The Queen's Court Manuscript with Other Ancient Bohemian Poems/Love Song of King Vaceslaw I

For other English-language translations of this work, see Love Song of King Wenceslas.

LOVE SONG OF KING VACESLAW I.[1]

After adventures stern and great
Love doth to me her sweet estate[2]
Reveal and merit high.
Right heartily I mourn and sigh,
When thinking on the loveliness,
That causes thus my mind’s distress,
How brightly doth the maiden shine,
Of whom myself to boast is mine.

Yet though her love be not to blame,
She cruel anguish gives;
And I must bear it evermore;—
She asks not whom she rives.
My mind doth drive me on to love,
O happy, happy me!
And now my highest gladness is
Blest through the eyes to be.
For all my joyance through the eyes
Into my loving bosom flies.
Love grows increasing by-and-bye
In clearer, brighter sympathy,
Because I gave her heart and mind.
She is a fount of bliss refin’d,
She the beginning is of mirth,
My anguish and my joy on earth.
E’en as sweet dews the rose-bud sips,
When from its swathings free,
E’en so I kiss’d her honied lips,
O happy happy me!
In vain to understand I try,
How happy in thy love am I;
Love banish’d is by anguish strong,
Pain comforts, love doth pine and long.
Love will accuse me—Ah! for why?
Love cannot me accuse, that I

Embrac’d her form so fair and bright,
So full of sweetness and delight,
In all its glowing, glittering charms,
Yet still with honourable arms.
For when that maid enchain’d my heart—

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  1. This is a fragment of one of the three poems, on account of which Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia, (crowned 1228), was numbered among the German Minnesingers. If the German poems (Manessische Sammlung, Zurich, 1748) are originals, this Bohemian one must be a translation; but the conciseness of this and the diffuseness of the others induces rather the contrary inference. Probably some German at the court of Wenceslaus translated his Bohemian poems into German. The Manuscript, containing this fragment along with “The Stag,” which appears also in the Queen’s Court Manuscript, is a single octavo leaf of parchment, and is in the Bohemian Museum.
  2. Love (milost, Iáska,) is feminine in Slavonic.