Bele Doette

Bele Doette as fenestres se siet,
Lit en un livre, mais au cuer ne l’entient;
De son ami Doön li resovient,
Q’en autres terres est alez tornoier.
E or en ai dol.

Uns escuiers as degrez de la sale
Est dessenduz, s’est destrossé, sa male.
Bele Doette les degrez en avale
Ne cuide pas oir novelle male.
E or en ai dol.

Bele Doette tantost li demanda:
“Ou est mes sires, que ne vi tel pieça?”
Cil ot tel duel que de pitié plora.
Bele Doette maintenant se pasma.
E or en ai dol.

Bele Doette s’est en estant drecie,
Voit l’escuier, vers lui s’est adrecie;
En son cuer est dolante et correcie
Por son seignor dont ele ne voit mie.
E or en ai dol.

Bele Doette li prist a demander:
“Ou est mes sires, cui je doi tant amer?”
“En non Deu, dame, nel vos quier mais celer,
Morz est mes sires, ocis fu au joster.”
E or en ai dol.

Bele Doette a pris son duel a faire:
“Tant mar i fustes, cuens Do, frans debonaire.
Por vostre amor vestirai je la haire,
Ne sor mon cors n’avra pelice vaire.
E or en ai dol.
Por vos devenrai nonne
A l’eglise Saint Pol.

Por vos ferai une abbaie tele
Qant iert li jors que la feste iert nomeie,
Se nus i vient qui ait s’amor fauseie
Ja del mostier ne savera l’entreie.”
E or en ai dol.

Bele Doette prist son abbaie a faire,
Qui mout est grande, et ades sera maire:
Toz cels et celes vodra dedanz atraire
Qui por amor sevent peine et mal traire.
E or en ai dol.
Por vos devenrai nonne
A l’eglise Saint Pol.

* * * * *

Lovely Doette in her bright window-nook
Sat with thoughts drifting away from her book;
Ever to Do, her sweet love, they would stray,
Gone to the tourney in lands far away.
My grief now is all.

Up to the stairs rode a squire of the Count,
Untied his panniers and leapt from his mount.
Lovely Doette ran downstairs without fear,
Never once thinking bad news she would hear.
My grief now is all.

Lovely Doette asked the squire straight away,
“Where is my lord, gone for many a day?”
For pity he wept, such the grief that he bore.
Lovely Doette then fell faint to the floor.
My grief now is all.

Lovely Doette rises swiftly with grace,
Sees there the squire, and turns to his face;
Sorrow and anguish within her bite keen
All for her lord who is not to be seen.
My grief now is all.

Lovely Doette asked the squire once more,
“Where is my lord I should so much adore?”
“Lady, I’ll hide it no more, in God’s name:
Slain is my lord on the field of his fame.”
My grief now is all.

Lovely Doette fell to mourning in woe:
“Such sorrow there was, true, noble Count Do.
No cloak of fur on my body shall be,
I shall wear a hair shirt all for love of thee.”
My grief now is all.
For you I’ll be a nun
At the church of St Paul.

“For thee I shall build such an abbey,” said she,
“That, when the day comes that the feast they decree,
If anyone comes who his love hath betrayed,
He never can enter the church I have made.”
My grief now is all.

Lovely Doette built an abbey by grace,
And she shall be abbess of all that great place;
All men and women shall she gather there
Who have for love suffered pain and despair.
My grief now is all.
For you I’ll be a nun
At the church of St Paul.

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