Nou goth to reste the starre of morne
Nou goth to reste the starre of morne,
And wel myghte yhowe, lady hea-borne,
Hwan my vysagge yow hap to se.
To othre ye ytorned be,
And noon of hwat we haue may knowe:
Than loue of oures ner bene more trowe.
Now the morning-star goes to rest,
And so might you, high-born lady,
When you happen to see my face.
Your eye should be turned to another:
And no one will know of what we have:
There has never been a love as true as ours.
This is a new experiment for me. Normally, I like to steal existing lyric structures (rhyme schemes and metrical bases) and mess around with the same genre that the song being ripped off belongs to. In this case, I have not only taken the essential rhyme scheme from an existing poem (a four-line AABB original; mine is 1/3 longer) but also the basic text from the original, modified to sound “better” as far as Middle English goes. The original poem is from the repertoire of the unnamed 12th c. Minnesinger Der von Kürenberg (“the one from Kürenberg”), called “Der tunkele sterne sam der birget sich” (“The morning star goes under cover”). I was inspired to poetic plagiarism by the initial line, which reminded me of the Middle English religious lyric “Nou goth sonne vnder wod” (“Now goes the sun under the wood”). Given that the troubadours, trouvères, and their counterparts in n. Italy, the Iberian peninsula, and Germany all basically traded ideas and songs, I figured it wasn’t that much of a stretch to try and put a German song into rustic Middle English (though admittedly the ME poem does sound a bit later than the mid-12th century – more like a century later, at least). I’m pleased with the result, though – and I’ll probably try this again with other texts, both in Middle English and in Old French (and I have since written an Old French version of this poem: “L'estoile d'aube vas a se couchier”).
"Der tunkele sterne sam der birget sich" can be found in: Goldin, Frederick, ed. German and Italian Lyrics of the Middle Ages: Original Texts, with Translations and Introductions. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, 1973. pp. 9.