Odes 1, 17 – to Cassandre

Probably Ronsard’s single most famous poem, known to many a Frenchman who knows nothing else of the poet.
Mignonne, allons voir si la rose
Qui ce matin avoit desclose
Sa robe de pourpre au Soleil,
A point perdu, ceste vesprée,
Les plis de sa robe pourprée,
Et son teint au vostre pareil.
Las ! voyez comme en peu d’espace,
Mignonne, elle a dessus la place
Las, las, ses beautez laissé cheoir !
O vrayment marastre Nature,
Puis qu’une telle fleur ne dure
Que du matin jusques au soir !
Donc, si vous me croyez mignonne,
Tandis que vostre âge fleuronne
En sa plus verte nouveauté,
Cueillez, cueillez vostre jeunesse :
Comme à ceste fleur la vieillesse
Fera ternir vostre beauté.
                                                                                                 My darling, let’s go and see if the rose,
                                                                                                 Which this morning had opened
                                                                                                 Its scarlet dress to the Sun,
                                                                                                 Has in any way lost, this evening,
                                                                                                 The folds of its scarlet dress
                                                                                                 And its hue, equal to your own.
                                                                                                 Alas!  see how in a little time,
                                                                                                 My darling, it has all round it,
                                                                                                 Alas, let its beauties fall !
                                                                                                 Nature, you are a  cruel stepmother
                                                                                                 If such a flower lasts
                                                                                                 From morning just till evening !
                                                                                                 So, if you believe me, my darling,
                                                                                                 While your years are blooming
                                                                                                 In their freshest newness,
                                                                                                 Harvest, oh harvest your youth :
                                                                                                 Just like this flower, old age
                                                                                                 Will tarnish your beauty.

You can read Tony Kline’s version in verse here.


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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