Paul Blackburn
from Proensa An Anthology of Troubadour Poetry
Selected and Translated by Paul Blackburn

Pierre Vidal - Una canso ai faita mortalmen


One canso I've made murderously,
so much so
I don't know how I did it.
Evening, morning, day or night
I am not master of my thought,
less of my heart.
Another time when great
incertitudes were in the balance-pan,
there came to me from Love so overwhelming a
proof of my luck,
I began to make a canso on the spot.
It went like that.

But why keep me in such a confusion?
She must know that nothing ever pleased me so much.
From that first hour,
the first touch,
I could not split my heart, my love, my mind a
way from what I'd found. So
that now if she harms me, it's bound to be
a disaster for me.
But if she gives me token
of accord and friendship, then it's certain
she couldn't offer greater grace or mercy.
And if she need a reason to be right,
let it
be that her love sustains me.

But I don't believe at all in her desire, though
she speak and smile and make me promises.
No woman ever lied more agreeably
or with such cleverness.
But I can't help believing when she speaks,
on such peak
of ecstasy
her words put me.
But if she speak truth,
not France and I the king of all would make
me feel so happy and peaceful.
But no, she has no heart or good will in the wrangle.

No one ever loved so crazily,
not even he,
the squire who died at table.
I also die
but she kills more slowly,
and she knows
to do it courteously.
She does not strike with lance or cut with knife
but with soft words and pleasant-seeming welcome.
There you have the weapons she fights me with,
ever since I've known her,
and will
if she keeps me on.

To complete t he inventory of her arsenal
I can't forget
beauty, God-given entirely,
nor has he
taken one whit from her:
intelligence, perfect,
perfectly sincere and always gay.
I get this way
because she
does not permit me her love.
Yet they say
one can get fresh water from the sea, which gives me
hope that genius, say, and mind, and
the fact that she does not reject me wholly
will find me Joy someday.

Nothing else can quell
or allay this fire.

Lady cure me, don't
stand and watch me die, a Lazarus,
of this sweet sickness.
My running away from it's no good,
my eyes play tricks.
When I leave
I see your beauty before me upon all the roads,
can neither go
nor go back.
May I die accursed in hell
if I had the whole world and lacked

and things stood well.