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A Crusader Laments

Knights Templar

To have perfect joy in paradise
I must leave the land I love so much,
where she lives whom I thank every day.
Her body is noble and spirited, her face fresh and lovely;
and my true heart surrenders to her.
But my body must take its leave of her;
I am departing for the place where God suffered death
to ransom us on a Friday.

Sweet love, I have great sorrow in my heart
now that at last I must leave you,
with whom I have found so much good, such tenderness,
joy and gaiety to charm me.
But fortune by her power has made me
exchange my joy for the sadness and sorrow
I will feel for you many nights and many days,
thus I will go to serve my creator.

No ore than a child can endure hunger
and no one can chastise him for crying because of it
do I believe that I can stay away
from you, whom I used to kiss and embrace,
nor have I in me such power of abstinence.
A hundred times a night shall I recall your beauty:
it gave me such pleasure to hold your body!
When I no longer have it I shall desire of desire.

Good Lord God, if I for you
leave the country where she is that I love so,
grant us in heaven everlasting joy,
my love and me, through your mercy
and grant her the strength to love me,
so that she will not forget me in my long absence,
for I love her more than anything in the world
and I feel so sad about her that my heart is breaking.

Translation in “The Crusades: Documents of
Medieval History” (Edward Arnold 1981)

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