Brave was Bernard of Ventadorn
As any knight in Christendie;
Albeit he was lowly born,
No fear of aughtsoe'er had he.
Straight in his pointed shoon he stood
As a young birch tree in the wood.
Within his eyes the sun and shade
Did meet and mingle wondrously,
While round about his winsome mouth
Fleet little lights of laughter played,
Like butterflies about a flower
Upon a lattice looking south
From some old dreamy garden bower.
Blithe was Bernard of Ventadorn
As is the spirit of the spring
When April quickens everything
From root of reed to tip of tree;
As is the miracle of morn,
Its freshness, its virility.
And, sooth, what could he do but sing,
He to whom God had given for dower
Song, and its soul-uplifting power!
What could he do but sing of all
Of nature's marvelment and mirth--
The vocal rapture of the earth,
The subtle, perfumed bliss thereof;
And when love caught his heart in thrall
What could he do but sing of love!
Bold was Bernard of Ventadorn!
Did he not dare to lift his eyes
Up to the blush-rose face of her
Whose name went ringing to the skies
When knights from booth and pennoned tent
Rode gaily to the tournament?--
She who had silenced with a scorn
As bitter to the taste as myrrh
The lips of princelings. Aye, and more
Than this he dared! He held her mute
With the low passion of his lute,
The while he told, in words as low,
Of love and all its deathless lore,
Its poignancy of joy and woe.
Glad was Bernard of Ventadorn!
Yea, borne unto the crest of bliss
By the rapt guerdon of her kiss!
E'en the inexorable thorn
Of banishment left him not lorn.
Parting and pain he rose above,
Knowing the crown of perfect love,
Knowing love's sempiternal flower,
And knowing it, he sang thereof
Till life's last fading twilight hour.
Ah, lovers, ye who tread today
The rose-and-myrtle-bordered way,
If ye may feel a love like his,
Then have ye glimpsed below a ray
Of paradisal ecstasies!