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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Arnaut de Maroill (1170–1200): Softly Sighs the April Air

By Provençal Literature (The Troubadours), 1090–1290

Translation of Harriet Waters Preston

SOFTLY sighs the April air

With the coming of the May;

Of the tranquil night aware,

Murmur nightingale and jay;

Then, when dewy dawn doth rise,

Every bird, in his own tongue,

Wakes his mate with happy cries,—

All their joy abroad is flung.

Gladness, lo, is everywhere,

When the first leaf sees the day:

And shall I alone despair,

Turning from sweet love away?

Something to my heart replies

Thou too wast for rapture strung:

Wherefore else the dreams that rise

Round thee, when the year is young?

One than Helen yet more fair,

Loveliest blossom of the May,

Rose tints hath and sunny hair,

And a gracious mien and gay;

Heart that scorneth all disguise,

Lips where pearls of truth are hung:

God who gives all sovereignties

Knows her like was never sung.

Though she lead through long despair,

I would never say her nay,

If one kiss—reward how rare!—

Each new trial might repay.

Swift returns I’d then devise,

Many laborers but not long;

Following so fair a prize,

I could never more go wrong.