Out of the Sweetness of the Spring
William of Poitiers (1071-1127). Troubadour poet. Translated from Occitane.
Out of the sweetness of the spring,
The branches leaf, the small birds sing,
Each one chanting in its own speech,
Forming the verse of its new song,
Then is it good a man should reach
For that for which he most does long.
From finest sweetest place I see
No messenger, no word for me,
So my heart can’t laugh or rest,
And I don’t dare try my hand,
Until I know, and can attest,
That all things are as I demand.
This love of ours it seems to be
Like a twig on a hawthorn tree
That on the tree trembles there
All night, in rain and frost it grieves,
Till morning, when the rays appear
Among the branches and the leaves.
So the memory of that dawn to me
When we ended our hostility,
And a most precious gift she gave,
Her loving friendship and her ring:
Let me live long enough, I pray,
Beneath her cloak my hand to bring.
I’ve no fear that tongues too free
Might part me from Sweet Company,
I know with words how they can stray
In gossip, yet that’s a fact of life:
No matter if others boast of love,
We have the loaf, we have the knife!