Thibaut de Champagne (1201 - 1253 / France)
Mercy, my lady! One thing I ask you,
‘Mercy, my lady! One thing I ask you,
As God may bless you, answer me fairly:
When you are dead, and I – for it’s true
After you there can be no life for me –
What of Love, without our company?
For there’s such wisdom and worth in you
And I love so: after us, He’ll not be.’
‘Before God, Thibaut, I judge it true
No one’s death ever killed Love. I see
You mean perhaps to mock me too,
Since you don’t seem wasted much to me.
When we’re dead (Long may our lives be!)
I’m sure Love will suffer a pang or two,
But Love’s worth holds for eternity.’
‘Lady, you mustn’t merely imagine
But know in your heart I love you deeply.
That is why I have put on flesh again,
This joy makes me love myself more dearly:
For God never made a creature so lovely
As you, but it makes me fear that when
We die it will end all Love completely.’
‘Thibaut, silence! No one should begin
A discussion developed so foolishly.
It’s only your means of softening
My heart, when you’ve already beguiled me.
I don’t say I hate you, certainly,
But if Love’s fate’s left for me to sing,
He would still be served honourably.’
‘Lady God grant that you judge aright
And see the ills that you make me suffer:
Since I well know, that if die I might,
Whatever the judgement Love will wither,
If you, Lady, don’t keep him together,
In the place he has always occupied:
To your wisdom aspires no other.’
‘Thibaut, if Love is making you suffer,
For me, don’t regret it, if I love ever,
Mine is a heart that will fail you never.’
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