage.

Such are the proudest ones of all
when greater joy or good come in
but I am of a better sort
and better when God brings me good,
for when I'm on the verge of love
I'm brought from verges to the heart:
so, thank you, lady, I've no equal here;
I lack not, if God saves you just for me.

My lady, if I don't see you,
know that I see you in my heart,
do not grieve more than I am grieved.
I know you're checked because of me,
and, if the jealous one should strike,
see that the blow can't reach your heart,
and if he vexes you, reciprocate,
so that, for evil, he won't have rewards!

May God protect 'My Belvedere' from harm
when I'm far off, and when I'm near as well.

God save my lady and 'My Belvedere'.
That's all I want, I ask for nothing else.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2004

VB21 next
VB21 index
Other index