PEL DOUTZ CHAN QUE·L
.........ROSSINHOLS FAI ...
TO THE SWEET SONG OF THE
......................NIGHTINGALE ...
Bernart de Ventadorn trans. A.S.Kline (from Provençal)

Pel doutz chan que·l rossinhols fai,
la noih can me sui adormitz,
revelh de joi totz esbäitz,
d'amor pensius e cossirans;
c'aisso es mos melhers mesters,
que tostems ai joi volunters,
et ab joi comensa mos chans.

Qui sabia lo joi, qu'eu ai,
que jois fos vezutz ni auzitz,
totz autre jois fora petitz
vas qu'eu tenc, que-l meus jois es grans.
tals se fai conhdes e parlers,
que·n cuid' esser rics e sobrers
de fin' amor, qu'eu n'ai dos tans!

Can eu remire so cors gai,
com es be faihz a totz chauzitz,
sa cortezi' e sos bels ditz,
ja mos lauzars no m'er avans;
c'obs m'i auri' us ans enters,
si·n voli' esser vertaders,
tan es cortez' e ben estans.

Cil que cuidon qu'eu sia sai,
no sabon ges com l'esperitz
es de leis privatz et aizitz,
si tot lo cors s'en es lonhans,
sapchatz, lo melher messagers
c'ai de leis, es mos cossirers,
que·m recorda sos bels semblans.

Domna, vostre sui e serai,
del vostre servizi garnitz.
vostr' om sui juratz e plevitz,
e vostre m'era des abans.
e vos etz lo meus jois primers,
e si seretz vos lo derrers,
tan com la vida m'er durans.

No sai coras mais vos veirai;
mas vau m'en iratz e maritz.
per vos me sui del rei partitz,
e prec vos que no·m sia dans,
qu'eu·s serai en cort prezenters
entre domnas e chavalers,
francs e doutz et umilians.

E
Huguet, mos cortes messatgers,
chantatz ma chanso volonters
a la rëina dels Normans.



To the sweet song of the nightingale,
At night when I am half-asleep,
I wake possessed by joy complete,
Contemplating love and thinking;
For this is my greatest need, to be
Forever filled with joy and sweetly,
And in joy begin my singing.
 
Who seeks to know the joy I feel,
If such joy were heard and seen,
All other joy but slight would seem
Compared with mine: vast in its being.
Others preen and chatter wildly,
Claim to be blessed, rich and nobly,
With ‘true love’: I’ve twice the thing!
 
When I admire her body hale
Well-formed, in all respects I mean,
Her courtesy and her sweet speech,
For all my praise I yet gain nothing;
Though I took a year completely
I could not paint her truthfully
So courtly is she, of sweet forming.
 
You who think that I can’t fail,
Not realising her spirit keen
Is open and is friendly, even
Yet her body is far from being,
Know, the best messenger I see
From her is my own reverie,
That recalls her fairest seeming.

Lady, I’m yours, today, every day,
In your service my self I’ll keep,
Sworn, and pledged to you complete,
As I have been always in everything.
And as you are first of joys to me,
So the last joy too you will be,
As long as I’m still living.
 
I know not when I’ll see you again;
But I am grieved and sad to leave.
For you I spurned (don’t now harm me,
I beg of you) the court and king,
Now I will serve you there entirely,
Among the knights, among the ladies,
All sweet, true, and humble beings.
 
E
Huguet, my messenger, go, kindly
Sing my song and sing it freely,
To the Norman Queen go warbling.
 

Note: ‘True love’ in verse two, is 'fins amor', noble love, the troubadour ideal.

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See also Translator's website at: Poetry in Translation

Trans. Copyright © A.S.Kline 2010


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