Song of Old Lovers For All Time. . . . . Anonymous 12th Century Poem


Translated from the Old French

We are what old tunes make us,
Notes to a sheet of song,
Sounds that stir & take us,
Wild & sweet & strong;
We could not, though it shake us,
One note pluck from the throng;
Forgetting, now we wake us,
Forgotten, the words, ere long.

We are what old loves make us,
They gave us but a song.
These gave, but could not take us,
And new loves wax too strong.
What wind will ever shake us,
What word from out the throng?
Love would, but could not wake us,
And sleeps himself, ere long.

Then come the griefs that make us
Graves clean of ruined song.
Shuttled forth, dead loves take us,
And shame us with fears grown strong.
Peace friends, pray do not shake us,
Come in from out the throng;
Speak not, pray do not wake us,
Who willing would sleep long.

The gods were good to make us
Singers good for a song,
But could not, giving, take us
The weakest for the strong.
No gentle voice will shake us,
No smile part the throng,
Nor bird come near to wake us,
With loves for which we long.

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