William IX, Duke of Aquitainetrans. James H. Donalson (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.
Thanks to the sweetness of the spring
the trees are green and songbirds sing,
as each one sings in his own tongue
the lyric of his newest song,
it's only right that when it's sung
we find the joy for which we long.

From where is all that's joy to me
no mail or message comes to me;
my heart can neither laugh nor rest
and I don't dare to step ahead
until I know what course is best
and if it's what I wish or dread.

Our love when it gets to the root
is like a trembling hawthorn shoot:
it clings to branches through the night
exposed to rain and frost, you see,
and in the morning sunshine's light
you see the foliage of the tree.

I still remember how, before,
we put an ending to our war;
how then she gave me, in good will:
she gave her ring, her love she spoke;
God grant that I live on until
I have my hands beneath her cloak.

I don't believe a foreign speech
would put my Neighbor out of reach;
I know of words and how they go:
a brief discourse will spread around;
let others say their love will grow,
but our enjoyment's more profound.

Click here 3 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2003

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