Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Bernard de Ventadour (1140–1195)
Marvel is it if I Sing
Provençal Literature (The Troubadours), 1090–1290
Translation of Harriet Waters Preston

NO marvel is it if I sing
  Better than other minstrels all,
  For more than they am I love’s thrall,
And all myself therein I fling:
Knowledge and sense, body and soul,        5
  And whatso power I have beside:
  The rein that doth my being guide
Impels me to this only goal!
His heart is dead whence doth not spring
  Love’s odor sweet and magical;        10
  His life doth ever on him pall
Who knoweth not that blessèd thing:
Yea, God who doth my life control
  Were cruel, did he bid me bide
  A month or even a day, denied        15
The love whose rapture I extol.
How keen, how exquisite the sting
  Of that sweet odor! At its call
  An hundred times a day I fall
And faint; an hundred rise and sing!        20
So fair the semblance of my dole,
  ’Tis lovelier than another’s pride:
  If such the ill doth me betide,
Good hap were more than I could thole!
Yet haste, kind Heaven, the sundering        25
  True swains from false, great hearts from small!
  The traitor in the dust bid crawl,
The faithless to confession bring!
Ah, if I were the master sole
  Of all earth’s treasures multiplied,        30
  To see my lady satisfied
Of my pure faith, I’d give the whole!
WHEN I behold on eager wing
  The skylark soaring to the sun,
Till e’en with rapture faltering        35
  He sinks in glad oblivion,
Alas, how fain to seek were I
  The same ecstatic fate of fire!
Yea, of a truth, I know not why
  My heart melts not with its desire!        40
Methought that I knew everything
  Of love. Alas, my lore was none!
For helpless now my praise I bring
  To one who still that praise doth shun;
One who hath robbed me utterly        45
  Of soul, of self, of life entire,
So that my heart can only cry
  For that it ever shall require.
For ne’er have I of self been king
  Since the first hour, so long agone,        50
When to thine eyes bewildering,
  As to a mirror, I was drawn.
There let me gaze until I die;
  So doth my soul of sighing tire,
As at the fount, in days gone by,        55
  The fair Narcissus did expire.
WHEN the sweet breeze comes blowing
  From where thy country lies,
Meseems I am foreknowing
  The airs of Paradise.        60
So is my heart o’erflowing
  For that fair one and wise
Who hath the glad bestowing
  Of life’s whole energies;
  For whom I agonize        65
Whithersoever going.
I mind the beauty glowing,
  The fair and haughty eyes,
Which, all my will o’erthrowing,
  Made me their sacrifice.        70
Whatever mien thou’rt showing,
  Why should I this disguise?
Yet let me ne’er be ruing
  One of thine old replies:—
  “Man’s daring wins the prize,        75
But fear is his undoing.”

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.