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Image © Hildesheim, St Godehard

Translation

  mother heard it:
She came running up like a woman out of her mind,
Clapping her hands, shouting, dishevelled:
She saw her son lying dead, and falls in a faint to the ground.
425
86 Anyone who saw her then expressing her great grief,
Beating her breast and throwing herself on the ground,
Tearing out her hair and scratching her face,
Drawing her dead child to her and embracing him,
Would have been very hard-hearted had they not felt constrained to weep
430
87 She pulls out her hair and beats her breast,
And subjects her own body to great pain:
“Oh my son,” she says, “how you hated me!
And I, in my grief, how very blind I was!
I no more recognised you than if I had never seen you before.”
435
88 She weeps and utters loud cries;
And ever laments: “It was a misfortune that I bore you, my fine son!
And what mercy did you have on your mother?
When you saw me wishing I were dead,
It is a great wonder that you were not seized with pity
440
89 Oh unfortunate, wretched woman that I am, what a dreadful time I have had!
Now I see all my offspring dead.
My long wait has ended in great grief.
Why did I bear you, suffering and ill-fated as I am?
It is a great wonder that my heart lasts so long.
445
90 Alexis, my son, you had a very hard heart,
When you demeaned all your noble lineage!
If you had spoken just once to me alone,
Your wretched mother, how you would have comforted her,
She suffers so. Dear son, you would have acted under good auspices!
450
91 Alexis, my son, alas for your soft young flesh!
In what suffering did you live out your youth!
Why did you run away from me? I carried you long ago in my womb,
And God knows that I am consumed with grief;
Never again will I be joyful on account of any man or woman.
455
92 Before I saw you, I longed for you:
Before your birth, I was very anxious;
When I saw you born, I was happy and joyful.
Now that I see you dead, I am grief-stricken.
It weighs heavily on me that my own end is so long delayed.
460
93 Lords of Rome, for the love of God, have mercy!
Help me to express my grief for my beloved.
Great is the grief which has come upon me,
I cannot help my heart being overcome with it.
It is no wonder: I have no other daughter or son.”
465
94 In the midst of the grief of the father and the mother
There came the maiden whom he had married.
“My lord,” she said, “what a long time
I have waited in your father’s house,
Where you left me grieving and distraught
470
95 My lord Alexis, I have missed you for so long,
[And I have shed so many tears for your absence,]
And so many times I have looked for you in the distance.
If you had come back to comfort your bride,
It would not have been from disloyalty or cowardice.
475
Note: The sense of line 475 is disputed. See the editions of Storey (1968: 117-8) and Perugi (2000: 243-4)
96 Oh my dearly beloved, alas for your handsome youth!
It grieves me that it will now decay in earth.
Oh, noble man, how sorrowful can I be!
I was expecting good news of you,
But now I see the news is so grim and bad!
480
97 Oh handsome mouth, handsome face, handsome form,
How your handsome face is changed!
I loved you more than any living being.
Such great grief has now come upon me!
It would be better for me, my beloved, if I were dead./
485

Transcription

medre · la vint curante cum femme forsenede · batant ses palmes criant/ eschevelede · vit mort sum filz a terre chet pasmede · Chi dunt li vit vit sun/ grant dol demener · sum piz debatre e sun cors dejeter · ses crins deru[m]pre/ e sen vis maiseler · sun mort amfant detraire & acoler · mult fust il/ dur ki n'estoust plurer · Trait ses chevels e debat sa peitrine · a grant/ duel met la sue carn medisme · e filz dist ele cum m'ous enhadithe · / e ío dolente cum par sui avoglie · nel cunuisseie plus que unches nel/ vedisse · Plurent si oil e si ietet granz criz · sempres regret mar te por/tai bels filz · e de ta medra quer aveies mercit · pur quem vedeies/ desirrer a murir · có est grant merveile que pietet ne t'en prist/ A lasse mezre cum oi fort aventure · or vei io morte tute ma por/teure · ma lunga atente a grant duel est venude · pur quei portai/ dolente malfeude · có est granz merveile que li mens quors tant/ duret · Filz alexis mult ous dur curage · cum avilas tut tun/ gentil linage · set a mei sole vels une feiz parlasses · ta lasse medre/ si la confortasses · ki si'st dolente · cher fiz bor i alasses · Filz alexis de/ la tue carn tendra · a quel dolur deduit as ta iuventa · pur quem/ fuis ia te portai en men ventre · e deus le set que tute sui dolente · / ia mais n'erc lede pur home ne pur femme · Ainz que tei vedisse/ fui mult desirruse · ainz que ned fusses sin fui mult angussuse/ quant jo vid ned sin fui lede e goiuse · or te vei mort tute en sui/ doleruse · có peiset mei que ma fins tant domoret · Seinurs de/ rome pur amur deu mercit · aidiez mei a plaindra le duel de/ mun ami · ne puis tant faire que mes quors s'en sazit · granz est/ li dols ki sor mai est vertiz · n'est merveile n'ai mais filie ne filz · / Entre le dol del pedra e de la medre · vint la pulcele que il out espusede/ sire dist ela cum longa demurere · ai atendude an la maisun tun/ pedra · ou tun [error for tum] laisas dolente & eguarede Sire alexis tanz iurz/ t'ai desirret · e tantes feiz pur tei an luinz guardet · si revenisses/ ta spuse conforter · pur felunie nient ne pur lastet · O kiers amis/ de ta iuvente bela có peiset mai que si purirat terre · e gentils/ hom cu[m] dolente puis estra · ío atendeie de te bones noveles · mais ore/ les vei si dures e si pesmes · O bele buce bel vis bele faiture cum est/ mudede vostra bela figure · plus vos amai que nule creature · si grant/ dolur or m'est aparude · melz me venist amis que morte fusse · /

Translation

  mother heard it:
She came running up like a woman out of her mind,
Clapping her hands, shouting, dishevelled:
She saw her son lying dead, and falls in a faint to the ground.
425
86 Anyone who saw her then expressing her great grief,
Beating her breast and throwing herself on the ground,
Tearing out her hair and scratching her face,
Drawing her dead child to her and embracing him,
Would have been very hard-hearted had they not felt constrained to weep
430
87 She pulls out her hair and beats her breast,
And subjects her own body to great pain:
“Oh my son,” she says, “how you hated me!
And I, in my grief, how very blind I was!
I no more recognised you than if I had never seen you before.”
435
88 She weeps and utters loud cries;
And ever laments: “It was a misfortune that I bore you, my fine son!
And what mercy did you have on your mother?
When you saw me wishing I were dead,
It is a great wonder that you were not seized with pity
440
89 Oh unfortunate, wretched woman that I am, what a dreadful time I have had!
Now I see all my offspring dead.
My long wait has ended in great grief.
Why did I bear you, suffering and ill-fated as I am?
It is a great wonder that my heart lasts so long.
445
90 Alexis, my son, you had a very hard heart,
When you demeaned all your noble lineage!
If you had spoken just once to me alone,
Your wretched mother, how you would have comforted her,
She suffers so. Dear son, you would have acted under good auspices!
450
91 Alexis, my son, alas for your soft young flesh!
In what suffering did you live out your youth!
Why did you run away from me? I carried you long ago in my womb,
And God knows that I am consumed with grief;
Never again will I be joyful on account of any man or woman.
455
92 Before I saw you, I longed for you:
Before your birth, I was very anxious;
When I saw you born, I was happy and joyful.
Now that I see you dead, I am grief-stricken.
It weighs heavily on me that my own end is so long delayed.
460
93 Lords of Rome, for the love of God, have mercy!
Help me to express my grief for my beloved.
Great is the grief which has come upon me,
I cannot help my heart being overcome with it.
It is no wonder: I have no other daughter or son.”
465
94 In the midst of the grief of the father and the mother
There came the maiden whom he had married.
“My lord,” she said, “what a long time
I have waited in your father’s house,
Where you left me grieving and distraught
470
95 My lord Alexis, I have missed you for so long,
[And I have shed so many tears for your absence,]
And so many times I have looked for you in the distance.
If you had come back to comfort your bride,
It would not have been from disloyalty or cowardice.
475
Note: The sense of line 475 is disputed. See the editions of Storey (1968: 117-8) and Perugi (2000: 243-4)
96 Oh my dearly beloved, alas for your handsome youth!
It grieves me that it will now decay in earth.
Oh, noble man, how sorrowful can I be!
I was expecting good news of you,
But now I see the news is so grim and bad!
480
97 Oh handsome mouth, handsome face, handsome form,
How your handsome face is changed!
I loved you more than any living being.
Such great grief has now come upon me!
It would be better for me, my beloved, if I were dead./
485

 

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