Sonnet 28

Injuste Amour fusil de toute rage,
Que peut un coeur soumis à ton pouvoir,
Quand il te plaist par les sens esmouvoir
Nostre raison qui preside au courage ?
Je ne voy pré fleur antre ny ravage,
Champ roc ny bois ny flots dedans le Loir,
Que peinte en eux, il ne me semble voir
Cette beauté qui me tient en servage.
Ores en forme ou d’un foudre allumé,
Ou d’un torrent, ou d’un Tigre affamé,
Par fantaisie Amour de nuict les guide.
Mais quand ma main en songe les poursuit,
Le feu, la nef, et le torrent me fuit,
Et pour le vray je ne pren que le vuide.
                                                                      Unjust Love, the spark of all passion,
                                                                      What can a heart subdued by your power do
                                                                      When you are pleased to overturn through the senses
                                                                      Our reason, which directs our courage?
                                                                      I cannot see a meadow, a flower, cave or riverbank,
                                                                      A field, rock, wood or waves upon the Loire,
                                                                      But painted on them I seem to see
                                                                      That beauty which holds me in servitude.
                                                                      Sometimes in the form of a lightning flash,
                                                                      Or a torrent, or a starving tiger
                                                                      In dreams Love leads them by night ;
                                                                      But when my hand in dream reaches for them,
                                                                      The fire, the ship, the river flee from me,
                                                                      And instead of the real thing, I grasp nothing but emptiness.
That third stanza caused Ronsard some problems:  the version above has that unexplained ‘them’ at the end, which becomes clearer, but hardly clear, when you see it picked up by the fire etc in line 13.  The version in Blanchemain sidesteps that problem, and postpones the ‘les’ to line 12 where it can at least refer back to the lightning etc. But the ‘it’ of line 11 rather awkwardly points back to ‘that beauty’ in line 8, which is also not an easy construction to follow.
Ores en forme ou d’un foudre enflammé,
Ou d’un torrent, ou d’un tigre affamé,
Amour la nuict devant mes yeux la guide.
                                                                      Sometimes in the form of flaming lightning,
                                                                      Or a torrent, or a starving tiger
                                                                      Love by night leads it before my eyes
(A further minor change in line 12, in Blanchemain’s version he reaches out with an arm, not a hand – ‘mon bras’ for ‘ma main’.)

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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