CAN LA VERZ FOLHA S'ESPAN ... WHEN THE GREENERY UNFOLDS ...
Bernart de Ventadorn trans. A.S.Kline (from Provençal)

Can la verz folha s'espan
E par flors blanch' el ramel,
Per lo douz chan del auzel
Se vai mos cors alegran.
Lancan ve.ls arbres florir
Et au.l rossinhol chantar,
Adonc deu.s ben alegrar
Qui bon' amor sap chauzir.
Mas eu n'ai una chauzida
Per qu'eu sui cortes e gais.

E se tuih el 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 greenery unfolds
And the branch is white with flower,
With sweet birdsong in that hour
My heart gently onward goes.
When I see the blossoming trees
And hear the nightingale in song,
Then how can a man go wrong,
Who chooses loving and is pleased.
For I have one Ive chosen
Who gives me strength and joy.

And if all the world now holds -
All those under heavens power,
Were gathered in some sweet bower,
Id only wish for one I know.
Only she my heart can please,
Who makes me sigh all day long,
So at night my sleep is gone,
Not that I desire to sleep.
She, the slender dainty one,
True heart, does true speech employ.

If I were brought to her stronghold,
Prisoned by her in some tower,
And daily ate my morsel sour,
Happily Id there grow old,
If my desire she granted me!
She should try to do no wrong:
If she made me yearn too long,
Neither life nor death Id see:
Life for me as good as done,
While there with death Id sadly toy.

See also Translator's website at: Poetry in Translation

Trans. Copyright © A.S.Kline 2010


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