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Arnaut Daniel was a twelfth-century poet from the Provencal region of what is now France. A nobleman and a traveling troubadour, he is considered the inventor of the sestina form.

Lo Ferm Voler Qu’el Cor M’Intra

translated by Ezra Pound

The firm wishing that gets ingress
To my heart fears no cad's beak or nail-tip
Of cad who by false speech doth lose his soul's hope,
And if I dare assail him not with bough or osier
On quiet I, where one admits no uncle,
Will get my joy in garden or in bower.

When I remember the bower
Where to my spite I know that no man gets ingress,
But do no more than may brothers and uncles,
I tremble all length, all save my nail-tips,
As does a child before a switch of osier,
So fear I lest I come not near my soul's hope.

Of body 'twas not of soul's hope
That consenting she hid me in her bower.
Now it hurts my heart worse than strokes of osiers
That where she now is, her slave gets no ingress.
I cling mam to her as is the flesh to the nail-tip
And take warning of neither friend nor uncle.

Ne'er love I sister of uncle
As I love her I love, by my soul's hope.
Close cling I as doth the finger to nail-tip
And would be, and it please her, in her bower;
Love that in my heart gets ingress
Can shake me, as strong man not an osier.

Since flower sprang on dry osier,
Since Adam began this line of nephews and uncles,
Such fine love as to my heart hath ingress
Was not to my belief in body or soul's hope.
If she be in piazza nor bower,
My heart leave not by a nail-tip.

The heart roots and clings like the nail-tip
Or as the bark clings that clings to the osier,
For she is joy's palace, she is joy's bower,
Nor love I so father, nor kinsman, nor kind uncle.
Double joy in Paradise, by my soul's hope,
Shall I have if ere true love there win ingress.

Arnaut sends the song of nail and uncle
With thanks to her the soul of his osier,
Son Dezirat, who to some purpose hath ingress in bower.

From Forked Branches, published by Windhover Press in 1985. Copyright © 1985 by the Trustees of the Ezra Pound Literary Property Trust. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

From Forked Branches, published by Windhover Press in 1985. Copyright © 1985 by the Trustees of the Ezra Pound Literary Property Trust. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Arnaut Daniel

Arnaut Daniel was a twelfth-century poet from the Provencal region of what is now France.