Sonnet 40

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Que de Beautez, que de Graces écloses
Voy-je au jardin de ce sein verdelet,
Enfler son rond de deus gazons de lait,
Où des Amours les fleches sont encloses !
 
Je me transforme en cent metamorfoses,
Quand je te voy, petit mont jumelet,
Ains du printemps un rosier nouvelet,
Qui le matin caresse de ses roses.
 
S’Europe avoit l’estomac aussi beau,
Sage tu pris le masque d’un toreau,
Bon Jupiter pour traverser les ondes.
 
Le Ciel n’est dit parfait pour sa grandeur.
Luy et ce sein le sont pour leur rondeur:
Car le parfait consiste en choses rondes.
 
 
 
                                                                       What beauty, what grace do I see
                                                                       Blossom in the garden of this ripe breast
                                                                       Swelling its roundness with two milky lawns
                                                                       Where the arrows of Love are enclosed!
 
                                                                       I change myself into a hundred different forms
                                                                       When I see you, small twin mounds,
                                                                       Like a young rose-bush in spring
                                                                       Which the morning caresses with its own rose-pink.
 
                                                                       If Europa had so fine a breast
                                                                       It was wise of you to put on the mask of a bull
                                                                       Great Jupiter, to cross the waves.
 
                                                                       Heaven is not called perfect for its size.
                                                                       It and this breast are perfect because they’re curved;
                                                                       for perfection consists in curves.
 
 
 
Another sonnet which Ronsard changed substantially in different versions. Blanchemain: has a radically changed ending, and minor changes in the first quatrain. Though the second quatrain is unchanged, it’s probably simplest to give the whole poem again in this version:
 
 
Ah !   seigneur Dieu !  que de graces écloses
Dans le jardin de ce sein verdelet,
Enflent le rond de deux gazons de lait,
Où des Amours les flesches sont encloses !
 
Je me transforme en cent metamorfoses,
Quand je te voy, petit mont jumelet,
Ains du printans un rosier nouvelet,
Qui le matin caresse de ses roses.
 
S’Europe avoit l’estomach aussi beau,
De t’estre fait, Jupiter, un taureau,
Je te pardonne.  Eh! que ne sui-je puce ?
 
La baisottant, tous les jours je mordroi
Ses beaus tetins ;  mais la nuit je voudrois
Que rechanger en homme je me pusse.
 
 
 
                                                                       Oh Lord God, how many graces blossoming
                                                                       In the garden of this ripe breast
                                                                       Swell the roundness of the two milky lawns
                                                                       Where the arrows of Love are enclosed!
 
                                                                       I change myself into a hundred different forms
                                                                       When I see you, small twin mounds,
                                                                       Like a young rose-bush in spring
                                                                       Which the morning caresses with its own rose-pink.
 
                                                                       If Europa had so fine a breast
                                                                       Then for making yourself, Jupiter, into a bull
                                                                       I pardon you. Oh, why can’t I be a flea?
 
                                                                       Giving her little kisses, all day long I would nibble
                                                                       Her beautiful breasts; but at night I’d wish
                                                                       That I could change back into a man.
 
 
 Blanchemain also footnotes a version of the ending corresponding to Marty-Laveaux’s text above, except that he begins line 10 with “Rusé” instead of “Sage” (‘It was cunning of you…’).  I should note that I have also seen a version with ‘bienveigne’ (‘welcomes’) instead of “caresses’ in line 8, but I don’t know if that is authentic Ronsard.
 
 
 
 
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About fattoxxon

Who am I? Lover of all sorts of music - classical, medieval, world (anything from Africa), world-classical (Uzbek & Iraqi magam for instance), and virtually anything that won't be on the music charts... Lover of Ronsard's poetry (obviously) and of sonnets in general. Reader of English, French, Latin & other literature. And who is Fattoxxon? An allusion to an Uzbek singer - pronounce it Patahan, with a very plosive 'P' and a throaty 'h', as in 'khan')

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  1. Pingback: Cassandre 38-50: a note « Oeuvres de Ronsard

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