Ausiàs March: Poem I "Pleasure Hurts" (from Catalan)

Poem I: Pleasure Hurts
By Ausiàs March
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

Think of a man delighted in his slumber,
The foolishness of dream where he resides.
Think thus of me: imagination fastens
Onto the past where all my joy abides.
I know that Grief awaits but do not waver
Knowing my certain end lies in her jaws.
The things ahead hold nothing but disaster.
The better things are nothing but what was.

I find myself no lover of the present,
But of the past; adore oblivion;
There in the thought of yesterday I revel
Till grief returns emboldened under dawn.
Think of a man condemned to execution
So long he’s blunted to the bitter lot.
Suppose they feed him rumors of a pardon
Then have him hanged without another thought.

I wish to God my thoughts were like a corpse’s,
Existence an eternity of sleep,
Wretched the man who holds his mind at swordpoint
For how it keeps reminding him to weep.
And when he begs it for a bit of pleasure
It’s like a mother when her child in tow,
Shunning all milk, howls to be nursed on poison.
She doesn’t have the sense to answer No.

The purest of all pain I’d rather suffer
Than try to blend a bit of pleasure too
Into the ills that rob the brain of reason,
And ache for all the goodness that I knew.
Dear Lord! Delight transmuted into sorrow
Doubles the torment after rest too brief,
Like someone sick who sees too a rich morsel,
Eats it and turns his dinner into grief.

It’s like a hermit long beyond being lonely,
Long drained of care for folk, who’s ceased to sigh
For his companions in the silly city,
And now suppose that one of them drops by,
Recalls with him the times they spent in leisure:
Back to the past the present moments roam.
But, soon alone, he grumbles in annoyance.
Joy as it leaves tells grief to come on home.

Beauty of Prudence: when love starts to age
It's chumbled by the worm of being away
Unless you turn a constant heart against it
And deafer ears to what the jealous say.



The Original:

Poema I

Axi com cell qui ’n lo somni·s delita
e son delit de foll pensament ve,
ne pren a mi, que·l temps passat me te
l’imaginar, qu’altre be no y habita,
sentint estar en aguayt ma dolor,
sabent de cert qu’en ses mans he de jaure.
Temps de venir en negun be·m pot caure;
aquell passat en mi es lo millor.

Del temps present no·m trobe amador,
mas del passat, qu’es no-res e finit;
d’aquest pensar me sojorn e·m delit,
mas quan lo pert, s’esforça ma dolor,
si com aquell qui es jutgat a mort
he de lonch temps la sab e s’aconorta,
e creure·l fan que li sera estorta
e·l fan morir sens un punt de recort.

Plagues a Deu que mon pensar fos mort,
e que passas ma vida en durment!
Malament viu qui te lo pensament
per enamich, fent li d’enuyts report;
e com lo vol d’algun plaer servir
li·n pren axi com dona ’b son infant,
que si veri li demana plorant
ha ten poch seny que no·l sab contradir.

Ffora millor ma dolor sofferir
que no mesclar pocha part de plaher
entre ’quells mals, qui·m giten de saber
com del passat plaher me cove ’xir.
Las! Mon delit dolor se converteix;
doble·s l’affany apres d’un poch repos,
si co·l malalt qui per un plasent mos
tot son menjar en dolor se nodreix.

Com l’ermita, qui ’nyorament no·l creix
d’aquells amichs que teni’en lo mon,
essent lonch temps qu’en lo poblat no fon,
per fortuyt cars hun d’ells li apareix,
qui los passats plahers li renovella,
si que·l passat present li fa tornar;
mas com se·n part, l’es forçat congoxar:
lo be, com fuig, ab grans crits mal apella.

Plena de seny, quant amor es molt vella,
absença es lo verme que la guasta,
si fermetat durament no contrasta,
e creura poch, si l’envejos consella.

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