Odes 4, 18

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Dieu vous gard, messagers fidelles
Du printemps, gentes arondelles,
Huppes, cocus, rossignolets,
Tourtres, et vous oiseaux sauvages
Qui de cent sortes de ramages
Animez les bois verdelets.
 
 Dieu vous gard, belles paquerettes,
Belles roses, belles fleurettes
De Mars, et vous boutons cognus
Du sang d’Ajax et de Narcisse ;
Et vous, thym, anis et melisse,
Vous soyez les bien revenus.
 
Dieu vous gard, troupe diaprée
De papillons, qui par la prée
Les douces herbes suçotez ;
Et vous, nouvel essain d’abeilles,
Qui les fleurs jaunes et vermeilles
Indifferemment baisotez.
 
Cent mille fois je resalue
Vostre belle et douce venue ;
O que j’aime ceste saison
Et ce doux caquet des rivages,
Au prix des vents et des orages
Qui m’enfermoient en la maison !
 
[Sus, page, à cheval ! que l’on bride !
Ayant ce beau printemps pour guide,
Je veux ma dame aller trouver
Pour voir, en ces beaux mois, si elle
Autant vers moi sera cruelle
Comme elle fut durant l’hyver.]
 
 
                                                                                               God watch over you, faithful messengers
                                                                                               Of Spring, noble swallows,
                                                                                               Hoopoes, cuckoos, little nightingales,
                                                                                               Turtledoves, and you wild birds
                                                                                               Who with a hundred kinds of song
                                                                                               Bring the green wood to life.
 
                                                                                               God watch over you, lovely daisies,
                                                                                               Lovely roses, lovely little flowers
                                                                                               Of March, and you well-known buds
                                                                                               From the blood of Ajax and Narcissus;
                                                                                               And you thyme, anise, lemon balm,
                                                                                               Are all very welcome back.
 
                                                                                               God watch over you, many-coloured band
                                                                                               Of butterflies, who suck
                                                                                               The sweet grasses in the meadow;
                                                                                               And you, fresh swarm of bees
                                                                                               Who kiss indifferently
                                                                                               Both yellow and red flowers.
 
                                                                                               A hundred times I greet again
                                                                                               Your fair and sweet return;
                                                                                               Oh, how I love this season
                                                                                               And the sweet babbling of the brooks
                                                                                               Even with the winds and storms
                                                                                               Which may imprison me in the house!
 
                                                                                               [Up then, page, to horse! Bridle him!
                                                                                               With this fair spring as guide
                                                                                               I want to go and find my lady
                                                                                               To see if, in these lovely months, she
                                                                                               Will be as cruel to me
                                                                                               As she was through the winter.]
 
 
 Blanchemain in his edition parenthesises the last stanza without explanation; it is certainly a change of direction, but hardly unparalleled in Ronsard!
 
The flowers of Ajax and Narcissus are the violet (marked with AI, the first two letters of Ajax’s Greek name AIAS), and of course the narcissus (or perhaps the daffodil) which was said to have sprung from his blood.
 
 
 
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