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Bardic Arts

Oh Gentle Friends, I Have a Mystery
Gerhardt von Nordflammen

Oh gentle friends, I have a mystery
For my true love is not my love you see.
Indeed, my domna seldom soothes my sight,
And when se does, ah, then I am happy,
And when she doesnít ... well I look for her.

All the wise trobar without one demur
Sweet Ventadornís and sour Rudelís all aver
That true loveís like to torment in its might
Which, though it may as joy or pain occur,
May be mistaken for no other thing.

My love is rain when the sun is shining
And one night in winter warm as the spring.
Whoíll make heads or tails of this strange delight,
Or from this enigma and answer wring
When dame nature seems mixed up about it.

My friends all give me doses of their wit.
Good counsel, but it doesnít help a bit,
ďFaster! Slower! Bolder! Milder!Ē Alright!
Iíve heard it all but nothing seems to fit.
Her worth transcends each tired scheme and plan.

All the same, Iíll do something if I can.
To touch and be touched, itís only human.
My heart is filled with longing day and night.
For she is all thatís sublime in woman
She is my soulís sole and sacred treasure.

Would that I had honor in her measure,
But I have none, save by her pleasure.
Aye, all my lusterís her reflected light,
My labor her repose, my toil, her leisure.
All my true worth, her effortless essence.

Friends, of all thatís fair she is the quintessence.
All base thought is banished in her presence.
Pray God she bends to ease me in my plight.
Iíll never know love without her lessons.
With her I would be saved, Iím damned alone.

Lady, what good sweet water poured on stone?
What hope in your mercy lest it be shown?
True love is not concealed or recondite.
In truth, it is well done when itís well known.
Let us share our joy, not our mystery.

Go friend to my dear lady this verse.
Tell her I scarce dare breath till she reply
Her yes will be all blessings, nay a curse.
Guiraut on bended knee begs her say ďayeĒ.

In the Canso style -- "A love song, usually addressed directly or indirectly to the woman (or man) who is the object of oneís passion." -- 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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