Le Châtelain de Coucy (1170 - 1203 / Provence)
I thought to live without true love
All my life through to be at peace,
But this heart, once again, would prove
Its folly from which I had won free.
Greater the folly is in me
Than child crying foolishly
To possess the lovely star
He sees shining clear and far.
However much I may despair
Love has well rewarded me
For serving him with all the care
I possess, without treachery,
Making Folly’s King of me.
Let all beware his deceit
Who grants such a gift, we see,
To those who serve loyally.
If I show anger it’s no wonder
To one who wounds me so sore
God! If I had him in my power
For just one day and no more:
Then he’d pay for his folly
As God my witness be!
He’d pay with his death, unless
He vanquished my lady blessed.
Ay! Noble heart, that is so wise,
Don’t scorn all my foolishness.
I know I’ve not the slightest right
To love you, just a lover’s right:
But folly drives us recklessly
Like a storm-tossed ship at sea,
That’s blown where the wind will blow,
Until all’s wrecked and brought low.
My lady who lacks never a grace,
Generous, kind, show me mercy:
Since there’s no evil in that face
But all good shines there clearly,
You know from whence this folly
That takes my life comes to me.
To whom can I cry again,
Except to you, in pain?
Song, pay her your respects, she
Is my sweet folly, and please
Beg her for God and honour
Never to prove a traitor.
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