Little Drops of Rain


I spent most of the day putting together my presentation on Troubadour poetry and music for French 385: Travels in Provence. It rained most of the day, and during a break in the weather I went out and photographed the storm passing over the Sandias. On my way out to the river, I noticed there were still a few drops of rain the wind had not blown off a rose bush — it reminded me of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You”, which has a verse that begins “Little drops of rain…”  I had been reading medieval poetry all day and started thinking that “Thank You” could be modern Troubadour poetry.

Troubadours originally wrote their poetry in Occitan, the language of Provence, France, also called Provançal. I don’t understand Occitan, so I’ve been reading the poetry translated into English by William and Frances Paden in their book Troubadour Poems from the South of France. Women Troubadours where called trobairitz, and the most famous trobairitz is La Comtessa de Dia. After reading many troubadour poems, La Comtessa de Dia is one of my favorites.  Here is one of her poems named Estat ai en greu cossirier / I have been in heavy grief circa 1169:

I have been in heavy grief
for a knight who once was mine,
And I want it to be forever known
That I loved him too much,
I see now that I’m betrayed
For not giving him my love
Bemused, I lie in bed awake;
Bemused, I dress and pass the day.

If only I could hold him
Naked in my arms one night!
He would feel ecstatic
Were I to be his pillow.
Since I desire him more
Than Floris did Blanchefleur,
I give him my heart and my love,
My wit, my eyes, for as long as I live.

Splendid lover, charming and good,
When shall I hold you in my power?
If only I could lie with you one night
And give you a loving kiss!
Know that I’d like
To hold you as my husband,
As long as you’d promise
To do what I desired.

Here are the lyrics to Robert Plan’s Thank You, 1969:

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.
When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.

Kind woman, I give you my all, Kind woman, nothing more.

Little drops of rain whisper of the pain, tears of loves lost in the days gone by.
My love is strong, with you there is no wrong,
together we shall go until we die. My, my, my.
An inspiration is what you are to me, inspiration, look… see.

And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles,
Thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one.
Happiness, no more be sad, happiness….I’m glad.
If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.
When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.