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Early Indo-European Texts

Old French

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Old French with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old French Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old French language and its speakers' culture.

Chrétien de Troyes, Yvain on le Chevalier au Lion: 2560-2580; 2600-2615

"Ma tres chiere dame,
vos qui estes mes cuers et m'ame,
mes biens, ma joie, et ma santez,
une chose m'acreantez
por vostre enor e por la moie."

La dame tantost li otroie,
qu'el ne set qu'il vialt demander
et dit: "Biax sire, comander
me poez ce qui boen vos iert."

Congié maintenant li requiert
mes sire Yvains, de convoier
le roi, et d'aler tornoier,
que l'an ne l'apialt recreant.

Et ele dit: "je vos creant
le congié jusqu'a un termine.

Mes l'amors devanra haïne,
que j'ai en vos, toz an soiez
seürs, se vos trespassïez
le terme que je vos dirai;
sachiez que ja n'en mantirai:
se vos mantez, je dirai voir.

Se vos volez m'amor avoir
et de rien nule m'avez chiere,
pansez de tost venir arriere
a tot le moins jusqu'a un an
huit jorz aprés la Saint Johan
c'ui an cest jor sont les huitaves.

De m'amor soiez maz et haves,
se vos n'iestes jusqu'a ce jor
ceanz avoec moi au retor."

... Mes or metroiz an vostre doi
cest mien anel, que je vos prest;

et de la pierre quex ele est
vos voel dire tot en apert:
prison ne tient ne sanc ne pert
nus amanz verais et leax,
ne avenir ne li puet max;

mes qui le porte, et chier le tient
de s'amie li resovient,
et si devient plus durs que fers;
cil vos iert escuz et haubers
et voir einz mes a chevalier
ne le vos prester ne baillier,
mes por amors le vos doing gié."

Or a mes sire Yvains congié:
molt out ploré au congié prendre.

Translation

My very dear lady
You who are my heart and my soul
My good fortune, my joy and my well-being
Grant me one thing
For your honor and for mine.
The lady immediately grants it to him
Although she does not know what he wants to ask
And she says: "Beloved lord, you can
Ask me what you like."
Lord Yvain asks her immediately for permission
to leave to escort the king
And to go fight in tornaments
So that one does not call him a coward.
And she says: "I grant you
Permission to leave for a period of time.
But the love I have for you
will become hatred, be sure of that,
If you exceed the period of time
That I will mention to you;
Know that I will keep my word:
If you fail, I will tell the truth.
If you want to have my love
And you cherish me in any way,
Make sure to come back in time
At the very least within one year
Eight days after the feast of St. John
Of which we celebrate the octave this very day."
Instead of my love you will have sadness and gloom,
If you are not on that day
Back here with me."
But now you should put on your finger
This ring of mine, that I lend to you;
And about the stone that it carries
I want to tell you most openly:
No true and loyal lover
Undergoes captivity, or loses blood,
And no evil can happen to him;
But he who wears it, and cherishes it
Remembers his friend,
And thus he becomes stronger than iron;
This will be your shield and hauberk
And truly never before I wanted
To lend it or give it to a knight,
But because of my feelings of love I give it to you.
Now Lord Yvain has permission to leave:
He shed many tears when taking his leave.