Guillem IX: Farai un vers de dreyt nien

Fari un vers de dreyt nien

I shall make a vers about
downright nothing, not
about myself or youth or love
          or anyone.
         I wrote it horseback dead asleep
        while riding in the sun.

I was born—don’t know the hour,
not blood nor choler has the power.
My humour’s neither sweet nor sour;
          not worth a drop
since the night they sorcered me
          on a mountaintop.

Don’t know if Im awake or sleep
if no one comes to fill me in.
My heart is nearly cleft with pain
          (it rather it were partial).
I wouldn’t give you a mouse for it
      by old Saint Martial.

I guess I’m sick enough to die,
know only what they tell me. I’ll
ask the doc for what I want, I
          don’t know what it can be.
I’ll recommend his doctoring if
      ever he can heal me, but
if I sicken and get worse, well
          maybe not, maybe not.

I have a friend, I don’t know who
for I have never seen her. So
she treats me neither well nor ill,
      I do not say I blame her.

But this argument is also nil, it
      is not worth a curse
since I’ve never had a Norman or
      a Frenchman in the house.

Never saw her and I love her
very much. It doesn’t matter if
she treats me straight or not, for I
      do very well without her,
and besides, I know another who is
      prettier and such.
Why, she is not worth a rooster, and
      this other one is rich!

Well. I’ve made the vers already, though
      I do not know of whom. And I shall
      send it to a friend of mine who’s
                  sitting in a room.
He will hand it to another near Anjou,
          a gravel pit, who may
send me back from out his box, someday,
                    the key to it.
        Box or vers, the key to it.

Translated by Paul Blackburn

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