By Ederlyn Peralta
As a “comp lit” major, we usually dabble in all sorts of texts like novels, plays, and even, poetry.This semester I am taking a class on medieval love poetry in translation, and I must say, it is definitely challenging. At times, I was completely bored reading love lyrics because I would get lost in the poetic, flowery language. Yet somehow by applying real-life situations to the medieval poetry, I found an appreciation for medieval love lyrics and a source of entertainment relating these poems to my friends’ lives.
In one of Bernart de Ventadorn’s love poems, the speaker loves his female companion, but his love already has another man. In Bernart de Ventadorn’s poem:
A lady I have long loved
gave me her love;
but now I know beyond all doubt
she keeps another lover close,
and never yet has a companion’s
companionship been so hard to bear
In modern day terms, if you have a friend, who is “in love” with his or her best friend but lacks the confidence to confess, there is a possibility that your friend’s love will run away towards another man or woman. Why? Because your friend’s “lover” cannot wait forever to get confessed at. Another modern perspective is that you have feelings for your friend; however you are trap in purgatory, known as the “friend zone.” As a result, a relationship will never blossom, instead you are force to accept or disregard your friend’s new boyfriend or girlfriend.
Another medieval love lyric that can apply to a modern day situation would be a Latin love poem in the Carmina Burana, which starts as, “Let us forsake our studies; it is sweet to play the fool” (Line 1). The Carmina Burana consists of a variety of love and satirical lyrics written by university students. From it, there was a emerging new youth culture that combines academic life and court life. The poem I mentioned above, in the Carmina Burana, talks about the importance of youth as an academic student. Rather than studying all day like how the older scholars use to do it, the poem encourages young people to enjoy life by finding ‘innocent love.’ In the Carmina Burana‘s poem:
Devotion to serious things is appropriate for old age, but sport with a a glad heart is the right course for youth
I consider this poem a representation of what college students’ lives should be like (not that I am encouraging more partying and less studying), but students should at times be able to enjoy life and not stress over essays, projects, and finals. While part of the poem talks about enjoying youth, the other half talks about finding love, “Let our nets now be deployed to hunt an innocent love” (Verse 3). Now I do not know the statistics of how many students find their marriage partners while in college, but my “gut” tells me that many college students are trying to find the “right person” out there.
If you do not like reading medieval love poems or poetry in general, I recommend applying the poetic words to your everyday life. That way you get your readings done for classes, have a better understanding of what you are reading, and keep yourself entertained. For me, I read some of the medieval love lyrics aloud to my friends, and at times, my friends would say, “(LOL)That totally relates to me.”
For more posts on poetry, click here.