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Las frevols venson lo plus fort,
Que fortz frevol non pot durar;
Quar frevol vey fort frevolar,
Aissi bat frevols contrafort,
E.n frevol trop tan de vigor
Quez a fort tol sa gran valor.
Fortz a frevol non a poder.

Us niens es qu'adutz a mort
So qu'el fai e qu'el pot desfar,
Que es so que lo mons ten car;
Doncx al mon fai niens gran tort.
E.l mons, cum suefre tal folhor?
Quar niens a tan gran sabor
Que.l mons l'acuel el cartener.

Vist ai e trobat en ma sort
Que d'agre potz doussor gitar
Ab breu aten ses ajustar;
Doncs agr' e dous eysson d'un port.
E fai tant agres ab doussor
Que l'ivern mescla ab calor;
Mas l'agres fuy al dous parer.

Soven mi do gaug e conort,
Que vey lo mort ressuscitar.
Mais pot mortz que vius acabar,
Per qu'ieu ab lo mort be m'acort.
Et el mort a trop gran ricor,
Per que mortz non deu far paor,
Que.l mortz no notz e pot valer.

En la canal que ditz conort,
Vey caut e freyt entremesclar;
Ab l'un pot l'autre amortar,
E son abduy d'engual comport.
Ricx ers tan cum gitaras por,
E pupres si. Te dic color?
Non ieu, ans mescle sen ab ver.

Per frevols son vencut li fort,
E potz d'agre doussor gitar,
E caut e freyt entremesclar,
E niens met son don a mort,
Et el mort a trop gran ricor,
E ric perdon si per honor
Que fan, e deu lur escazer.

The weak win the stronger ones,
since the strong can't resist the weak;
since I see the weak strongly weakening,
and that's how the weak fell ramparts,
and in the weak is so much vigour
that it takes from the strong its great prowess.
The strong has no power over the weak.

It is a trifling thing, which brings death
to what it makes and to what it can undo,
which is what people hold in highest esteem;
therefore this trifle greatly wrongs people.
And how come people cope with this folly?
Because this trifle gives such pleasure
that people welcomes and cherishes it.

I have seen and found in my lot
that one can extract sweetness from sourness
on a short notice and without adding anything;
sweet and sour set out therefore from the same port.
And I make so much sourness out of sweetness
that winter is mixed with summer;
but sourness flees at sweetness' sight.

I often rejoice and take heart
when I see the dead come back to life.
The dead can achieve more than the living,
so that I agree well with the dead.
And the dead have exceedingly great might,
so that the dead ought not to scare,
since the dead don't harm, and can bring profit.

In the channel that speaks comfort
I see heat and cold blending together;
they can kill each other,
and they are both of equal effect.
You will be rich as long as you squander,
and poor as well. Am I telling you a fable?
Not me: instead, I mix wit with truth.

The strong are conquered by the weak,
and one can extract sweetness from sourness,
and mingle heat and cold together,
and a trifle annihilates his gift,
and the dead are exceedingly wealthy,
and the rich ruin themselves through lavishly
giving, and that must needs happen to them.

Note: a devinalh is, in its purest form, a series of riddles; a guy called Tobler actually found the solution to all those proposed by this poem. Here they are, stanza by stanza:
  1. Women (they conquer men, who are stronger; please don't waste my time and yours with feminist protests: I haven't written either the riddle or the solution).
  2. Talk and honour (in a typical troubadouric scenario, you tell around that you shagged lady this and that, and you put her in an awkward situation); the word "niens", "trifle", literally means "nothing", which was one of the attributes of verbal communication.
  3. The grape products (grape juice, wine and vinegar); the treatment of the subjct is somewhat confusing, but you have to consider that Raimbaut talks about Southern French wines, which are often too sweet to ever turn to vinegar.
  4. Seeds, considered to be dead vegetables. This one is admittedly lame.
  5. The mouth, where "cold" (air) is mixed with "hot" (kisses? blood?). This one is even lamer, and can likely be fully understood by somebody familiar with the preposterous ideas about physiology they had at the time. Whosoever has more information on the subject is welcome to contact me.
  6. The last stanza describes the mediaeval lord, who was forced to give valuable gifts right, left and centre, allegedly ruining himself (but actually ruining his subjects to pay for such excesses). I suppose that's why he's richer when dead (dead people were, oddly enough, not expected to distribute gifts), while being sweet, he's somewhat sour, can't give nothing as a gift, and he is "conquered" (i.e., forced to pay tributes) by his courtiers who are "weaker", i.e., not as powerful as himself.