Saturday, November 8, 2008
"I languish alone; my heart grows cold"
Pearl, the precious prize of a king,
Chastely set in cherished gold,
In all the East none equalling,
No peer to her could I behold.
So round, so rare, a radiant thing,
So smooth she was, so small of mold,
Wherever I judged gems glimmering
I set her apart, her price untold.
Alas, I lost her in earth’s green fold;
Through grass to the ground, I searched in vain.
I languish alone; my heart grows cold
For my precious pearl without a stain.* (more)
*From a modern translation of "Pearl," a 14th century poem by an unknown author generally called "the Pearl poet" or "The Gawain poet." This text is from Poetry Foundation, which incorrectly attributes the poem to a different medieval English poet, William Langland. PF does not provide a translator credit, and if anybody recognizes this version, please let me know where it's from. For another translation, along with the original Middle English, click here.
Madonna and Child with Two Saints (detail), Giovanni Bellini, c.1490.