Bernart de Ventadorn trans. John Frederick Nims
(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.
The good time of the year
when sweeter fields appear.
Leaves, flowers, and all. The sheer
silk greenery, dark or clear.
Then love's exultant men
take singing up again.
Not I. I'm mournful when
I think of joy that's been.

I'm all complaints: You know
love and this girl? They go
urging my overthrow
- stab in the back - although
I swore my faith to these,
tried with my soul to please
the best girl heaven sees,
who rates me at - two peas?

Snubs, suffering, loss, regret
I've known them, know them yet;
chewed on "Forgive, forget";
learned to endure. Will bet
you'll never see the day
I promise, then betray.
I'm different. Girls now, they
fall often by the way.

From childhood on, my true
and one great passion: you.
All weathers, grey or blue,
my ardor grew and grew.
Unless, though, you outpour
favors of love before
old age leans on the door - !
Try coaxing then for more.

Life gives - ? well nothing quite
like having day and night
the one joy mine by right:
in bed, by window-light
yourself undressed, a glow
merry as Christmas snow,
where we lie fitted so
we're snug from head to toe.

None ever loved so well
or with worse news to tell.
As my pure longings swell
she'll stretch - a yawning spell! -
and then a shrug, "Well I
really don't care, is why."
If true, or if some lie,
that damns her by and by.

I plead: "But who's to miss
(well, some day, if not this)
one tiny sip of bliss,
a quick dark-stairway kiss?"
You'll kiss me, no? Encore?
And never ask what for.
Forced charity's a chore.
Give freely is give more.

Seeing your face among
the crowd, with all eyes hung
on you, so warm, so young,
I think: her terrible tongue!
It's treason, plain to see,
when "flowers of courtesy"
go frozen, at the plea
of one poor bended knee.

Now Blue-Eyes, but for you
(and sweet Miss Other too)
I'd play it mum, lip curled,
in so morose a world.

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Mrs. Bonnie Nims 1971 - publ. Rutgers University Press

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