Chanson de Rencontre (d'Arras)

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Chanson de Rencontre
by Moniot d'Arras
A 13th century poem, a.k.a. "Ce fut en mai".

Translated by Cnadolski.

Old French English Translation

Ce fu en mai
Au douz tens gai,
Que la seson est bele;
Main me levai,
Jöer m’alai 5
Lez une fontenelle
En un vergier
Clos d’esglentier
Oï une vïele;
La vi dancier 10
Un chevalier
Et une damoisele.
Cors orent gent
Et avenant,
Et Deus! tant biau dançoient! 15
En acolant
Et en besant,
Mult biau se deduisoient !
En un destour,
Au chief du tor, 20
Dui et dui s’en aloient ;
Desor la flor,
Le gieu d’amor,
A lor plesir fesoient.
J’alai avant, 25
Trop redoutant
Que nus d’aus ne me voie,
Maz et pensant
Et disirant
D’avoir autretel joie 30
Lors vi lever
Un de lor per,
De si loin con g’estoie,
A apeler,
A demander 35
Qui sui et que queroie.
J’alai vers aus,
Dis lor mes maus:
Que une dame amoie
A qui loiaus 40
Sanz ester faus
Tout mon vivant serioe,
Por qui plus trai
Paine et esmai
Que dire ne porroie 45
Las, or morrai,
Car bien le sai,
S’ele ne mi ravoie.
Cortoisement
Et gentement 50
Chascun d’aus me ravoie
Et dïent tant
Que Deus briément
M’envoit de cele joie
Por qui je sent 55
Grant marrement;
Et je lor en rendoie
Merciz mult grant
Et, en plorant,
A Deu les commandoie. 60

It happened in May
In a sweet, happy time,
When the season is beautiful.
I got up in the morn
I went to have fun 5
Next to a small spring
In a walled garden
Closed about with wild roses
I heard a viol;
There I saw dancing 10
A knight
And a damsel
They had beautiful bodies
And were elegant
By God! they danced beautifully! 15
While embracing
And while kissing
They enjoyed themselves very prettily!
In an isolated place
Finally 20
Two by two they went off;
Amongst the flowers
Their game of love
They did whatever they wanted
I went ahead 25
Fearing very much
That one of them would see me
Sad and pensive
And wishing
To have that same joy 30
Then I saw get up
One of the two,
He, from across the long distance where I was
Called out
Asked me 35
Who I am and what I wanted
I went towards them
Told them of my ills:
That I loved one lady
To whom I would be loyal 40
Without being false
All my life
For whom I experience
Pain and heartache
Then I could say 45
Alas, now I will die,
For truly
If she does not return to me
With refinement
And nobility 50
Each of them put me on the right way
And said as much
That God will soon
Send some of the joy
From which I felt 55
Great pain
And I gave them
Great thanks
And, while crying
Commended them to God. 60