L'estoile d'aube vas a se couchier
L’estoile d’aube vas a se couchier,
Et devez vos, faz dementer.
Si mon oeil avez encontrer
Vos figure doit a detorner,
Por nul ne set que nos avons:
N’amor n’est que’l nos atornons.
The star of dawn goes to lie down,
And you should also, I lament.
If my eye you chance to meet
Your face should turn away,
So no one knows of what we have:
No love exists like the one we make.
This piece is the eighth 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 the first in this series to be based not on a troubadour poem, but rather on a German Minnesinger one (somewhat interesting for the circularity here, considering how much the Minnesingers looked to the troubadours), a piece called “Der tunkele sterne sam der birget sich” (“The morning star goes under cover”) by the early almost-anonymous Minnesinger Der von Kürenberg (“the one from Kürenberg”). I really liked the German piece—so much so that I wrote a Middle English piece called “Nou goth to reste the starre of morne” based on it. To be fair, the French piece here has six lines, like my Middle English one—the original had only 4. Also, the rhyme scheme here is AAAABB rather than AABB(CC for the M.E. version)—but the -er ending is so easy to continue in French (many verbs end in that) I just went with the flow of writing. I don't think it detracts from the spirit of the poem or its inspiration(s) at all.