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

Guillaume de Poitiers (1190–1227): Behold the Meads

By Provençal Literature (The Troubadours), 1090–1290

Translation of Harriet Waters Preston

BEHOLD the meads are green again,

The orchard-bloom is seen again,

Of sky and stream the mien again

Is mild, is bright!

Now should each heart that loves obtain

Its own delight.

But I will say no ill of love,

However slight my guerdon prove;

Repining doth not me behove:

And yet—to know

How lightly she I fain would move

Might bliss bestow!

There are who hold my folly great,

Because with little hope I wait;

But one old saw doth animate

And me assure:

Their hearts are high, their might is great,

Who well endure.

DESIRE of song hath taken me,

But sorrowful must my song be;

No more pay I my fealty

In Limousin or Poitiers,

Since I go forth to exile far,

And leave my son to stormy war,

To fear and peril; for they are

No friends who dwell about him there.

What wonder then my heart is sore

That Poitiers I see no more,

And Fulk of Anjou must implore

To guard his kinsman and my heir?

If he of Anjou shield him not,

And he who made me knight, I wot

Many against the boy will plot,

Deeming him well-nigh in despair.

Nay, if he be not wondrous wise,

And gay, and ready for emprise,

Gascons and Angevins will rise,

And him into the dust will bear.

Ah, I was brave and I had fame,

But we are sundered, all the same!

I go to Him in whose great name

Confide all sinners everywhere.

Surrendering all that did elate

My heart,—all pride of steed or state,—

To Him on whom the pilgrims wait,

Without more tarrying, I repair.

Forgive me, comrade most my own,

If aught of wrong I thee have done!

I lift to Jesus on his throne

In Latin and Románs my prayer.

Oh, I was gallant, I was glad,

Till my Lord spake, and me forbade;

But now the end is coming sad,

Nor can I more my burden bear.

Good friends, when that indeed I die,

Pay me due honor where I lie:

Tell how in love and luxury

I triumphed still,—or here or there.

But farewell now, love, luxury,

And silken robes and miniver!