Ce Fut en Mai (It was in May)

13th Century French, in translation

(Click here to see the original French text)

Audio

This example of "Ce Fut en Mai" is performed by Andrew Scarhart
Please refer to Cantaria's Copyright information
In early May, when skies are gay
And green the plains and mountains,
At break of day I rose to play
Beside a little fountain.

In garden close where shone the rose
I heard a fiddle played, then
A handsome knight that charmed my sight,
Was dancing with a maiden.

Both fair of face, they turned with grace
To tread their May-time measure.
The flowering place, their close embrace:
Their kisses brought them pleasure.

But shortly they had slipped away
To stroll among the bowers.
To ease their heart, each played his part
In love's games on the flowers.

I crept ahead, all chill with dread,
Lest someone there should see me.
Bemused and sad because I had
No joy in love to please me.

Then one of those I'd seen there rose
And from afar off speaking,
He questioned me, who I might be,
And what I came there seeking.

I stepped their way to sadly say
How long I'd loved a lady,
Who all my days my heart obeys,
Full faithfully and steady.

Though still I bore a grief so sore
In losing one so lovely,
That surely I would come to die
Unless she deigned to love me.

With wisdom rare, with tactful air
They counseled and relieved me.
They said their prayer was God might spare
Some joy in love that grieved me.

Where all my gain was loss and pain
So I in turn extended
My thanks sincere, with many a tear,
And them to God commended.