Posts tagged ‘15th Century’

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

I Went into My Garden to Gather Herbs by Berta Jacobs (Sister Bertken)

I went into my garden to gather herbs,
But all I found were thistles and thorns.

The thistles and thorns I threw out,
I should like to grow some other plants.

Now I have found one to do the gardening,
One who is willing to shoulder the burden.

A tree had grown tall in very short time,
I could not pluck it out of the earth.

The gardener noted well the doleful tree:
He wrested it from the earth root and all.

Now I must be his servant,
Or he will not continue his care.

I must weed my garden for evermore
and yet I alone cannot maintain it.

I must sow seed of lilies in my garden;
This I must do early at dawn.

If he lets drop his gentle dew, my lover,
These seedlings shall grow and flower.

He loves to see the lilies, my lover,
If they grow straight and pure.

When red roses are planted in the same bed,
Then he touches the flowers with his gentle dew.

And when he illuminates them with golden rays,
Then I rejoice with all my heart.

Jesus is the name of my lover,
I want to serve him eternally and belong to him.

His love has given me such strong resolve,
That I hold the world in utter contempt.

From: Vynckier, Henk, “Poetry From Behind Bars: Some Translations from the Dutch Recluse Sister Bertken (1427-1514)” in Mystics Quarterly, September 1988, Vol. 14, No. 3 (September 1988), pp. 147-148.

Date: 15th century (original in Dutch); 1988 (translation in English)

By: Berta Jacobs (Sister Bertken) (1426/1427-1514)

Translated by: Henk Vynckier (19??- )

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Canción by Álvaro de Luna

Since to cry
And to sigh
I ne’er cease;
And in vain
I would gain
My release;
Yet I still
Have the will,
Though I see
That the way
Every day
Is less free.
She is light
And the blight
Wrecks my joy;
Better death
Than such breath
I employ!
But perchance
For such glance
I was born;
And my grief
Is relief
For your scorn.

From: Walsh, Thomas (ed.), Hispanic Anthology: Poems Translated from the Spanish by English and North American Poets, 1920, G. P. Putnam’s Sons: New York and London, pp. 52-53.

Date: 15th century (original in Spanish); 1920 (translation in English)

By: Álvaro de Luna (c1388-1453)

Translated by Thomas Walsh (1875-1928)

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Sonnet (The Song of Birds) by Matteo Maria Boiardo

The song of birds which leaps from leaf to leaf,
The scented breeze that runs from flower to flower,
The shining dew that glitters in each bower,
Rejoice our sight and banish thoughts of grief.
It is because She holds all Nature in fief
Whose will is that the world shall live Love’s hour;
Sweet scents and songs – the Spring’s own magic power—
Each stream invade, each wind, each emerald sheaf.
Where’er She walks, She by her gaze enstarred
Brings warmth before due season in her arms;
Love’s kindled in her look and falls in showers;
At her sweet smile or at her sweet regard
The grass grows green and colours paint the flowers,
The sky is clear, the sea is locked in calms.

From: Lind, L. R. (ed.), Lyric Poetry of the Italian Renaissance: An Anthology with Verse Translations, 1964, Yale University Press: New Haven and London, p. 215.

Date: 15th century (original in Italian); 1951 (translation in English)

By: Matteo Maria Boiardo (1441-1494)

Translated by: Irwin Peter Russell (1921-2003)

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

L’Avare [The Miser] by Guillaume Alexis

L’homme convoiteux est hatif*, &c.

He who for selfish gain would live
Is quick to take, and slow to give,
Knows well the secret to refuse,
And can his niggard deeds excuse.
If aught he gives will straight repent,
Holds all as lost he may have spent.
His gold counts daily o’er and o’er,
And seeks in books no other lore.
From morn till night is restless still
To watch how soon his coffers fill.
Sighs, listens, breathless at a sound,
Lest lurking spies should hover round:
Cares not to pay, at each demand
Doles forth his coin with trembling hand:
He gives but that his gains may grow,
And gains not ever to bestow;
Free, if to others goods belong,
But, on his own, his clutch is strong:
To give his miser hand is closed,
To take his eager palm exposed.

*The covetous man is hasty, etc.

From: Costello, Louisa Stuart (ed. and transl.), Specimens of the Early Poetry of France: From the Time of the Troubadours and Trouveres to the Reign of Henri Quatre, 1835, William Pickering: London, pp. 164-165.

Date: 15th century (original in French); 1835 (translation in English)

By: Guillaume Alexis (15th century)

Translated by: Louisa Stuart Costello (14799-1870)

Friday, 18 May 2018

Pleasure, Love, the Fierce Desire These Beget by Ausiàs March

Pleasure, love, the fierce desire these beget,
hope that bears me from one stage to the next:
these bring but joy, yet fear of failure turns
it all to torment, and wastes my tender flesh,
while I feed a fire deep raging in my heart,
such that it gives off neither smoke nor heat.
Come to my rescue before this hour is done,
for this can only mean my imminent death!

A skilled physician always is alarmed
when he finds heat within the body trapped;
only a quack, finding there no fever
and no sweats, would then conclude that all was well.
For even if the patient’s weak and frail,
and cannot put his symptoms into words,
then gestures, anguish, and his complexion,
can say, all three, as much as speaking will.

Beauteous Wisdom, to say I love you
there’s no need: I’m sure that you’re quite sure of it,
show as you may you’ve not the slightest clue
why some might see imbalance in this love.

From: March, Ausiàs and Archer, Robert (ed. and transl.), Ausiàs March: Verse Translation of Thirty Poems, 2006, Barcino Tamesis: Barcelona/Woodbridge, p. 39.

Date: 15th century (original in Valencian); 2006 (translation in English)

By: Ausiàs March (1400-1459)

Translated by: Robert Archer (19??- )

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

My Confession by Šišmundo (Šiško) Menčetić

If ‘tis confession then which cleanses white each wrong,
my conscience now must be as snow,
for each of Venus’ deeds which I’ve sent in secret done,
I did disclose and so cry woe.
And thus I do entreat of him who knows love’s pain
with me her joys now to repent,
for I, you see, do view this life as one short dream,
a summer rose that brief endures.

From: Miletich, John S. (transl.) and Slamnig, Ivan (ed.), “The Lute and the Lattice: Croatian Poetry of the 15th and 16th Centuries” in Brücke, 1971 (25), p. 26.

Date: 15th century (original in Croatian); 1971 (translation in English)

By: Šišmundo (Šiško) Menčetić (1457-1527)

Translated by: John S. Miletich (19??- )

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Whole Day Through I Long for You by Džore Držić

The whole day through, my pearl so fair, I long for you,
as does the thirsting deer for cool lake-waters clear,
so that the sunbeams in your eyes might cure my ills
and heal by dint of their sweet charm my secret wounds,
which your fair gaze has wrought within my very core,
your look of love which now deprives me of my life.
The pallor of my face reveals this wound so deep
as also does my life, by you destroyed, my love.
And this you see as I do by your window stroll
and grow quite pale and chilled with constant sighing spells;
but though too freely we must not each other see,
we neither should so hide the secret love we keep.
Oh God, can there be woe much greater here below
than crying out aloud with grief for one’s beloved?
Oh blessed are they and well endowed by fortune’s hand
who oft, together joined, can consummate their love,
and who in mere desire waste not their fairest youth,
and do not hope in vain to joy in love’s delights.
And thus, my love, may I not slowly pine away,
but yet do let me rest upon your lap so still,
for tightly have you with your tresses red and fair
my throat ensnared as would some hunter bind his catch;
how terrifying ‘tis to think of all these woes,
but ‘tis more awful still to bear them in one’s heart.
And so, my pearl, the whole day through I long for you,
as would a thirsting deer for cool lake-waters clear.

From: Miletich, John S. (transl.) and Slamnig, Ivan (ed.), “The Lute and the Lattice: Croatian Poetry of the 15th and 16th Centuries” in Brücke, 1971 (25), p. 37.

Date: 15th century (original in Croatian); 1971 (translation in English)

By: Džore Držić (1461-1501)

Translated by: John S. Miletich (19??- )

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

One Last Word About Love by Anonymous

He that wil be a lover in every wise,
He muste have thre thingis whiche Jeame lackith.
The first is goodlyhede at poynt devise*;
The secunde is manere, which manhoode makith;
The thryd is goode, that no woman hatith.
Marke well this, that lovers wil be
Muste nedys have oone of thes thre.

*goodlyhede at point devise – perfect beauty.

From: Barratt, Alexandra (ed.), Women’s Writing in Middle English (2nd. Edition), 2013, Routledge: New York and London, p. 308.

Date: 15th century

By: Anonymous

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Lines 1-40 from “Merlin” by Robert de Boron with approximate translation into modern English by flusteredduck

Now gyneth the devel to wraththen him sore
(as aftir scholen ȝe herkene & here wel more),
whanne that oure lord to helle wente,
and took owt Adam with good entente,
and also Eve, and ek others mo,
þat with him he likede forto han tho.
and whanne þe develis behelden this,
moche drede and merveille they hadden, i-wis.
So, as aftyrward longe be-felle,
to-gederis they conseilled, the develis, ful snelle,
and token hem to-gederis in parlement,
the maister-develis, be on assent,
and seiden: “what mester man is he, this,
that doth us here al this distress?
we mown not aȝens him maken defens,
whanne he is owht in owre presens,
and bynemeth us that we scholde have,
and for hym non thing mowen we kepen save.
For we supposede, ful verrayly,
that non man scholde he bom of wommans body,
that alle owre they weren be ryht,
but he hem benemeth us be his myht.
Sey, how was this ȝoman bore,
be whom owre ryht is thus forlore?”
thanne answerede anothir devel,
and, as him thowhte, he answerede wel:
“we haven herd, sein be prophecye
that God in Erthe here scholde dye
Forto saven the Synneris here,
that of Adam and Eve come in fere.
Anon wenten we thanne hem to prove,
and evere weren they stedfast jn goddis love,
and the more turment we diden hem do,
Evere the ferthere they weren us fro,
So that evere in here moste peyne
To hem aperede he, in certeygne,
and hem comforted so wondirly wel,
that owre tormentes greved hem nevere a del,
and evere in here moste distresse
he hem deliverede to Sikirnesse.”

Lines 1-40 from “Merlin”

Now began the devil to be sore wrathful
(as after you should listen and hear well more),
when that our lord to hell went,
and took out Adam with good intent,
and also Eve, and many similar others,
that he liked to struggle with,
and when the devils beheld this,
much dread and terror they had, I assume.
So, as afterward long befell,
together they counselled, the devils, full eagerly,
and arranged them together in parliament,
the master devils, by agreement,
and said: “what kind of man is he, this,
that causes us all here such distress?
we are unable to overcome him despite our defences,
when he is ever in our presences,
and takes away from us that we should have,
and no strike we deliver or anything we do overcomes him.
For we supposed, full truly,
that no man born of woman’s body,
that were not over us all by right,
but he overcame us by his might.
Say, how is this human born,
by whom our right is thus forfeited?”
then answered another devil,
and, as he thought, answered well:
“have not we heard, and has since be prophesised
that God on Earth should die
For to save the sinners here,
that since Adam and Eve come in fear.
Again and again they came here to be punished.
and even if they were steadfast in god’s love,
and the more we tormented them,
Ever the further they resisted us.
So that ever here in the most pain,
To them appeared he, in certainty,
and them comforted so wonderfully well,
that our torments grieved them never a deal,
and ever in here most distress,
he them delivered to tranquillity.”

From: Lovelich, Henry and Kock, Dr. Ernst A. (ed.), Merlin, A Middle-English Metrical Version of a French Romance, by Henry Lovelich, Skinner and Citizen of London (ab. 1450 A.D.), Part 1, 1904, Early English Text Society: London, pp.

Date: 12th century (original in French); 15th century (translation in English)

By: Robert de Boron (late 12th-early 13th century)

Translated by: Henry Lovelich (15th century)

Friday, 7 April 2017

Proverb 4 by Iñígo López de Mendoza y de la Vega

Howe many have I seene,
by love advaunced hye?
But many more I have beheld
cast downe for tyranny.
For vertuous minds in bondage brought,
will slacke no time, but trie
By all the force and meanes they can,
to come to libertie.

From: Santillana, Iñigo López de Mendoza, Marqués de, Googe, Barnabe, Pedro, de Toledo, Bishop of Málaga, The proverbes of the noble and woorthy souldier Sir Iames Lopez de Mendoza Marques of Santillana with the paraphrase of D. Peter Diaz of Toledo: wherin is contained whatsoever is necessarie to the leading of an honest and vertuous life. Translated out of Spanishe by Barnabe Googe, 2005, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. [unnumbered].

Date: 15th century (original in Spanish); 1579 (translation in English)

By: Iñígo López de Mendoza y de la Vega (1398-1458)

Translated by: Barnabe Googe (1540-1594)