Monthly Archives: October 2012

Sonnet 64

Standard
Que dis-tu, que fais-tu, pensive Tourterelle,
Dessus cest arbre sec ?  T. Viateur, je lamente.
R. Pourquoi lamentes-tu ?  T. Pour ma compagne absente,
Dont je meurs de douleur. R. En quelle part est-elle ?
 
T. Un cruel oiseleur, par glueuse cautelle
L’a prise et l’a tuée : et nuict et jour je chante
Ses obseques icy, nommant la mort mechante
Qu’elle ne m’a tuée avecques ma fidelle.
 
R. Voudrois-tu bien mourir et suivre ta compagne ?
T. Aussi bien je languis en ce bois tenebreux,
Où tousjours le regret de sa mort m’accompagne.
 
R. O gentils oiselets que vous estes heureux !
Nature d’elle mesme à l’amour vous enseigne,,
Qui mourez et vivez fideles amoureux.
 
 
 
                                                                      R. What are you saying and doing, pensive dove,
                                                                      Upon this dry tree?
                                                                      T.                                        Wayfarer, I lament.
                                                                      R. Why do you lament?
                                                                      T.                                        For my absent companion,
                                                                      For whom I’m dying of grief.
                                                                      R.                                       Where is she?
 
                                                                      T. A cruel birdcatcher with sticky snare
                                                                      Took and killed her, so night and day I sing
                                                                      A funeral lament here, calling death unfair
                                                                      Who didn’t kill me with my love this way.
 
                                                                      R.  But would you truly die and follow your companion?
                                                                      T.  As well that as languish in this shady wood,
                                                                      Where grief for her death is my constant companion.
 
                                                                      R. O pretty birds, how fortunate you are!
                                                                      Nature herself teaches you love,
                                                                      Who live and die as true lovers.
 
 
 
Blanchemain’s version offers a number of small revisions:  the turtle-dove’s first reply is “Las ! passant, je lamente” (‘Alas, traveller, I lament‘); and he laments “pour ma compaigne absent / Plus chere que ma vie” (‘For my absent companion / Dearer than my life’).  In the second quatrain “nuict et jour je chante / Son trespas dans ces bois” (‘night and day I sing of her death in these woods’). And at the start of the first tercet Ronsard asks “Voudrois-tu bien mourir avecques ta compaigne?” (‘But would you truly die with your companion?‘).
 
However, none of these substantially changes the flavour of the sonnet, which remains a charming example of Ronsard’s faux-naif naturalism.
 
 

 

Advertisements

Sonnet 35

Standard
Quand je vous voy, ma mortelle Deesse,
Je deviens fol sourd muet et sans ame :
Dedans mon sein mon pauvre coeur se pâme,
Entre-surpris de joye et de tristesse.
 
Mon poil au chef se frissonne se dresse,
De glace froide une fièvre m’enflame,
Je pers le sens par vos regars ma dame,
Et quand à vous pour parler je m’adresse,
 
Mon oeil craint plus les vostres, qu’un enfant
Ne craint la verge, ou la fille sa mere,
Et toutefois vous ne m’estes severe,
 
Sinon au poinct que l’honneur vous defend.
Mais c’est assez puis que de ma misere
La guarison d’autre part ne depend.
 
 
 
                                                                           When I see you, my mortal Goddess,
                                                                            I become mad, deaf, dumb, dispirited;
                                                                            Within my breast my poor heart swoons
                                                                            Surprised by joy and sadness.
                                                                            
                                                                            The hair on my head shivers and stands upright,
                                                                            A fever burns me with cold ice,
                                                                            I lose my senses through your glances, my lady,
                                                                            And when I address myself to you to speak,
                                                                           
                                                                            My eye fears yours more than a child
                                                                            Fears the rod, or a daughter her mother,
                                                                            And yet you are not harsh with me
                                                                           
                                                                            Except as far as honour demands.
                                                                            But that is enough, since the cure for my despair
                                                                            Does not depend on any other.
 
 
In this sonnet substantive change is limited to the 2nd quatrain – otherwise Blanchemain’s version only(!) changes the first line of the poem…  Here, Blanchemain has “Quand je vous voy, ma gentille maitresse” (‘When I see you, my kind mistress’). His second stanza runs thus:
 
 
Par tout mon chef le poil rebours se dresse,
De glace froide une fièvre m’enflame
Veines et nerfs. En tel estat, ma Dame,
Je suis pour vous, quand à vous je m’adresse.
 
                                                                            Over my whole head the hair stands upright,
                                                                            A fever burns my veins and nerves
                                                                            With cold ice: I am in this state, my lady,
                                                                            Because of you, when I speak to you.
 
 
 
 

Madrigal (34a)

Standard
Comment au departir, adieu pourroy-je dire,
Duquel le souvenir tant seulement me pâme ?
Adieu ma chère vie, adieu ma seconde ame,
Adieu mon cher souci, pour qui seul je souspire :
 
Adieu le bel objet de mon plaisant martyre,
Adieu bel oeil divin qui m’englace et m’enflame.
Adieu ma douce glace, adieu ma douce flame,
Adieu par qui je vis et par qui je respire :
 
Adieu, belle humble honneste et gentille maistresse,
Adieu les doux liens où vous m’avez tenu
Maintenant en travail, maintenant en liesse :
Il est temps de partir le jour en est venu.
 
Le besoin importune non le desir me presse.
Le desir ne sçauroit desloger de son lieu :
Le pied vous laisse bien, mais le coeur ne vous laisse.
 
Je vous conjure ici par Amour nostre Dieu
De prendre ce pendant mon coeur : tenez, maistresse,
Voy-le-là, baisez-moi, gardez-le, et puis adieu.
 
 
 
                                                                            How on parting will I be able to say farewell,
                                                                            Thinking of which alone makes me faint ?
                                                                            Farewell my dear life, farewell my second soul,
                                                                            Farewell my dear one for whom alone I yearn;
                                                                           
                                                                            Farewell fair object of my sweet suffering,
                                                                            Farewell lovely divine eye which both freezes and burns me.
                                                                            Farewell my sweet ice, farewell my sweet flame,
                                                                            Farewell the one in whom I live and for whom I breathe:
                                                                           
                                                                            Farewell fair humble, noble and gentle mistress,
                                                                            Farewell the sweet bonds in which you have held me
                                                                            Now in pain, now in delight:
                                                                            It is time to part, the hour has come.
                                                                           
                                                                            Pressing need not desire presses me;
                                                                            Desire would not be able to move from its place,
                                                                            And while my feet may indeed leave you, my heart will not leave.
                                                                            
                                                                            I beg you here by Love our God
                                                                            To take my heart however: keep it, my mistress,
                                                                            Look at it there, kiss me, watch over it, and so – farewell.
 
 
For Ronsard, a madrigal is a sonnet with an unusual number of lines – that is, his lines have the same length and are grouped in 4s and 3s as in a sonnet, but he has an extra line or two – or as in this case an extra tercet.  Blanchemain however points out that the version with that tercet (the penultimate ‘stanza’) appears only in posthumous editions. Ronsard’s other madrigals in Amours 2 are variously 4+4+4+3;  4+4+3+4;  4+4+3+5;  and so on. He doesn’t have a ‘standard’ non-sonnet madrigal form, in other words.
 
For once, that extra tercet apart, there is no difference between the versions these 2 print.  However, I have also seen a late version with a different line 5 (“Adieu le bel objet, adieu mon doux martyre” – ‘Farewell lovely one, farewell my sweet suffering‘) and the following final tercet instead:
 
 
Mais avant que partir je vous supplie en lieu
De moi prendre mon coeur, tenez, je vous le laisse,
Voile-la, baisez-moi maîtresse, et puis adieu.
 
                                                                            But before parting I beg you in place
                                                                            Of me to take my heart, keep it, I leave it for you,
                                                                            Wrap it up [or, see it there], kiss me mistress, and then farewell.
 
 
 
 
 

Sonnet 15

Standard
Beauté dont la douceur pourroit vaincre les Rois,
Renvoyez moy mon coeur qui languist en servage,
Ou si le mien vous plaist baillez le vostre en gage :
Sans le vostre ou le mien vivre je ne pourrois.
 
Quand mort en vous servant sans mon coeur je serois,
Ce me seroit honneur, à vous seroit dommage,
Dommage en me perdant, à moy trop d’avantage,
J’en jure par vos yeux, quand pour vous je mourrois.
 
Pourveu que mon trespas vous plaise en quelque chose,
Il me plaist de mourir mon trespas poursuyvant,
Sans plus r’avoir le mien, dont le vostre dispose :
 
Et veux que sur ma lame Amour aille escrivant,
CELUY QUI GIST ICY, SANS COEUR ESTOIT VIVANT,
ET TRESPASSA SANS COEUR, ET SANS COEUR IL REPOSE.
 
 
 
                                                                      Beauty, whose softness could conquer kings,
                                                                      Send me back my heart which languishes in servitude
                                                                      Or if mine pleases you, deposit your own as a pledge in return:
                                                                      Without yours or mine I could not live.
                                                                     
                                                                      If I died in serving you without my heart
                                                                      I would deem it an honour, though for you a loss –
                                                                      Loss in losing me, but the greatest gain for me,
                                                                      I swear it by your eyes, if I could die for you.
                                                                     
                                                                      Provided my death would please you in some way,
                                                                      I am happy to die and to pursue my death
                                                                      Without regaining mine, which is at the disposal of yours;
                                                                     
                                                                      Yet I hope that on my soul Love would write
                                                                      HE WHO DWELT HERE, LIVED WITHOUT A HEART
                                                                      AND DIED WITHOUT A HEART, AND RESTS HERE WITHOUT A HEART.
 
 
 
 
Once more a sonnet with substantially different versions.  Blanchemain’s version changes 8 of the first 11 lines; only the final tercet remains unchanged.  With so much change here is his version complete. Note that, following the last sonnet’s unusual rhyme scheme in the sestet, this version of the poem has a number of unusual enjambements in lines 3-4 and 6-7.
 
 
Beauté dont la douceur pourroit vaincre les rois,
Mon coeur que vous tenez dans vos yeux en servage,
Helas! rendez le moi ou me baillez en gage
Le vostre, car sans coeur vivre je ne pourrois.
 
Quand mort en vous servant sans mon coeur je serois,
Plus que vous ne pensez ce vous seroit dommage
De perdre un tel amy, à moy grand avantage.
Grand honneur et plaisir, quand pour vous je mourrois.
 
Ainsi nous ne pouvons encourir de ma mort,
Vous, Madame, qu’un blâme, et moi, qu’un reconfort,
Pourveu que mon trespas vous plaise en quelque chose ;
 
Et veux que sur ma lame Amour aille escrivant :
CELUY QUI GIST ICY, SANS COEUR ESTOIT VIVANT,
ET TRESPASSA SANS COEUR, ET SANS COEUR IL REPOSE.
 
 
                                                                      Beauty, whose softness could conquer kings,
                                                                      My heart which you hold in servitude in your eyes,
                                                                      Alas! give it me back or deposit with me
                                                                      Your own, for without a heart I could not live.
                                                                      
                                                                      If I died in serving you without my heart
                                                                      It would be for you a greater loss than you think
                                                                      To lose such a friend, but a great gain for me,
                                                                      And honour and pleasure, if I could die for you.
                                                                     
                                                                      Thus we would only incur from my death
                                                                      A reproof for you, my Lady, and comfort for me,
                                                                      Provided my death would please you in some way;
                                                                     
                                                                      Yet I hope that on my soul Love would write
                                                                      HE WHO DWELT HERE, LIVED WITHOUT A HEART
                                                                      AND DIED WITHOUT A HEART, AND RESTS HERE WITHOUT A HEART.
 
 
 
 

Sonnet 19

Standard

As a reminder to myself that it’s been a long time since posting…

Marie levez-vous ma jeune paresseuse,
Ja la gaye Alouette au ciel a fredonné,
Et ja le Rossignol doucement jargonné,
Dessus l’espine assis sa complainte amoureuse.
 
Sus debout allons voir l’herbelette perleuse,
Et vostre beau rosier de boutons couronné,
Et vos oeillets mignons ausquels aviez donné
Hier au soir de l’eau d’une main si songneuse.
 
Harsoir en vous couchant vous jurastes vos yeux
D’estre plus-tost que moy ce matin esveillée :
Mais le dormir de l’Aube aux filles gracieux
 
Vous tient d’un doux sommeil encor les yeux sillée.
Ça ça que je les baise et vostre beau tetin
Cent fois pour vous apprendre à vous lever matin.
 
 
 
 
                                                                      Marie, get up, you little lazybones,
                                                                      Already the happy lark has sung in the sky
                                                                      And the nightingale sweetly chattered,
                                                                      Sitting on the tree top, of her lovers’ complaint.
 
                                                                      Up, up, let’s go and see the dewy grass
                                                                      And your lovely rose bush crowned with dewdrops
                                                                      And your charming pinks, to which you gave
                                                                      Water last night so carefully with your own hand.
 
                                                                      Yester-eve as you laid down you swore on your eyes
                                                                      To wake earlier than me this morning;
                                                                      But the Dawn’s sleeping, so gracious to young girls,
 
                                                                      Still keeps you in sweet slumber, your eyes rheumy.
                                                                      There there, how shall kiss them and your fair breast
                                                                      A hundred times, to teach you to get up in the morning!
 
 
Note the unusual sestet, whose ‘blocks of meaning’ go 2+2+2 rather than 3+3; and whose rhyme scheme is cd cd ee instead of cce dde. 
 
Blanchemain’s version again has a number of changes, in particular normalising the sestet.  His opening line is different, “Mignonne, levez-vous, vous estes paresseuse” (‘My darling, get up, you are being lazy’), but his text for the opening octet otherwise the same. I have, however, seen a different version which substitutes “frisquement” (‘coolly’) for “doucement” (‘sweetly’) in line 3.
 
Here is the sestet in which Blanchemain offers quite substantial changes:
 
 
Hier en vous couchant vous me fistes promesse
D’estre plutost que moy ce matin eveillée,
Mais le sommeil vous tient encor toute sillée.
 
Ha! je vous punirai du péché de paresse,
Je vay baiser vos yeux et vostre beau tetin
Cent fois, pour vous apprendre à vous lever matin.
 
 
                                                                     Yesterday as you laid down you promised me
                                                                     To wake earlier than me this morning
                                                                     But you are still all soiled with sleep.
 
                                                                     Oho, I will punish you for the sin of laziness,
                                                                     I’m going to kiss your eyes and your fair breast
                                                                     A hundred times, to teach you to get up in the morning.
 
 
I’ve also seen a third version of the very end, re-arranging the elements again while retaining the 3+3 sense structure:
 
Je vais baiser cent fois vostr’ oeil, vostre tetin,
A fin de vous apprendr’ à vous lever matin.
 
                                                                     I’m going to kiss your eye a hundred times, your breast too,
                                                                     In order to teach you to get up in the morning.
 
 
 
 

Chanson (6c)

Standard

In his second book of Amours, Ronsard allowed himself to break up the sequence of sonnets with verse in different forms – madrigals, chansons, …  These are inserted (unnumbered) into the sequence – see the collection listing for the order – but for convenience I have given them a number too, showing which sonnet they come after, so that (e.g.) 6a comes after sonnet 6; and 6c is the third poem inserted between sonnets 6 and 7.
I’m also experimenting with how to present a long poem with a translation. As with the sonnets, Ronsard does not leave gaps between each stanza’ of 4 lines, but he does notate the poem in sections of 4 lines.

 
 
Je veux chanter en ces vers ma tristesse :
Car sans pleurer chanter je ne pourrois,
Veu que je suis absent de ma maistresse :
Si je chantois autrement je mourrois.
                                                                                       I want to sing in these verses of my sadness
                                                                                       For I could not sing without weeping
                                                                                       Seeing that I am away from my mistress.
                                                                                       If I sang of other things I would die.
Pour ne mourir il faut donc que je chante
En chants piteux ma plaintive langueur,
Pour le départ de ma maistresse absente,
Qui de mon sein m’a desrobé le coeur.
                                                                                       So as not to die, I must therefore sing
                                                                                       In pitiful songs of my woeful weakness
                                                                                       On the departure of my absent mistress
                                                                                       Who has stolen the heart from my bosom.
Desja l’Esté, et Ceres la blétiere,
Ayant le front orné de son present,
Ont ramené la moisson nourriciere
Depuis le temps que d’elle suis absent,
                                                                                       Already Summer, and Ceres the corn goddess,
                                                                                       Her brow adorned with her gifts,
                                                                                       Have brought in the nourishing harvest
                                                                                       Since the time that I have been away from her
Loin de ses yeux, dont la lumiere belle
Seule pourroit guarison me donner :
Et si j’estois là bas en la nacelle,
Me pourroit faire au monde retourner.
                                                                                       Far from her eyes whose lovely light
                                                                                       Alone could give me healing
                                                                                       And even if I were in the beyond, in my coffin,
                                                                                       That light could make me return to the world.
Mais ma raison est si bien corrompue
Par une fausse et vaine illusion,
Que nuict et jour je la porte en la veuë,
Et sans la voir j’en ay la vision.
                                                                                       But my reason is so completely corrupted
                                                                                       By a false and empty illusion
                                                                                       That night and day I carry her before my eyes
                                                                                       And without seeing her I have her in my sight.
Comme celuy qui contemple les nues,
Fantastiquant mille monstres bossus,
Hommes, oiseaux, et Chimeres cornues,
Tant par les yeux nos esprits sont deceus.
                                                                                       Like one who contemplates the clouds
                                                                                       Inventing a thousand hunchback beasts
                                                                                       Men, birds and horned chimaera
                                                                                       So by our eyes our spirits are deceived.
Et comme ceux, qui d’une haleine forte,
En haute mer, à puissance de bras
Tirent la rame, ils l’imaginent torte,
Et toutesfois la rame ne l’est pas :
                                                                                       And like those who with deep breaths
                                                                                       In high seas by the power of their arms
                                                                                       Pull the oars, they make some mistake
                                                                                       And suddenly the oar is not there,
Ainsi je voy d’une oeillade trompee
Cette beauté, dont je suis depravé,
Qui par les yeux dedans l’ame frapée,
M’a vivement son portrait engravé.
                                                                                       So I see through a trick of my sight
                                                                                       This beauty of which I am deprived
                                                                                       Which striking my soul through my eyes
                                                                                       Has vividly engraved her portrait within me.
Et soit que j’erre au plus haut des montaignes
Ou dans un bois, loing de gens et de bruit,
Ou sur le Loir, ou parmy les campaignes,
Tousjours au coeur ce beau portrait me suit.
                                                                                       And if I wandered over the highest mountains
                                                                                       Or in a wood far from people and noise
                                                                                       Or on the Loir, or in the countryside,
                                                                                       Always this lovely portrait is there in my heart.
Si j’apperçoy quelque champ qui blondoye
D’espics frisez au travers des sillons,
Je pense voir ses beaux cheveux de soye
Espars au vent en mille crespillons.
                                                                                       If I see some field yellowing
                                                                                       With corn waving across the furrows
                                                                                       I think I see her lovely silken her
                                                                                       Spread in the wind in thousands of little curls.
Si le Croissant au premier mois j’avise,
Je pense voir son sourcil ressemblant
A l’arc d’un Turc qui la sagette a mise
Dedans la coche, et menace le blanc.
                                                                                       If I see the crescent moon at the start of the month
                                                                                       I think I see her eyebrows, like
                                                                                       A Turk’s bow when he’s nocked an arrow
                                                                                       And threatens the white man.
Quand à mes yeux les estoiles drillantes
Viennent la nuict en temps calme s’offrir,
Je pense voir ses prunelles ardantes,
Que je ne puis ny fuyr, ny souffrir.
                                                                                       When the twinkling stars come and offer themselves to my eyes
                                                                                       At night in calm weather
                                                                                       I think I am seeing her burning pupils
                                                                                       Which I can neither flee nor endure.
Quand j’apperçoy la rose sur l’espine,
Je pense voir de ses lèvres le teint :
La rose au soir de sa couleur decline,
L’autre couleur jamais ne se desteint.
                                                                                       When I spy the rose on its thorn
                                                                                       I think I see the colour of her lips
                                                                                       But the rose’s colour wanes at evening,
                                                                                       The other colour never fades.
Quand j’apperçoy les fleurs en quelque prée
Ouvrir leur robe au lever du Soleil,
Je pense voir de sa face pourprée
S’espanouyr le beau lustre vermeil.
                                                                                       When I see flowers in some meadow
                                                                                       Opening their frock at the sun’s rising
                                                                                       I think I’m seeing her flushed face
                                                                                       Blooming with its charming crimson tint.
Si j’apperçoy quelque chesne sauvage,
Qui jusqu’au ciel éleve ses rameaux,
Je pense voir sa taille et son corsage,
Ses pieds sa grève et ses coudes jumeaux.
                                                                                       If I see some wild oak
                                                                                       Lifting its branches to the sky
                                                                                       I think I’m seeing her waist and blouse
                                                                                       Her feet, her legs, her twin arms.
Si j’entens bruire une fontaine claire,
Je pense ouir sa voix dessus le bord,
Qui se plaignant de ma triste misere,
M’appelle à soy pour me donner confort.
                                                                                       If I hear the sound of a clear spring
                                                                                       I think I’m hearing her voice over the bank
                                                                                       Which, pitying my sad distress,
                                                                                       Calls me to itself to give me comfort.
Voilà comment pour estre fantastique,
En cent façons ses beautez j’apperçoy,
Et m’esjouïs d’estre melancholique,
Pour recevoir tant de formes en moy.
                                                                                       That’s how fantastical I am
                                                                                       In a hundred ways I see her beauty
                                                                                       And rejoice to be unhappy
                                                                                       Since I perceive her in so many shapes.
Aimer vrayment est une maladie,
Les medecins la sçavent bien juger,
Nommant ce mal fureur de fantaisie,
Qui ne se peut par herbes soulager.
                                                                                       To love is truly an illness
                                                                                       Doctors know well how to diagnose it
                                                                                       Defining this illness as a madness of fantasy
                                                                                       Which cannot be cured with medicine.
J’aimerois mieux la fièvre dans mes veines,
Ou quelque peste, ou quelque autre douleur
Que de souffrir tant d’amoureuses peines,
Dont le bon-heur n’est sinon que malheur.
                                                                                       I’d prefer fever in my veins
                                                                                       Or some kind of plague or other illness
                                                                                       Than to suffer so many pains for love
                                                                                       Whose good-feeling is nothing but feeling-bad.
Or va, Chanson, dans le sein de Marie,
Pour l’asseurer, que ce n’est tromperie
Des visions que je raconte icy,
Qui me font vivre et mourir en soucy.
                                                                                       So, my song, go to Marie’s breast
                                                                                       To assure her that they’re no lie,
                                                                                       These visions that I speak of here
                                                                                       Which make me live and die in pain.
 
 
 
It will be no surprise that there are quite a number of adjustments in different versions.  Although the changes do not affect the meaning much, Blanchemain’s version has different choices of words, different phrases, all the way through,  as he presents a different stage of Ronsard’s re-working of the poem. 
 
That makes it hard to present the changes in a way that doesn’t leave you constantly referring back and forth between versions. I’ve opted for being prolix and setting out the whole poem (again!) in Blanchemain’s version, this time with the changes marked in colour. There’s an additional verse he marks with parentheses [ ] but he doesn’t offer an explanation for including it – it is clearly inferior to the surrounding verses.
 
 
Je veux chanter en ces vers ma tristesse:
Car autrement chanter je ne pourrois,
Veu que je suis absent de ma maistresse ;
Si je chantois autrement je mourrois.
 
Pour ne mourir il faut donc que je chante
En chants piteux ma plaintive langueur,
Pour le départ de ma maistresse absente,
Qui de mon sein m’a desrobé le coeur.
 
Desja l’esté et Ceres la blétiere,
Ayant le front orné de son present,
Ont ramené la moisson nourriciere
Depuis le temps que mort je suis absent,
 
De ses beaux yeux, dont la lumiere belle
Seule pourroit guerison me donner,
Et, si j’estois là bas en la nacelle,
Me pourroit faire au monde retourner.
 
Mais ma raison est si bien corrompue
Par une fausse et vaine illusion,
Que nuict et jour je la porte en la veue,
Et sans la voir j’en ay la vision.
 
Comme celuy qui contemple les nues,
Pense aviser mille formes là-sus,
D’hommes, d’oiseaux, de Chimeres cornues,
Et ne voit rien, car ses yeux sont deceus.
 
Et comme cil qui, d’une haleine forte,
En haute mer, à puissance de bras
Tire la rame, il l’imagine torte,
Rompue en l’eau, toutesfois ne l’est pas,
 
Ainsi je voy d’une veue trompée
Celle qui m’a tout le sens depravé,
Qui, par les yeux dedans l’ame frapée,
M’a vivement son pourtrait engravé.
 
Et soit que j’erre au plus haut des montagnes
Ou dans un bois, loin de gens et de bruit,
Ou dans les prés, ou parmy les campaignes,
Toujours à l’oeil ce beau pourtrait me suit.
 
Si j’aperçoy quelque champ qui blondoye
D’espics frisez au travers des sillons,
Je pense voir ses beaux cheveux de soye,
Refrisottés en mille crespillons.
 
[Si j’aperçoi quelque table carrée
D’ivoire ou jaspe aplani proprement,
Je pense veoir la voûte mesurée
De son beau front égallé pleinement.]
 
Si le croissant au premier mois j’avise,
Je pense voir son sourcil ressemblant
A l’arc d’un Turc qui la sagette a mise
Dedans la coche, et menace le blanc.
 
Quand à mes yeux les estoilles drillantes
Viennent la nuict en temps calme s’offrir,
Je pense voir ses prunelles ardantes,
Que je ne puis ny fuire ny souffrir.
 
Quand j’apperçoy la rose sur l’espine,
Je pense voir de ses lèvres le teint ;
Mais la beauté de l’une au soir decline,
L’autre beauté jamais ne se desteint.
 
Quand j’apperçoy les fleurs dans une prée
S’espanouir au lever du soleil,
Je pense voir de sa face pourprée
Et de son sein le beau lustre vermeil.
 
Si j’apperçoy quelque chesne sauvage,
Qui jusqu’au ciel éleve ses rameaux,
Je pense en luy contempler son corsage,
Ses pieds, sa grève, et ses coudes jumeaux.
 
Si j’enten bruire une fontaine claire,
Je pense ouyr sa voix dessus le bord,
Qui, se plaignant de ma triste misere,
M’appelle à soy pour me donner confort.
 
Voilà comment, pour estre fantastique,
En cent façons ses beautez j’apperçoy,
Et m’esjouy d’estre melancholique,
Pour recevoir tant de formes en moy.
 
Aimer vrayment est une maladie ;
Les medecins la sçavent bien juger,
En la nommant fureur de fantaisie,
Qui ne se peut par herbes soulager.
 
J’aimerois mieux la fièvre dans mes veines,
Ou quelque peste, ou quelque autre douleur,
Que de souffrir tant d’amoureuses peines,
Qui sans tuer nous consomment le coeur.
 
Or-va, Chanson, dans le sein de Marie,
Qui me fait vivre en penible soucy,
Pour l’asseurer que ce n’est tromperie
Des visions que je raconte icy.
I want to sing in these verses of my sadness
For I could not sing of anything else
Seeing that I am away from my mistress.
If I sang of other things I would die.
 
So as not to die, I must therefore sing
In pitiful songs of my woeful weakness
On the departure of my absent mistress
Who has stolen the heart from my bosom.
 
Already Summer, and Ceres the corn goddess,
Her brow adorned with her gifts,
Have brought in the nourishing harvest
Since the time that, dead, I have been away
 
From her fair eyes whose lovely light
Alone could give me healing
And even if I were in the beyond, in my coffin,
That light could make me return to the world.
 
But my reason is so completely corrupted
By false imagination
That night and day I carry her before my eyes
And without seeing her I have her in my sight.
 
Like one who contemplates the clouds
Thinks that he sees a thousand shapes up there
Men, birds and horned chimaera,
Yet sees nothing, for his eyes are deceived.
 
And like he who with deep breaths
In high seas by the power of his arms
Pull the oar, he makes some mistake
And suddenly, broken in the sea, it is not there,
 
So I see through a trick of my sight
She who has deprived me of all sense,
Which striking my soul through my eyes
Has vividly engraved her portrait within me.
 
And if I wandered over the highest mountains
Or in a wood far from people and noise
Or in the meadows, or the countryside,
Always this lovely portrait is there to my eye.
 
If I see some field yellowing
With corn waving across the furrows
I think I see her lovely silken her
Crimped again in thousands of little curls.
 
[If I see some squared-off table
Made of ivory or jasper, finely planed,
I think I see plainly equalled
The finely-proportioned arc of her brow.]
 
If I see the crescent moon at the start of the month
I think I see her eyebrows, like
A Turk’s bow when he’s nocked an arrow
And threatens the white man.
 
When the twinkling stars come and offer themselves
To my eyes at night in calm weather
I think I am seeing her burning pupils
Which I can neither flee nor endure.
 
When I spy the rose on its thorn
I think I see the colour of her lips
But the beauty of the one wanes at evening,
The other beauty never fades.
 
When I see flowers in a meadow
Opening at the sun’s rising
I think I’m seeing the charming crimson tint
Of her flushed face and of her breast.
 
If I see some wild oak
Lifting its branches to the sky
I think in it I see her waist
Her feet, her legs, her twin arms.
 
If I hear the sound of a clear spring
I think I’m hearing her voice over the bank
Which, pitying my sad distress,
Calls me to itself to give me comfort.
 
That’s how fantastical I am
In a hundred ways I see her beauty
And rejoice to be unhappy
Since I perceive her in so many shapes.
 
To love is truly an illness
Doctors know well how to diagnose it
In defining it as a madness of fantasy
Which cannot be cured with medicine.
 
I’d prefer fever in my veins
Or some kind of plague or other illness
Than to suffer so many pains for love
Whose good-feeling is nothing but feeling-bad.
 
So, my song, go to Marie’s breast
Which makes me live in terrible pain.
To assure her that they’re no lie,
These visions that I speak of here.
 
 Note that in this version Ronsard juggles the last three lines – only one is re-written, but the sequence changes.
 
 

Download of Cassandre sonnets 1-50

Standard

Now that I’ve completed the listing of poems 1-50 of the Amours book 1, I’ve put texts of them all into a Word doc for convenient one-stop downloading.  Reflecting my ‘standardisation’ on Marty-Laveaux’s version, I’ve not included in this document all the alternative versions which are set out on the individual posts for each poem – just the basic text and translation.

The doc is available here.