William IX, Duke of Aquitaine trans. James H. Donalson (from Provençal)
Companho, tant ai agutz d'avols conres
qu'ieu non puesc mudar non·chan e que no·m pes;
enpero no vueill c'om sapcha
mon afar de maintas res.

E dirai vos m'entendensa de que es:
no m'azauta cons gardatz ni gorcs ses peis,
ni gabars de malvatz homes
com de lor faitz non agues,

Senher Dieus, quez es del mon capdels e reis,
qui anc premiers gardet con com non esteis?
c'anc no fo mestiers ni garda
c'a si dons estes sordeis.

Pero dirai vos de con cals es sa leis,
com sel hom que mal n'a fait e peitz n'a pres;
qu'ieu sai c'autra res en merma qui·n pana
e cons en creis.

E silh qui no volran creire mos casteis
anho vezer pres lo bosc en un deveis:
per un albre c'om hi tailla
n'i naison ho dos ho treis.

E quam lo bocx es taillatz nais plus espes,
e·l senher no·n pert son comte ni sos ses
a revers planh hom la tala
si·l dampnatges non i es pres.

Tortz es car hom planh la tala,
quan negur dan no i a pres.
My friends, I'm ill prepared in recent days,
I can't be still or sing, except it weighs:
I don't want the world to follow
my affairs in many ways.

I'll tell you what I understand today:
what good's a fishless pond? girls locked away?
ridicule from the malicious?
deeds not always what they say.

Lord God, the Captain of the world and King,
why not with us? though first to lock the thing,
though guards weren't necessary
you're unheeding of these things.

I'll tell you now of cunts and of their fate:
a man may do no evil, use no hate,
and when other things are stolen
they decrease, but cunts grow great.

And some will not believe me when I scold,
but there's a lamb, by woods, inside a fold:
if you fell a tree, then two or
three grow back, or so I'm told.

Cut forests come back thicker, so I hear,
the Lord won't lose his count, or those who're dear,
you should not complain of cutting
when no damages are near.

It is wrong, decrying cutting
when no damages are near.

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © James H. Donalson 2003

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