TANT AI MO COR PLE DE JOYA ... JOY! A HEART SO OVERFLOWING ...
Bernart de Ventadorn trans. John Frederick Nims
(from Provençal)
Tant ai mo cor ple de joya,
tot me desnatura.
flor blancha, vermelh' e groya
me par la freyura,
c'ab lo ven e ab la ploya
me creis l'aventura,
per que mos pretz mont' e poya
e mos chans melhura.
tan ai al cor d'amor,
de joi e de doussor,
per que·l gels me sembla flor
e la neus verdura.

Anar posc ses vestidura,
nutz en ma chamiza,
car fin amors m'asegura
de la freya biza.
mas es fols qui·s desmezura,
e no·s te de guiza,
per qu'eu ai pres de me cura,
deis c'agui enquiza
la plus bela d'amor,
don aten tan d'onor,
car en loc de sa ricor
no volh aver Piza.

De s'amistat me reciza!
mas be n'ai fiansa,
que sivals eu n'ai conquiza
la bela semblansa;
et ai ne a ma deviza
tan de benanansa,
que ia·l jorn que l'aurai viza
non aurai pezansa.
mo cor ai pres d'amor,
que l'esperitz lai cor,
mas lo cors es sai, alhor,
lonh de leis, en Fransa.

Eu n'ai la bon'esperanza.
mas petit m'aonda,
c'atressi·m ten en balansa
com la naus en fonda
del mal pes que·m desenansa,
no sai on m'esconda.
tota noih me vir' e·m lansa
desobre l'esponda:
plus trac pena d'amor
de Tristan l'amador,
que·n sofri manhta dolor
per Izeut la blonda.

Ai Deus! car no sui ironda,
que voles per l'aire
e vengues de moih prionda
lai dins so repaire?
bona domna jauzionda,
mor se·l vostr' amaire!
paor ai que·l cors me fonda,
s'aissi·m dura gaire.
domna, per vostr' amor
jonh las mas ed ador!
gens cors ab frescha color,
gran mal me faitz traire!

Qu'el mon non a nul afaire
don eu tan cossire,
can de leis au re retraire,
que mo cor no'i vire
e mo semblan no·m n'esclaire,
que que·m n'auiatz dire,
si c'ades vos er veyaire
c'ai talan de rire.
tan l'am de bon'amor
que manhtas vetz en plor
per o que melhor sabor
m'en an li sospire.

E
Messatgers, vai e cor,
e di·m a la sensor
la pen' e la dolor
que·n trac, e·l martire.
Joy! a heart so overflowing,
.........look, the world's enchanted!
Red, blue, yellow! - winter's sowing
.........flowers around? Though granted
snows are deep and northers blowing
.........and the hail comes slanted,
lucky me! what gusto showing!
.........and what chanteys chanted!
I'm wild with love for you,
.........sweetness and fever too!
Drifts are yellow, red, and blue.
.........Snow? - or June transplanted?

In my heart what ardors glowing!
.........Though the north wind rake it,
I could walk the snowfield, throwing
.........clothes away! go naked!
Could, but - foolish way of going!
.........I should undertake it?
Best-behavior's what I'm showing
.........lately - why forsake it?
When I set out to woo
.........your loveliness, I knew
could I have, instead of you,
.........Pisa - hell could take it!

If I think her friendship's cooling,
.........I allow; but clearly
here's a girl delights in fooling
.........one she loves sincerely.
Oh I'm lucky in love's schooling,
.........lucky me! I merely
catch her eye, and all that grueling
.........day's rewarded dearly.
My heart's gone off with you;
.........my soul's away there too;
body drags in France, a blue
.........bleak cadaver, nearly.

Hope's the only hope remaining.
.........She, for my devotion,
worries me like timbers straining
.........in an angry ocean.
Harbor from such wind-and-raining?
.........Where - I've not a notion.
All the night I toss, complaining,
.........lord! that bed's commotion!
I suffer more for you
.........than Tristram dared to do
for his blond Iseult - those two
.........and their magic potion.

God! to be a swallow skimming
.........under heaven's cover,
settled, as the west is dimming,
.........on the bed above her.
Gentle breast, with laughter brimming,
.........under clay and clover
stow me - such a trouble's coming
.........as I won't get over.
O lady, look! my two
.........palms pressed adoring you;
blond and rose thing, eyes of blue,
.........how you vex your lover!

Nothing else is worth the knowing
.........for a single minute.
When they stand there Ah!ing, Oh!ing
.........over her, caught in it
I feel such elation growing,
.........who's to discipline it?
Let them guess, from cheeks so glowing,
.........I've a thing to grin at.
My love's so right and true,
.........these lashes, damp for you,
prove, for all that grief can do
.........there's a rapture in it.

Messenger, paint me true,
.........flame-colored through and through;
tell our You-Know-Who
.........fire can burn what's in it.

Click here 3 for another translation of this poem.

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


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