Posts tagged ‘guillem de cabestany’

Monday, 11 March 2019

Love Keeps Me Pondering How I May Best by Guillem de Cabestany

Love keeps me pondering how I may best
Compose for my belov’d a joyous song,
For her to whom my heart and soul belong,
Whom Love made me to choose from all the rest,
And whom he hath ordained I must adore
And serve and honour faithfully and purely;
And I do, my love for her full surely
From day to day grows better and grows more.

Full well has Love cured me of the despair
Which long he made me suffer, and the woe;
Unjust it was of him to treat me so,
For almost I was forced to turn elsewhere.
If he is wise, now let him bear in mind
That in a little while luck often changes;
He who ill-treats his subjects oft estranges
Others who’d serve him well if he were kind.

For you must know, my lords, I have heard tell
How once a powerful Emperor of yore
Oppressed his barons grievously, wherefore
His pride was humbled and his power fell.
And so I pray my noble beauteous one
Not to ill-treat her lover too extremely,
For gentleness in everything is seemly,
And one repents too late when harm is done.

Dear lady, best of all the best that can be,
In whom all charm and all delight do meet,
Love for your sake holds me in prison sweet;
I tell you this that it may profit me.
God grant me life until the day is past
When I shall lie within your arms’ embraces,
For unto me than this no greater grace is
In all the world, and while the world shall last.

And lady, since of treasure you’ve great store
—For the world holds none nobler or more fair—
Let not, I pray, my true love and my care
Be vain; the richer a man is, the more
Should he reward good service which men do,
For it is just and right, I tell you truly,
Evil should be repaid by evil duly
And good by good—nought else I ask of you.

My tears and sighs have been a thousand quite,
Also, so fear I nought to gain of worth
When I reflect upon your noble birth
And how you are of all the flower and light,
And how I know you precious, sweet and fair,
And how you are true, pure, in faith unbroken,
And how by all men it is sworn and spoken
That never woman like you breathed the air.

Take pity of your goodness on my plight,
Heed not your greatness, lady, but have care
For the true love that in my heart you’ve woken,
And for my faith that never will be broken,
Since all my love for you alone I bear.

From: Smythe, Barbara (ed. and transl.), Trobador Poets: Selections from the Poems of Eight Trobadors, 2000, In parentheses Publications: Cambridge, Ontario, pp. 167-168.
(https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Trobador_Poets.html?id=JxUxG4yHh-4C)

Date: c1200 (original in Occitan); 1911 (translation in English)

By: Guillem de Cabestany (1162-1212)

Translated by: Barbara Smythe (1882-19??)

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