Ezra Pound

Planh For The Young English King

 That is, Prince Henry Plantagenet, elder brother to Richard
"Coeur de Lion."
From the Provencal of Bertrans de Born "Si tuit li dol elh
plor elh marrimen."

If all the grief and woe and bitterness, 
All dolour, ill and every evil chance 
That ever came upon this grieving world 
Were set together they would seem but light 
Against the death of the young English King. 
Worth lieth riven and Youth dolorous, 
The world overshadowed, soiled and overcast, 
Void of all joy and full of ire and sadness. 

Grieving and sad and full of bitterness 
Are left in teen the liegemen courteous, 
The joglars supple and the troubadours. 
O'er much hath ta'en Sir Death that deadly warrior 
In taking from them the young English King, 
Who made the freest hand seem covetous. 
'Las! Never was nor will be in this world 
The balance for this loss in ire and sadness! 

O skilful Death and full of bitterness, 
Well mayst thou boast that thou the best chevalier 
That any folk e'er had, hast from us taken; 
Sith nothing is that unto worth pertaineth 
But had its life in the young English King 
And better were it, should God grant his pleasure, 
That he should live than many a living dastard 
That doth but wound the good with ire and sadness. 

From this faint world, how full of bitterness 
Love takes his way and holds his joy deceitful 
Sith no thing is but turneth unto anguish 
And each to-day Vails less than yestere'en, 
Let each man visage this young English King 
That was most valiant 'mid all worthiest men! 
Gone is his body fine and amorous, 
Whence have we grief, discord and deepest sadness. 

Him, whom it pleased for our great bitterness 
To come to earth to draw us from misventure, 
Who drank of death for our salvacioun, 
Him do we pray as to a Lord most righteous 
And humble eke, that the young English King 
He please to pardon, as true pardon is, 
And bid go in with honoured companions 
There where there is no grief, nor shall be sadness.