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En cossirer e en esmai

Bernard de Ventadorn 1135 – 1194



En cossirer et en esmai
sui d'un amor que.m lass'e.m te,
que tan no vau ni sai ni lai
qu'ilh ades no.m tenh' en so fre,
c' aras m'a dat cor e talen
qu' eu enqueses, si podia,
tal que, si.l reis l'enqueria,
auria faih gran ardimen.

Ai las, chaitius! e que.m farai?
ni cal cosselh penrai de me?
Qu'ela no sap lo mal qu'eu trai
ni eu no.lh aus clamar merce.
Fol nesci! ben as pauc de sen,
qu'ela nonca t' amaria
per nom que per drudaria,
c'ans no.t laisses levar al ven!

E doncs, pois atressi.m morrai,
dirai li l'afan que m'en ve?
Vers es c'ades lo li dirai.
no farai, a la mia fe.
si sabia c'a un tenen
en fos tot' Espanha mia;
mais vol morir de feunia
car anc me venc en pessamen.

Pois messatger no.lh trametrai
ni a me dire no.s cove,
negu cosselh de me no sai;
mais d'una re me conort be:
ela sap letras et enten,
et agrada.m qu'eu escria
los motz, e s'a leis plazia,
legis los al meu sauvamen.

(In anguish and torment am I because of a love that grips and holds me so that I can go neither here nor there without her holding me in her harness. And now I have courage and desire to court, if I can, one who, if the King himself were to pursue her, he would show great audacity.

Alas, unhappy one that I am! What shall I do? What counsel shall I take? For she does not know the sorrow that I bear, nor do I dare beg her for mercy. Fool, you have little understanding, since she will never love you, neither in name nor through intimacy. Let yourself be blown away by the wind. And so, since I must die, shall I confess to her my sorrow? Truly, I should do it right away. I won't do it, by my faith, even if I knew that all Spain would be mine. I would rather die of shame than to have entertained such a thought.

Since I shall not send her a messenger, and it is not fitting for me to speak myself, I don't know how to advise myself. But one thing consoles me: she knows the alphabet, and how to read, and I enjoy writing words, and if she pleases, may she read them so that I may be saved.)

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:10 min read
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Bernard de Ventadorn

Bernart de Ventadorn, also known as Bernard de Ventadour or Bernat del Ventadorn, was a prominent troubadour of the classical age of troubadour poetry. He was born in 1135, and died in 1194. Now thought of as "the Master Singer" he developed the cançons into a more formalized style which allowed for sudden turns. He is remembered for his mastery as well as popularisation of the trobar leu style, and for his prolific cançons, which helped define the genre and establish the "classical" form of courtly love poetry, to be imitated and reproduced throughout the remaining century and a half of troubadour activity. Bernart was known for being able to portray his woman as a divine agent in one moment and then, in a sudden twist, as Eve – the cause of man's initial sin. This dichotomy in his work is portrayed in a "graceful, witty, and polished" medium. more…

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