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Translation

The Poem/Song
1 Good was the world in the time of the ancients,
For there was faith, and justice and love.
There was also trust, from which there is no profit now.
The world is all changed, it has lost its brightness,
Never again will it be as it was for our ancestors
5
2 In the time of Noah and in the time of Abraham
And of David, whom God loved so much,
Good was the world; never again will it be so worthy.
It is old and frail and sinking into decline,
It has grown worse, all good is being neglected.
10
3 Since that time when God came to save us,
Our ancestors held the Christian faith.
There was a lord in the city of Rome,
He was a great lord, of high nobility.
I am telling you this, because I wish to speak about a son of his.
15
4 Eufemien, that was the father’s name,
Was a count of Rome, among the best there were at that time,
More than all his peers the emperor loved him.
He married an upright and honourable woman,
One of the noblest in the whole land.
20
5 Then they lived together for a long time.
They had no child, this grieves them greatly,
And they both call on God devoutly:
“Oh! Heavenly King, by your command,
Give us a child who may be pleasing in your sight!”
25
6 So hard did they pray to him in great humility
That he made the wife fertile.
He gives them a son, and they were very grateful to him for this.
They brought him to new life in holy baptism,
And give him a fine name according to Christian custom.
30
7 He was baptised and was called Alexis.
She who bore him had him tenderly brought up,
Then his good father put him to school.
He learned his letters so that he was proficient.
Then the boy goes off to serve the emperor.
35
8 When the father sees that he will have no other children
Apart from this only one whom he loved so dearly,
Then he thinks about the future.
He wants his son to marry whilst he is still alive,
So he obtains for him the daughter of a noble Frank (or, perhaps, freeman).
40
9 The girl was of very high birth,
The daughter of a count in the city of Rome,
Who has no other child; he wants to do his very best for her.
The two fathers go and speak of this together
They want to unite their two children.
45
10 They fix the day of their wedding.
When it came to the doing of it, they do things handsomely,
Lord Alexis marries her in fine style.
But it is an arrangement he would have preferred nothing of,/
 

Transcription

Bons fut li secles al tens ancienur quer/ feit i ert e iustise & amur · si ert creance/ dunt ore n’i at nul prut · tut est muez/ p[er]dut ad sa colur ia mais n’iert tel cum/ fut as anceisurs · Al tens noe & al tens/ abraha[m] & al david qui deus par amat/ tant bons fut li secles iamais n’ert si vailant/ velz est e frailes tut s’en vat remanant [declinant is the reading of MSS A and P. The copyist’s eye has here strayed ahead to the end of the next line of verse.] / s’ist ampairet tut bien vait remanant· / Puis icel tens q[ue] d[eu]s nus vint salver nostra/ anceisur ourent cristientet · si fut un/ sire de rome la citet rices hom fud de/ grant nobilitet pur hoc vus di d’un son filz voil parler ·/ [E missing]ufemien si out annum [error for a num] li pedre · cons fut de rome des melz/ ki dunc i eret · sur tuz ses pers l’amat li emperere · dunc p[ri]st/ muiler vailante & honurede · des melz gentils de tuta la/ cuntretha · Puis converserent ansemble longament n’ourent/ amfant peiset lur en forment · e deu apelent andui parfitem[en]t/ e reis celeste par ton cumandem[en]t · amfant nus done ki seit/ a tun talent · Tant li prierent par grant humilitet · q[ue] la/ muiler dunat fecunditet · un filz lur dunet si l’en sourent/ bont gret · de sain batesma l’unt fait regenerer · bel num li/ metent sur la cristientet · Fud baptizet si out num/ alexis · ki lui portat suef le fist nurrir · puis ad escole li bons/ pedre le mist · tant aprist letres que bien en fut guarnit/ puis vait li emfes l’emperethur servir · Quant veit li pedre/ que mais n’avrat amfant · mais que cel sul que il par amat/ tant · dunc se purpenset del secle an avant · or volt que p[re]nget/ moyler a sun vivant · dunc li acatet filie d’un noble franc · / Fud la pulcela nethe de halt parentet · fille ad un conpta de/ rome la ciptet ·n’at mais amfant lui volt mult honurer/ ansemble an vunt li dui pedre parler · lur dous amfanz/ volent faire asembler · Doment [rubricator’s error for Noment] lur terme de lur adaise/ment · quant vint al fare dunc le funt gentem[en]t · danz alexis/ l’espuset belament · mais co est tel plait dunt ne volsist nient/

Translation

The Poem/Song
1 Good was the world in the time of the ancients,
For there was faith, and justice and love.
There was also trust, from which there is no profit now.
The world is all changed, it has lost its brightness,
Never again will it be as it was for our ancestors
5
2 In the time of Noah and in the time of Abraham
And of David, whom God loved so much,
Good was the world; never again will it be so worthy.
It is old and frail and sinking into decline,
It has grown worse, all good is being neglected.
10
3 Since that time when God came to save us,
Our ancestors held the Christian faith.
There was a lord in the city of Rome,
He was a great lord, of high nobility.
I am telling you this, because I wish to speak about a son of his.
15
4 Eufemien, that was the father’s name,
Was a count of Rome, among the best there were at that time,
More than all his peers the emperor loved him.
He married an upright and honourable woman,
One of the noblest in the whole land.
20
5 Then they lived together for a long time.
They had no child, this grieves them greatly,
And they both call on God devoutly:
“Oh! Heavenly King, by your command,
Give us a child who may be pleasing in your sight!”
25
6 So hard did they pray to him in great humility
That he made the wife fertile.
He gives them a son, and they were very grateful to him for this.
They brought him to new life in holy baptism,
And give him a fine name according to Christian custom.
30
7 He was baptised and was called Alexis.
She who bore him had him tenderly brought up,
Then his good father put him to school.
He learned his letters so that he was proficient.
Then the boy goes off to serve the emperor.
35
8 When the father sees that he will have no other children
Apart from this only one whom he loved so dearly,
Then he thinks about the future.
He wants his son to marry whilst he is still alive,
So he obtains for him the daughter of a noble Frank (or, perhaps, freeman).
40
9 The girl was of very high birth,
The daughter of a count in the city of Rome,
Who has no other child; he wants to do his very best for her.
The two fathers go and speak of this together
They want to unite their two children.
45
10 They fix the day of their wedding.
When it came to the doing of it, they do things handsomely,
Lord Alexis marries her in fine style.
But it is an arrangement he would have preferred nothing of,/
 

 

 

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