William IX, Duke of Aquitaine trans. Leonard Cottrell (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.
New life: the woods are leafing out
and every type of bird is shouting
now in its specific tongue,
all versions of the latest song.
The time is sweet - a man should find
the ease which most is on his mind.

From there (where it would please me best
to be) so far I have no word -
until I can be reassured
by her of what I'm hoping for,
I don't dare go there any more
and so can neither laugh nor rest.

This is how our love is now:
it's like a fragile hawthorn bough
that trembles on the tree all night
and rattles under hail and rain,
but next day feels the spreading light
on twigs which soon are pushing green.

That branch reminds me of a morning
when we made an end to war
and when she gave me precious gifts
: her ring, her friendship, and her love.
Dear God, may I live long enough
to get my hands inside her shift!

And I don't hold with all that guff
about adoring from far off.
You know how their chatter goes:
those fancy pants should get a life.
No matter how the others boast
of love, we've both the loaf and knife.

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

For more of this translator's work see: http://planck.com/rhymedtranslations/versetrans.htm

Trans. Copyright © Leonard Cottrell 2001

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