The firm desire that enters

by Arnaut Daniel

English version by Craig E. Bertolet
Original Language Provencal

The firm desire that enters
Can neither be taken from my heart by beak or nail
Of that liar who loses his soul through speaking evil,
And since I dare not beat him with either a branch or rod,
I will in some secret place, where I will have no spying uncle,
Rejoice with my joy, in a garden or in a chamber.

But when I am reminded of that chamber
Where I know, to my sorrow, that no man enters
And which is guarded more than by brother or uncle,
My entire body trembles, even to my fingernail,
As does a child before a rod,
Such fear I have of not being hers with all my soul.

At least in body, if not in soul,
Let her hide me within her chamber;
For it wounds my heart more than blows of rod
That her slave can never therein enter.
I will always close to her as flesh and nail,
And believe no warnings of friend or uncle.

Even the sister of my uncle
I never loved so much, with all my soul!
As close as is the finger to the nail,
If it please her, I would be in her chamber.
It can mold me to its will, this love that enters
My heart, more so than a strong man with a tender rod.

Since flowered the dry rod,
Or from Adam descended the nephew and uncle,
There never was such a love as what enters
My heart, dwelling neither in body or in soul
And wherever she may be, outside in the street, or in her chamber,
My heart is no farther than the length of my nail.

As if with tooth and nail
My heart grips her, holding as the bark on the rod;
To me she is joy's tower, palace, and chamber
And I love neither brother, parent or uncle
So much; and I will find double joy in Paradise for my soul
If a man blessed for good love therein enters.

Arnaut sends his song of nail and uncle,
By the grace of her who has, of his rod, the soul,
To his Desired One, whose praise all chambers enters.

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Recommended Books: Arnaut Daniel

The Book of Courtly Love: The Passionate Code of the Troubadours

The firm desire