Well do I love the cheerful spring,
which brings the leaves and flowers;
and I also love to hear the merriment of the birds,
who send their song ringing through the woods;
and I am glad to see tents and pavilions
pitched in the meadows.
Great is my joy when I see knights and armored horses
ranged on the battlefield.
And I like to see the foragers
send the people and the cattle fleeing before them
and it pleases me when I see many soldiers
come running after them;
and it warms my heart to see strong castles besieged,
the palisades smashed and broken down,
and to see the army on the river-bank
protected on all sides by ditches,
and strong, tight-made palisades.
And I am well pleased by a lord
when he is the first to attack,
on horseback, armored, fearless:
thus does he inspire his men
with boldness, and worthy courage.
And when the battle is joined
each man must be ready
to follow him with joy:
for no man is held to be worthy
until he has taken and given many blows.
Maces and swords, colorful helms,
shields riven and cast aside:
these shall we see at the start of the battle,
and also many vassals struck down,
the horses of the dead and wounded running wild.
And when he enters the combat,
let every man of good lineage
think of nothing but splitting heads and hacking arms;
for it is better to die than to live in defeat.
I tell you, I find no such savor
in eating or drinking or sleeping
as when I hear the cries of “attack!”
from both sides, and the noise
of riderless horses in the shadows;
and I hear screams of “Help! Help!”
and I see great and small alike
falling into the grassy ditches
and the dead
with splintered lances, bedecked with pennons
through their sides.
Love wants a chivalrous lover
skilled at arms and generous in serving
who speaks well and gives greatly,
who knows what he should do and say,
in or out of his hall,
as befits his power.
He should be full of hospitality, courtesy, and good cheer.
A lady who lies with such a lover as that
is clean of all her sins.
by Bertran de Born. Warcry: 1184-88 30. Be~m plai lo gais temps de pascor
[trans. Dr. Clifford J. Rogers]