Ma jeunesse loing en sin usai
Ma jeunesse loing en sin usai,
Al gran voler un pris cherchai
Qu’or sai que n’onque vraiment puet realisé,
Por n’importe que molt forment al j’ai clamé.
Donc de cele folie me tornai,
Ai creü, com encor errai,
Alors vos vis encor, del tens inaltéré,
Et cruis le voler toujours l’at demoré.
Me done vos amor, por sai
De vos grandement j’endurai.
M’embrasse pres de cel cuer molt douz qu’ai revé
D’entrer, et la de ma chere j’estrai amé.
In my long youth I led a life of sin,
Seeking for my great desires a reward
That I now understand could never truly be attained,
No matter how very loudly I had cried for it.
Then I turned away from that folly,
Or so I had believed, as still I erred,
And then I saw your face once more, untouched by time,
And I knew the desire, unceasing, has remained.
Grant me your love, for I know
I have suffered greatly for you.
Embrace me close to that sweetest heart, which I have dreamed
Of entering, and therein by my darling I will be loved.
This piece is the ninth 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 on the (I believe) Anonymous devotional trouvere piece, "Lonc tens ai usé ma vie." It consists of five stanzas of 8/8/12/12 syllabic lines, whose rhyme scheme appears to my untrained eye to be AAAA, but the book in which I found it lists the scheme as AABC. I compromised and went with an AABB pattern - one very common to trouvere and troubadour works.
Epstein, Marcia Jenneth. 'Prions en Chantant': Devotional Songs of the Trouveres. Toronto: U of Toronto Press, 1997.