Je voil que ne faz a chanter
Je voil que ne faz a chanter,
Por le m’amor esforcie
Com l’espoir fait a depecier.
Croi de la que ne m’embrasse.
Pri toujours que me mercie,
Por quoi voil que ele m’amor clame.
Si sa grace ne recevoirai,
Criem que de dolor morrai.
O! Cuer, por quoi ne fais aler
Cez chaaines d’amor que semble
Tu sarcueu? Les doit oublier,
Solt cest cors de tristesse grande.
Si seit autre molt bele dame
Qui ait de m’amor la grace.
Si la vit, ceste proie chasserai!
Savons bien nul amerai.
M’amie douz que m’empirie,
Plor de dolor, me pardonne,
Por tu merci demanderai
Et baiser, si l’avoir porrai.
I wish that I could not sing,
For doing so only causes my love to strengthen
And my hope to shatter.
I think of she who does not embrace me.
I pray always that she will reward me,
For I wish she would proclaim my love.
Or if I do not receive her grace,
I fear I shall die of grief.
O heart! Why can you not cast away
These chains of love that seem to be
Your coffin? You must forget them,
And absolve this body of its great misery.
If only there were another very beautiful lady
Who possessed the grace of my love.
If she lived, this prey I would hunt!
But we know well I will love no such one.
My sweet love who injures me,
Forgive me for crying out in pain.
I ask only for your mercy
And kiss, if I am able to gain it.
This piece is the sixth in a series of poems dedicated to my good friend (and patroness) Maitresse Aenor d'Anjou. When I entered into her service (and the service of her lord and husband, Master Efenwealt Wystle), one of our agreements was that I would compose poems in her honor. What is more medieval, I thought (and still think!) then to write love poems to a married noblewoman? As a result, I have been trying to write at least one poem a month for her. I have also attempted to make these poems work as songs by coupling the lyrics with existing tunes (technically called contrafacta). See my list of poems for the other chansons in this series.
This poem is based in form (8-syllable lines, maintained ABABBBCC rhyme scheme throughout the two main stanzas with BBCC in the envoi) on La Comtessa de Dia’s “Fin ioi me dona alegranssa” and in content on Castelloza’s “Ia de chantar non degra aver talan.” Both are collected in: Bruckner, Matilda et al, ed. Songs of the Women Troubadours. New York: Garland Publishing, 1995. pp. 12-17.