Posts tagged ‘13th century’

Monday, 20 January 2020

San Miguel de la Tumba by Gonzalo de Berceo

San Miguel de la Tumba is a convent vast and wide;
The sea encircles it around, and groans on every side;
It is a wild and dangerous place, and many woes betide
The monks who in that burial place in penitence abide.
Within those dark monastic walls, amid the ocean flood
Of pious fasting monks there dwelt a holy brotherhood;
To the Madonna’s glory there an altar high was placed
And a rich and costly image the sacred altar graced.
Exalted high upon a throne, the Virgin Mother smiled,
And as the custom is, she held within her arms the Child;
The kings and wisemen of the East were kneeling by her side;
Attended was she like a queen whom God had sanctified.

Descending low before her face a screen of feathers hung,–
A moscader or fan for flies, ’tis called in vulgar tongue;
From the feathers of the peacock’s wing ’twas fashioned bright and fair,
And glistened like the heaven above when all its stars are there.
It chanced that for the people’s sins, fell lightning’s blasting stroke;
Forth from all four sacred walls the flames consuming broke;
The sacred robes were all consumed, missal and holy book;
And hardly with their lives the monks their crumbling walls forsook.

But though the desolating flame raged fearfully and wild,
It did not reach the Virgin Queen, it did not reach the Child;
It did not reach the feathery screen before her face that shone,
Nor injured in a farthing’s worth the image or the throne.
The image it did not consume, it did not burn the screen;
Even in the value of a hair they were not hurt, I ween;
Not even the smoke did reach them, nor injure more the shrine
Than the bishop, hight Don Tello, has been hurt by hand of mine

From: https://www.poetry-archive.com/b/san_miguel_de_la_tumba.html

Date: 13th century (original in Spanish); 1844 (translation in English)

By: Gonzalo de Berceo (c1197-before 1264)

Translated by: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Saturday, 18 January 2020

The Home of the Heart by Muktabai

Where never darkness comes my home I’ve made;
There my delightsome lodging ever find.
That perfect shelter cannot fail our need;
Going and coming trouble us no more.
Beyond all vision and above all spheres,
He, our delight, our inmost sould indwells.
He, Mukta says, is our heart’s only home.

From: Macnicol, Margaret (ed.), Poems by Indian Women, Selected and Rendered by Various Translators, 1923, Association Press: Calcutta and Oxford University Press: London, p. 47.
(https://archive.org/details/poemsbyindianwom00macn/)

Date: 13th century (original in Marathi); 1923 (translation in English)

By: Muktabai (1279-1297)

Translated by: Margaret Grant Campbell Macnicol (18??-19??) and D. K. Laddu (?-?)

Saturday, 18 May 2019

On an Apple by Baha’ al-din Zuhair

Many thanks to my love for the apple she sent;
I can see that a gift so ingenious was meant
To ensure my not keeping whole-hearted ;
For its colour resembles the hue of her cheeks,
And the sip of her lip its fine flavour bespeaks,
While its perfume her touch has imparted.

From: Zuhair, Baha’ al-din and Palmer, E. H. (ed. and transl.), The Poetical Works of Behā-ed-Dīn Zoheir, of Egypt. With a Metrical English Translation, Notes, and Introduction, Volume II, 1877, University Press: Cambridge, p. 40.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=5NveEgFDbJAC)

Date: 13th century (original in Arabic); 1877 (translation in English)

By: Baha’ al-din Zuhair (1186-1258)

Translated by: Edward Henry Palmer (1840-1882)

Friday, 3 May 2019

Quatrain by Najmuddīn-e Kubrā

What never existed
leaves nothing in the hand
but wind
while “reality”
offers nothing but imperfection
and failure;
that being the case
one can only dream
of what never was
and as for what “really is,”
remember:
it doesn’t exist.

From: Wilson, Peter Lamborn and Pourjvady, Nasrollah, The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry, 1987, Phanes Press: Grand Rapids, USA, p. 20.
(https://archive.org/details/TheDrunkenUniverse/)

Date: 13th century (original in Persian); 1987 (translation in English)

By: Najmuddīn-e Kubrā (1145-1221)

Translated by: Peter Lamborn Wilson (1945- ) and Nasrollah Pourjvady (1943- )

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Lines 1-17 of “The Chatelaine of Vergi” by Anonymous

There are people who pretend
Loyalty, say they intend
To keep your confidence so well
That you may without danger tell
Your secrets; and when they discover
Proof that someone has a lover
Make it their pleasure and their pride
To send the news out far and wide,
And afterward make fun of those
Who lose their joy because they chose
To have it known. The greater the love
The more will be the sorrow of
The true lover who must start
Doubting the one who rules his heart.
And oftentimes such harm is done
By this that love will quickly run
Its course, to end in grief and shame.

From: Terry, Patricia (ed. and transl.), The Honeysuckle and the Hazel Tree: Medieval Stories of Men and Women, 1995, University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, Section 8.
(https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft4580069z)

Date: 13th century (original in French); 1995 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Patricia Terry (1929- )

Sunday, 8 April 2018

How Can I Blame the Cherry Blossoms by Fujiwara no Shunzei no Musume (Shunzei’s Daughter)

How can I blame the cherry blossoms
for rejecting this floating world
and drifting away as the wind calls them?

From: Rexroth, Kenneth and Atsumi, Ikuko (eds. and transls.) Women Poets of Japan, 1982, New Directions: New York, p. 43.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=0BMQwLapofkC)

Date: 13th century (original in Japanese); 1977 (translation in English)

By: Fujiwara no Shunzei no Musume (Shunzei’s Daughter) (?1171-?1252)

Translated by: Kenneth Charles Marion Rexroth (1905-1982) and Ikuko Atsumi (1940- )

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Song Against the Sea by Roi Fernandez de Santiago

Whenever I look at the waves
that break below the bluffs,
I feel a pounding of waves
in my heart for the one I loved.
Damn the sea
that makes me grieve!

I never look at the waves
that beat against the shores
without being pounded by waves
in my heart for the one I adored.
Damn the sea
that makes me grieve!

Each time I look at the waves
that crash into the cliffs,
I feel a pounding of waves
in my heart for the one I miss.
Damn the sea
that makes me grieve!

From: http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/4676/auto/0/SONG-AGAINST-THE-SEA

Date: 13th century (original in Galician-Portugese); 1995 (translation in English)

By: Roi Fernandez de Santiago (13th century)

Translated by: Richard Zenith (1956- )

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

No Jewel is Worth His Lady by Giacomo da Lentini

Sapphire, nor diamond, nor emerald,
Nor other precious stones past reckoning,
Topaz, nor pearl, nor ruby like a king,
Nor that most virtuous jewel, jasper call’d,
Nor amethyst, nor onyx, nor basalt,
Each counted for a verv marvellous thing,
Is half so excellently gladdening,
As is my lady’s head uncoronall’d.
All beauty by her beauty is made dim;
Like to the stars she is for loftiness;
And with her voice she taketh away grief.
She is fairer than a bud, or than a leaf.
Christ have her well in keeping, of His grace,
And make her holy and beloved, like Him!

From: Rosetti, Dante Gabriel (ed. and transl.), Dante and His Circle: with the Italian Poets Preceding Him. (1100-1200-1300). A Collection of Lyrics, 1887, Roberts Brothers: Boston, p. 201.
(https://archive.org/stream/danteandhiscirc02aliggoog#page/n224/mode/2up)

Date: 13th century (original in Sicilian dialect); 1861 (translation in English)

By: Giacomo da Lentini (13th century)

Translated by: Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Love Has Seven Names by Hadewijch

Love has seven names.
Do you know what they are?
Rope, Light, Fire, Coal
make up its domain.

The others, also good,
more modest but alive:
Dew, Hell, the Living Water.
I name them here (for they
are in the Scriptures),
explaining every sign
for virtue and form.
I tell the truth in signs.
Love appears every day
for one who offers love.
That wisdom is enough.

Love is a ROPE, for it ties
and holds us in its yoke.
It can do all, nothing snaps it.
You who love must know.

The meaning of LIGHT
is known to those who
offer gifts of love,
approved or condemned.

The Scripture tell us
the symbol of COAL:
the one sublime gift
God gives the intimate soul.

Under the name of FIRE, luck,
bad luck, joy or no joy,
consumes. We are seized
by the same heat from both.

When everything is burnt
in its own violence, the DEW,
coming like a breeze, pauses
and brings the good.

LIVING WATER (its sixth name)
flows and ebbs
as my love grows
and disappears from sight.

HELL (I feel its torture)
damns, covering the world.
Nothing escapes. No one has grace
to see a way out.

Take care, you who wish
to deal with names
for love. Behind their sweetness
and wrath, nothing endures.
Nothing but wounds and kisses.

Though love appears far off,
you will move into its depth.

From: http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/Poets/H/Hadewijch/LoveHasSeven/index.html

Date: 13th century (original); 2002 (translation)

By: Hadewijch (13th century)

Translated by: Willis Barnstone (1927- ) and Elene Kolb (19??- )

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Song of the Valkyries by Anonymous

Widely is flung, warning of slaughter,
the weaver’s-beam’s-web, ’t is wet with blood;
is spread now, grey, the spear-thing before,
the woof-of-the-warriors which valkyries fill
with the red-warp-of-Randvér’s-banesman.

Is this web woven and wound of entrails,
and heavy weighted with heads of slain;
are blood-bespattered spears the treadles,
iron-bound the beams, the battens, arrows:
let us weave with our swords this web of victory!

Goes Hild to weave, and Hiorthrimul,
Sangrith and Svipul, with swords brandished:
shields will be shattered, shafts will be splintered,
will the hound-of-helmets the hauberks bite.

Wind we, wind we the-web-of-darts,
and follow the atheling after to war!
Will men behold shields hewn and bloody
where Gunn and Gondul have guarded the thane.

Wind we, wind we such web-of-darts
as the young war-worker waged afore-time!
Forth shall we fare where the fray is thickest,
where friends and fellows ’gainst foemen battle!

Wind we, wind we the web-of-darts
where float the flags of unflinching men!
Let not the liege’s life be taken:
valkyries award the weird of battle.

Will seafaring men hold sway over lands,
who erstwhile dwelled on outer nesses;
is doomed to die a doughty king,
lies slain an earl by swords e’en now

Will Irish men eke much ill abide:
’t will not ever after be out of men’s minds.
Now the web is woven, and weapons reddened—
in all lands will be heard the heroes’ fall.

Now awful is it to be without,
as blood-red rack races overhead;
is the welkin gory with warriors’ blood
as we valkyries war-songs chanted.

Well have we chanted charms full many
about the king’s son: may it bode him well!
Let him learn them who listens to us,
and speak these spells to spearmen after.

Start we swiftly with steeds unsaddled—
hence to battle with brandished swords!

From: Hollander, Lee M., Old Norse Poems, 1936, Columbia University Press: New York, pp. 72-75.
(http://sacred-texts.com/neu/onp/onp14.htm)

Date: 13th century (original); 1936 (translation)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Lee Milton Hollander (1880-1972)