Friday, 22 February 2019

Dutch 14th century poem: 'Het daghet in den Oosten' in English


The dawn in the East is breaking

‘The dawn in the East is breaking.
Light everywhere is found;
Oh how my love knows little
Of where I must be bound.’

‘Oh, could they but be friends those
Who now as foes appear,
From this land I would take you,
My love, my darling dear!’

‘And where then would you take me,
You knight so bold of face?
In my love’s arms I lie in
More virtuous embrace.’

‘In your love’s arms you’re lying?
In faith! No truth you tell.
Seek out the green-leafed linden,
He lies there where he fell.’

The maiden put her cloak on
And to the linden sped,
Where lying on the ground she
Did find her true love dead.

‘And is it here you’re fallen,
All covered with your blood!
That comes from reckless boasting
And pride that bodes no good.

And is it here you’re fallen,
Who solace brought alway!
Now all that you have left me
Is many a mournful day.’

The maiden put her cloak on
And hastened o’er the ground
To where her father’s door stood
That she wide open found.

‘Oh, is there any squire here
Or some man nobly bred
Who’s willing to help bury
my love that now is dead?’

The gentlemen stayed silent,
Of speech they were bereft;
The maiden turned around then,
And shedding tears she left.

Within her arms she held him
And on his mouth did shower
More kisses in a short while
Than in so many an hour.

With his bare sword full-gleaming
The earth she dug away,
With snow-white arms she bore him
And in his grave did lay.

‘To some small far-off convent
I now my way will wend,
Henceforth black veils be wearing
And as a nun life end.’

With voice both clear and ready
The holy mass she sang
With snow-white hands so steady
The little bell she rang.


Monday, 18 February 2019

'Den dyre Kaabe' - a song from Queen Sophia's Song Book



Den dyre kaabe

Thett war skiønnen iomfrue,
hun ganger y lunden saa ienne:
møder hinder fouveren unger-suend
udi thi grønner enge.
:: Alt om en somerssens morgenn. ::

‘Well møtt, fowerenn ungen-suend,
udi thesse grønner ennge!
thager y begis wor kabe,
y reder oss enn seng theraff!’

‘Ieg breder icke min kabe under thig,
thend er aff skarlagen grøenn:
bliffuer hun et sind y dogenn bløtt,
hun rømper y huer end søem.

Ieg breder icke min kobe under thig,
hun er af skarlagenn niu:
allenn stod meg XV mark,
ieg kiøbtenn y Stackholems biu.’

‘Mynn moder hun bour her nør y by,
hun haffuer thi bolster fem:
y bider meg, fouveren unger-suend,
men ieg henther oss ien aff dem!

Min moder hun boer her nør y biu,
hun haffuer thi bolster ni:
y bider meg, fouvren unger-suend,
men ieg henther oss ien aff di!’

Hun slou kobenn øffuer hanns hoffuit,
bad, hannd skulde stannde och bide:
hun gick bourt, hun kom icke igienn,
hun sueg hannom under lide.

Hun slo kobenn offuer hanns hoffuit,
bad, hannd skulde bide enn stund:
hun gick bourtt, kom aller igienn,
hun sueg hannom mange fald.

Bourtt tha gick thenn skiønne iomfrue,
saa hierthelig hun loe:
hindis kabe thend war aff gyldenn-støcke,
hindis kiorttell paa iorden drog.

Hand stod ther y dag, hannd stod ther y tho,
udi thi grønne ennge:
icke kom thend skiønne iomfrue
med kleder thill thieris sennge.

Thett stod saa fra paaske
och enndthill pindtz-dags thide:
icke tha thuorde thennd unger-suend
thill kierkenn for thend iomfrue ride.

Thennd suend hannd kom for kiercke-døer,
och hand thennd iomfrue kiende:
‘Huor bleff the goude wille, wy haffde thill-sammell?
hui fick thet saa skiden en ende?’

‘Thett matt thu thacke din kabe for,
hun war aff skarlagen ny:
allen stod deg femttann marck,
thu kiøbt-en i Stackholoms by.

Thet matt thu thacke din kabe for,
thu hagde then alt saa kier:
hagde hun bløffuen y dogen bløtt,
hun hagde rømpet y huerende søm.

Hør thu, herre Mognos!
alt om thu wilt mig thro:
ieg bød theg enganng ett hoffmandtz-bud,
thu thuord icke thage ther-emod.

Hagde ieg werit en skiøn unger-suend som thu,
och hagde meg en iomfrue møtt:
hagde min kobe werit aff gyllden-støcker,
y dogen thuorde ieg hinder bløtt.’

:: Alt om en somerssens morgen. ::


The costly cloak

There was a beautiful maiden
she walks in a grove on her own:
a handsome man chances to meet her there
in green meadows all alone.
:: All on a bright summer morning.::

‘Well met, you fine and handsome young man,
out in these meadows so green!
take you our cloaks and make us a bed
that’s fit for a king and his queen!’

‘My cloak I will never spread under you,
it’s made of best scarlet so green:
were it made the merest bit moist by dew
it would come apart at each seam!

My cloak I will never spread under you,
of fine new scarlet it’s wrought:
full XV marks by the ell it cost –
in Stockholm town it was bought.’

‘My mother lives near in the town due north,
five cushions no less does she own:
just wait for me, you handsome young man,
while I fetch one now for our throne!

My mother lives near in a town due north,
nine cushions no less does she own:
just wait for me, you handsome young man,
while I fetch one to grace our throne!’

Over his head she spread his cloak,
she bade him wait and stand still:
off she went, and did not come again,
she tricked him below the hill.

Over his head she spread his cloak,
she bade him wait for a while:
off she went, and did not come again,
she tricked him there with great guile.

Off the lovely maiden went,
laughed at him then with great mirth:
her cloak it was of gold brocade
her kirtle it touched the earth.

He stood there one day, he stood there two,
out in the meadow so fair;
the lovely maiden ne’er returned
with clothes for to line their lair.

So things stood from Easter
right up to Whitsuntide:
the young man all that time for the maid
to the church did not dare ride.

The young man came then to the church,
where he recognised the maid:
‘What became of the goodwill we once shared?
why have I been so betrayed?’

‘That you must thank your fine cloak for
the one of new scarlet wrought:
that cost you XV marks by the ell
and in Stockholm town was bought.

That you must thank your fine cloak for,
that too dear to you has been:
the one that if moistened by the dew
would come apart at each seam!

Just listen here, Sir Magnus!
Believe it or not, it’s true:
You did not dare accept what I
most graciously once offered you.

Had I been a handsome man like you,
and a maiden I had met:
though my cloak had been of gold brocade
with dew I’d have let it get wet.’
:: All on a bright summer morning. ::


Danish medieval ballad: 'Hr. Torbens datter og hendes faderbane' in English translation


Torbens datter og hendes faderbane

Vi vare saa mange søskende smaa,
              – under lide –
saa aarlig faldt os faderen fraa.
Der dagen han dages, og duggen den driver saa vide.

Om en søndag ad aften skured de deres spjud,
              – under lide –
om en mandag ad morgen rede de saa vrede ud.
       Der dagen han dages, og duggen den driver saa vide.

Der de komme for norden skov,
der gik hr. Torben og holdt sin plov.

‘Her gaar du hr. Torben, favr og fin,
jeg vil nu have bod for frænde min.’

‘Jeg vil give eder hus og gaard,
dertil min datter, saa væn en maar.’

‘Vi er ikke kommen for hus eller jord,
men vi er kommen for dit hjerteblod.’

Saa hugge de hr. torben saa smaa
alt som løv, udi lunden laa.

Saa rede de til hr. Torbens gaard,
ude stod hans datter, den væne maar.

Ude stod hans datter, saa smal som en vaand,
met et guldkar paa hver sin haand.

Hun skænked deri med lyst og spil,
hun drak først sin faders banemand til.

‘Havde jeg vidst, du havde været saa god,
aldrig skulde jeg set din faders hjerteblod.’

‘Og har I slaget min fader til død,
da har I gjort mig saa stor en nød.’

‘Har jeg ikke gjort vel mod dig,
da skal du herefter have saa godt som jeg.’

Han satte hende paa ganger graa,
saa slog han over hende kaaben blaa.

Saa red han over de sorte heder,
              – under lide –
aldrig saa hun sin fader mere.
       Der dagen den dages, og duggen den driver saa vide.




Torben’s daughter and her father’s murderer

We all were his offspring but barely,
              – by the hillside –
when we all lost our father so early.
The day it is dawning, and dew it is drifting so worldwide.

On a Sunday evening their spears they did sharpen,
              – by the hillside –
On a Monday morning they rode, their hearts hardened.
       The day it is dawning, and dew it is drifting so worldwide.

North of the wood rode this fearsome band
and found Sir Torben, tilling his land.

‘Ah, handsome Sir Torben, with your consent,
To avenge my kinsman’s my firm intent.’

‘For this my house, my estate I’ll trade,
also my daughter, so fair a maid.’

‘We have not come here for house or for land,
Your own heart’s blood is what we demand.’

They hacked Sir Torben in pieces so small,
like leaves in the grove they looked withal.

Then off to Sir Torben’s estate they made
outside stood his daughter, the fair, sweet maid.

Outside stood his daughter,as slim as a wand,
with a golden vessel in either hand.

She filled them both full to quench their thirst,
she toasted her father’s murderer first.

‘Had I but known you were kind and good,
I’d never have shed your father’s heart’s blood.’

‘If my father you’ve killed, why then I confess,
You are the source of my great distress.’

‘Should I unkindly to you have been,
From now on you’ll live just as well as me.'

He placed her then on his ash-grey steed,
With a blue cloak covered her in her need.

Then rode he over the ink-black moor
              – by the hillside –
Her father – she saw him never more
The day it is dawning, and dew it is drifting so worldwide.