I killed a hundred Saracens to glorify my dame - A hundred ones lost their lives in her blessed name. But our crafty liege the king started a tournament for me. I hate all known kings - that’s not the game! My stern opponent is a Round Table knight, His Kingship hopes that he’ll o’ercome me with his might. My armor shines, I grip my lance, she casts at me a loving glance - Today I’ll laugh o’er that nonstarter’s right! His coat of arms displays the block and gallows pole - There with my lance I’m gonna make a round hole. As he’s in favor with the king, one day he ought to pay this thing. I don’t care for the king alone! His Kingship said, “To beat you won’t hard for him!” “Repose in peace, brave knight,” he added with a grin. I ought to sink into the grave in order that he wed my dame - Forgive me, God, but I despise the king! The sign is given, and we’re rushing for to meet - The beaten earth is quaking under our steeds. Beyond all doubt, it’ll be - my goddess will belong to me. Today I don’t think about the kings! That’s quite alright - my stubborn foe has a rest. He was a trustworthy king’s friend - true even to death. His Kingship has become enraged, but my success can’t be unmade. It doesn’t matter what lies in his chest! ...But there was no happy end with wedding rings: The king again sent me to take the field o’erseas. I couldn’t find a way to fight because of he was in his right - It seems we ought to care for the kings!
© Akbar Muhammad. Translation, 2007
[The second stanza is adapted from
George Tokarev’s “About Love in the Middle Ages”.]