William IX, Duke of Aquitaine trans. A.S.Kline (from Provençal)

Ab la dolchor del temps novel
foillo li bosc, e li aucel
chanton chascus en lor lati
segon lo vers del novel chan;
adonc esta ben c'om s'aisi
d'acho don hom a plus tal an.

De lai don plus m'es bon e bel
non vei mesager ni sagel,
per que mos cors non dorm ni ri,
ni no m'aus traire adenan,
tro qu'ieu sacha ben de fi
s'el' es aissi com eu deman.

La nostr' amor vai enaissi
com la branca de l'albespi
qu'esta sobre l'arbre tremblan,
la nuoit, a la ploja ez al gel,
tro l'endeman, que·l sols s'espan
per las fueillas verz e·l ramel.

Enquer me membra d'un mati
que nos fezem de guerra fi,
e que·m donet un don tan gran,
sa drudari' e son anel:
enquer me lais Dieus viure tan
c'aja mas manz soz so mantel!

Qu'ieu non ai soing d'estraing lati
que·m parta de mon Bon Vezi,
qu'ieu sai de paraulas com van
ab un breu sermon que s'espel,
que tal se van d'amor gaban,
nos n'avem la pessa e·l coutel.

Out of the sweetness of the spring,
The branches leaf, the small birds sing,
Each one chanting in its own speech,
Forming the verse of its new song,
Then is it good a man should reach
For that for which he most does long.

From finest sweetest place I see
No messenger, no word for me,
So my heart canít laugh or rest,
And I donít dare try my hand,
Until I know, and can attest,
That all things are as I demand.

This love of ours it seems to be
Like a twig on a hawthorn tree
That on the tree trembles there
All night, in rain and frost it grieves,
Till morning, when the rays appear
Among the branches and the leaves.

So the memory of that dawn to me
When we ended our hostility,
And a most precious gift she gave,
Her loving friendship and her ring:
Let me live long enough, I pray,
Beneath her cloak my hand to bring.

Iíve no fear that tongues too free
Might part me from Sweet Company,
I know with words how they can stray
In gossip, yet thatís a fact of life:
No matter if others boast of love,
We have the loaf, we have the knife!

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © A.S.Kline 2009

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