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texts & translations

Je languis d’amere mort I languish in bitter agony


Sans avoir nul reconfort without receiving any comfort
De vous, ma tres douce amie, from you, my sweetest friend,
Si que ma joie est faillie and so my joy is finished
Se Pitié ne vous remort. if Pity does not move you.

Car le dolour que je port For the grief which I bear


Si souvent me point et mort so stabs and gnaws at me
Que vivre je ne puis mie that I surely cannot survive

Longuement en tel deport, long in this state,


Se par vo tres dous acort unless through your sweetest accord
N’ai de vous aucune aÿe. I have some aid from you.

Dont je suis en desconfort, Thus I live in distress,


Quar Fortune, a si grant tort, for Fortune, most wrongly,
M’est adès si anemie is my constant enemy,
Et Espoir, qui ne dort mie, and Hope, who never sleeps,
Si m’eslongue de son port. banishes me from her port.

Je languis d’amere mort… I languish in bitter agony…

Je vivroie liement, I would live happily,


Douce creature, sweet creature,
Se vous saviés vraiement if you truly understood
Qu’en vous fust parfaitement that in you is
Ma cure. my perfect cure.

Dame de maintieng joli, Lady of fair comportment,


Plaisant, nette et pure, pleasing, proper, and pure,
Souvent me fait dire “Ai mi” often I am forced to sigh “Ah me!”
Li maus que j’endure by the pains which I endure

Pour vous servir loyaument, For serving you loyally,


Et soiés seüre and be sure
Que je ne puis nullement that I cannot in any way
Vivre einssi, se longuement survive like this, if it lasts
Me dure. much longer.

Je vivroie liement… I would live happily…

Car vous m’estes sans mercy For towards me you are merciless
Et sans pité dure, and hard, without pity,
Et s’avés le cuer de mi and you have thrust my heart
Mis en tel ardure into such fire

Qu’il morra certeinnement That it will certainly die


De mort trop obscure, a most dismal death,
Se pour son aligement if for its relief
Merci n’est prochainement your mercy is not soon
Meüre. ripe.

Je vivroie liement… I would live happily…


Quiconques veult d’amours joïr Whoever wishes to enjoy love
Doit avoir Foy et Esperance. must have Faith and Hope.
Sans ces deus ne puet nulls chevir Without these two none can succeed—
Quiconques veult d’amours joïr, whoever wishes to enjoy love—
Car l’un tient l’amant en desir, for the one keeps the lover burning with desire
E l’autre li donne alejance. and the other gives him relief.
Quiconques veult d’amours joïr Whoever wishes to enjoy love
Doit avoir Foy et Esperance. must have Faith and Hope.

En amer a douce vie To be in love is a sweet life


Et jolie, and a happy one
Qui bien la scet maintenir, for him who knows how to live it,
Car tant plaist la maladie, for the malady is so pleasing
Quant norrie when it is fed
Est en amoureus desir, with amorous desire,
Que l’amant fait esbaudir that it emboldens the lover
Et querir to discover
Comment elle monteplie. how it multiplies.
C’est dous maus a soustenir, It is a sweet trouble to bear,
Qu’esjoir which brings joy to
Fait cuer d’ami et d’amie. the heart of a lover and his lady.

Qu’Amours par sa signourie For Love by her sovereignty


Humelie abases
L’amoureus cuer a souffrir, the loving heart to suffer,
Et par sa noble maistrie and by her noble mastery
Le maistrie, rules it,
Si qu’il ne puet riens sentir so that it can feel nothing
Que tout au goust de joïr but that which tastes wholly of joy
Par plaisir through pleasure:
Ne prengne, je n’en doubt mie. of this I have no doubt.
Einsi saous de merir, Thus in full she rewards,
Sans merir, without their earning it,
Fait cuer d’ami et d’amie. the heart of a lover and his lady.

Si doit bien estre cherie So Love must be cherished


Et servie, and served,
Quant elle puet assevir so much can she help
Chascun qui li rueve et prie everyone who seeks and prays for
De s’aïe, her aid,
Sans son tresor amenrir. without diminishing her treasure.
De la mort puet garentir She can protect from death
Et garir and heal
Cuer qui de santé mendie; a heart that begs for health;
De souffisance enrichir she enriches with self-sufficiency
Et franchir and liberates
Fait cuer d’ami et d’amie. the heart of a lover and his lady.

Esperance qui en mon cuer s’embat Hope, which enters into my heart,
Sentir me fait d’amer la doulce vie, Makes me feel the sweet life of love,
Mais Faulx Dangier le refuse et debat But False Dominion refuses and battles
Esperance qui en mon cuer s’embat. Hope, which enters into my heart.
Cheoir ne puet se Franc Cuer ne le bat, He shall not fall unless fought by Sincere Heart,
Qui de doulcour tiengne la seignourie. Who is sovereign in sweetness.
Esperance qui en mon cuer s’embat Hope, which enters into my heart,
Sentir me fait d’amer la doulce vie. Makes me feel the sweet life of love.
En attendant d’amer la douce vie While awaiting the sweet life of love,
Fait Doulz Espoir labour estre plaisance. Sweet Hope turns labor into pleasure.
Dangier, Refus du tout l’amant desfie Danger and Refusal utterly defy the lover
En attendant d’amer la douce vie, who awaits the sweet life of love,
Ayns Grant Espoir forment au cuer le lie but Great Hope gives his heart strength
Pour gueroiier contre toute gravance. to do battle against all wrongs.
En attendant d’amer la douce vie While awaiting the sweet life of love,
Fait Doulz Espoir labour estre plaisance. Sweet Hope turns labor into pleasure.

Rose sans per, de toutes separée, Rose without peer, apart from all others,
Nulle ne se doit a vos comparer, none may be compared to you,
Car vos estes sur toutes coronée, for you are crowned above all,
Rose sans per, de toutes separée rose without peer, apart from all others,
Et de biauté la vraye flour parée: and true flower clothed in beauty,
Si chascuns vos doit bien apeler thus everyone should justly call you
Rose sans per, de toutes separée: rose without peer, apart from all others:
Nulle ne se doit a vos comparer. none may be compared to you.

Je voy mon cuer en un bactel nager I see my heart sail forth in a boat
Par haute mer sans juste gouvernaille; on the high seas, without a good captain;
Deux nautonniers a, dont chascun bouter two sailors has he, and each tries
Fait le bactel de refort et travaille. to steer the boat with vigorous effort.
Li uns se fait apeler Esperance, One of them is called Hope,
Li autres, Desiers; si atent desfiance, the other, Desire; thus a challenge awaits,
Et si dous Deus en ce rien ne le vaille. and gentle God is of no help in this.

En atendant souffrir m’estuet grief payne While waiting, I must suffer grievous pain
Et en languor vivre c’est ma destinée, and to live and languish is my destiny,
Puis qu’avenir ne puis a la fontayne, for I am unable to reach the fountain,
Tant est de ruissius entour avironée. so surrounded is it by streams.
Telle vertu si grant li a Dieu dounée God has granted it the very great virtue
Qu’el puet assouvir chascun a souffisance of refreshing everyone to the utmost
Par sa dignité et tres noble puissance. through its dignity and most noble power.

Les grans ruissiauz qui la font leur demaine The large streams which make their domain there
Si ont les conduis de la font estoupée, have so obstructed the passages of the fountain
Si c’on n’i puet trouver la droite vaine, that one cannot find the true source,
Tant est courompue l’iaue et troublée. so polluted and turbid is the water.
Gouster n’en puis une seule halenée I cannot taste a single mouthful
Si Unble Pité n’a de moy ramembrance if Humble Pity does not remember me
Par sa dignité et tres noble puissance. through its dignity and most noble power.

Si pri a Dieu que a droit la ramaine Thus I pray to God that he restore it
Et la purifie sanz estre entamée, and purify it without it being broached,
Quar verement, c’est chose bien certaine, for truly and most certainly
Je n’en puis aprochier nuit ne matinée. I cannot approach it by night or day,
Et s’a moy estoyt qu’ainsi fust ordenee, and if it could be so arranged for me,
Je vivroye en espoir d’avoyr bone estance I would live in the hope of having good health
Par sa dignité et tres noble puissance. through its dignity and most noble power.
En attendant, Esperance conforte While waiting, Hope comforts
L’omme qui vuolt avoir perfeccion: the man who seeks perfection:
En attendant se deduc et deporte, while waiting, she amuses and entertains him,
En attendant li proumet guerredon, while waiting, she promises him reward,
En attendant passe temps et sayson, while waiting, time and seasons pass,
En attendant met en li sa fiance: while waiting, he places his trust in her.
De toulz ces mets est servis a fayson From all these dishes is amply served
Cilz qui ne sceit vivre sans Esperance. the man who cannot live without Hope.

Esperance tient overte la porte, Hope holds open the door


Adont chascuns puet avoir guarison. through which each may find healing.
Esperance est de si noble sorte Hope is of such noble make
Que cilz ne doit prendre confusion that he who has her with him
Qui l’a o soy, et sanz li ne puet on should never come to harm, and without her
Avoir loing temps de playsir habundance: one cannot long enjoy pleasure’s abundance:
Dont prendre assés puet consolacion from which he can take some consolation,
Cilz qui ne sceit vivre sans Esperance. the man who cannot live without Hope.

Pour ce conoy et voy qu’elle m’ennorte Therefore I acknowledge and see that she exhorts me
A li tenir, et j’ay cause et rayson to hold to her, and I have cause and reason,
Quar ja schay bien que s’elle estoit morte for I know well that if she were dead
Pou y veroit le mien entencion. my intent would come to little.
Dont je vos pris en ma conclusion Thus, in conclusion, I beg you
Que Bel Acueil priés pour m’alagance: to pray to Fair Welcome for my relief:
En attendant suy [sanz] presoncion while waiting I am, without presumption,
Cilz qui ne sceit vivre sans Esperance. the man who cannot live without Hope.