Sonnet 48

Standard
Ny de son chef le tresor crespelu,
Ny de son ris l’une et l’autre fossette,
Ny le reply de sa gorge grassette,
Ny son menton rondement fosselu,
 
Ny son bel oeil que les miens ont voulu
Choisir pour prince à mon ame sugette,
Ny son beau sein dont l’Archerot me gette
Le plus agu de son trait esmoulu,
 
Ny son beau corps le logis des Charites,
Ny ses beautez en mille coeurs escrites,
N’ont asservi ma jeune affection.
 
Seul son esprit miracle de nostre age,
Qui eut du Ciel tous les dons en partage,
Me fait mourir pour sa perfection.
 
 
 
                                                                       Not the curly treasure of her head,
                                                                       Not the one or other dimple in her smile,
                                                                       Not the little fold in her plump throat,
                                                                       Not her chin, round and dimpled,
 
                                                                       Not her lovely eye which my own wanted
                                                                       To select as ruler of my subjected soul,
                                                                       Not her lovely breast, for which the Little Archer shot me
                                                                       With the sharpest point of his sharpened weapons,
 
                                                                       Not her lovely form, the home of the Graces,
                                                                       Not her beauty inscribed in a thousand hearts –
                                                                       All these have not enslaved my youth’s affections.
 
                                                                       Only her spirit, miracle of our age,
                                                                       Which has a share in all the gifts of heaven,
                                                                       Makes me die to make it perfect.
 
 
 Ronsard had some trouble arriving at a final tercet he found right.  Blanchemain has “libre affection” in line 11 (‘have not enslaved my free affections’), and then offers this alternative conclusion:
 
Seul son esprit, où tout le ciel abonde,
Seule sa douce et sa grave faconde,
M’a fait mourir pour sa perfection.
 
                                                                       Only her spirit, in which all heaven abounds,
                                                                       And her sweet but serious chatter
                                                                       Have made me die to make them perfect.
 
 
Then Blanchemain offers an alternative tercet in a footnote:
 
Mais son esprit, dont la merveille estrange
Devroit avoir pour sa perfection
Non mon service, ainçois celuy d’un ange.
 
                                                                       But her spirit, the strange miracle of which
                                                                      Should have for its perfection
                                                                      Not my service, but rather that of an angel.
 
 
And I have seen yet another version of the last tercet which goes:
 
Seul son esprit, où tout le ciel abonde,
Et les torrens de sa douce faconde,
Me font mourir pour sa perfection.
 
                                                                       Only her spirit, in which all heaven abounds,
                                                                       And the streams of her sweet chatter
                                                                       Make me die to make them perfect.
 
 
 
 
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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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