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Bardic Arts

I Say In Love, Folly's Supreme
Gerhardt von Nordflammen

Raimbaut:I say, in love, folly’s supreme.
The heart knows naught of good or ill.
When it sees love, its inmost dream,
It bolts and reason, measure, will
Are left guarding an empty stall.
For love, when it comes, must run free.
The fence of thought is first to fall
Love rushes through torrentially.
Gausbert:Folly’s easy, it’s there in love
Whether or not you ask for it.
Leaves me queasy, not thinking of
Whether the frenzy’s right or fit.
You see, might be, a mask for lust,
Or every manner of falsehood,
That kills the heart, that murders trust.
Love not what you’ve not understood.
Guiraut:Only lovers should speak of love
Folly, reason, they’re all just words.
The lark hovers, flies, wings above ...
What’s folly, reason, for the birds?
Which discovers the secret of
Soaring? Folly? Reason? Nay friends,
What uncovers is essence, love.
Being starts ... folly, reason, ends.
‘Tis birds nature to know of flight
And lovers to know of love’s ways.
Nomenclature? Thought? Too finite.
What makes lovers to know love plays ...
Dances ... stays sure in touch and sight.
‘Tis love makes lovers to know ... flow
On love’s way, pure unto the light.
Ai! ‘Tis love brings lovers to know.
Gausbert:Nonsense, Guiraut! What have you said?
You’ve made of love both means and end.
And hence, you’re caught. No light is shed
On light by light. Mix means and ends,
Pretense, all naught. Look, use your head
To understand one needs distance,
Prudence and thought. Aye a cool head
To sort out love from mere romance.
Raimbaut:I’ll still hold for love, folly’s best
Take your reason and all the rest.
Forget ‘em, they’ll not pass the test.
Love’s folly comes and all are blest,
Like it or not, it’s manifest:
With folly, love waxes fullest.
As with the wind which thunders truest
Unconstrained in a tempest.
Guiraut:I will foreswear none of love’s moods.
The gentle ones are as precious
As the fierce. Like sleep and waking
Each has a place within us.
Nor shall I take the path that broods ...
Makes fear for the sake of the making.
Love guides my love, aye, how woundrous!
There is much; life, death, God abovem
Known but by means of themselves, such is love ...
Folly, reason, come between us.
Gausbert:Gausbert’s near done. One might suppose
He’d ramble on, refute his foes.
But screw it, while the hot air blows,
He’ll clam up ... for he really knows.
Raimbaut:I say in love, folly’s supreme.
I’ve proved my point in vers I deem.
Though my poor wit makes no vers gleam,
Hold not my point in low esteem.

In the Partimen style -- "A debate between more than two people (as opposed to the Tenso, or dialogue) on a question of love, politics, courtesy, whatever." -- GvN
Guiraut is Gerhardt's "alter-ego", this is from a series of poems Gerhardt published in his second folio.
© 1984, Lawrence Hyink III

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