Madrigal (34a)

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.

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')

7 responses »

  1. Have you published all your translations and comments on Ronsard’s poems ? If so where ? many thanks 1

    • John – this is my publication mechanism! I am (more or less literally) translating as I go, keeping a few poems ahead, and then gathering up the more substantial chunks of translations (and texts) into Word docs or PDFs. I’m afraid I don’t have a completed set of translations all ready & waiting to be blogged (or otherwise published)! 🙂

      You can find the PDF collected sets I’ve done so far on the Cassandre and Marie pages (Cassandre 1-100, Marie book 1 the first 40-odd poems, and the complete ‘Death of Marie’). More will appear as my self-imposed voyage through Ronsard goes on… [ Note: texts and translations only, I’ve not collected the commentaries. ]


      • Many thanks David. I wonder if I have quizzed you before about Ronsard ? I have been recording French Melodies by the 19th century Franco/German composer Théodore Gouvy. His choice of poet was Ronsard ( indeed he boasted that it was he who brought Ronsard’s poetry to the attention of the French again !! ) and hardly ever used poetry of his contemporaries. However, with my own volume ( Editon Gallimard ) of Les Amours and the help of such sites as your own, I can see quite clearly just how Gouvy has mucked around with Ronsard’s poetry, cutting and even inventing his own sentences !!! The Sonnets, most of the time, no longer resemble Sonnets. Anyway, in tackling Gouvy’s Mélodies I am delighted to have met the poetry of Ronsard. I look forward then to more from you. Many thanks for replying so quickly.

  2. Thanks John – you may indeed have asked before, I couldn’t remember either! I also came across Ronsard via song-settings, though for me via providing some translations of renaissance composers for Emily Ezust’s project.

    I’ll let you into a secret. I haven’t found (but then I haven’t looked for) a concordance of Ronsard madrigal settings during his lifetime, when he was again the most popular person to set – at least in France, but also beyond. When I have the time (!), I was thinking of beginning a project to cross-reference the poems against the various sets of madrigals published… Partly to see which poems were set, partly to explore a largely-forgotten corner of music history (Italian & English madrigalists are quite well-known, the French ones I think less so!), and perhaps even to bring some of the settings into the light of day for the first time since the 1500/1600s.

    Your own Gouvy project sounds fascinating too. I’ve looked for info but his settings too are something of a specialist research project! Just trying to find out how many settings he made is not as simple as I thought! And there are few enough recordings of any of his melodies, let alone a comprehensive Ronsard selection. If you’re publishing the recordings (and I think I saw a reference to a CD somewhere) I’ll be in the market to buy it !!

    • Hi David. In preparing my Gouvy/Ronsard cd, I asked a Parisan Prof friend of mine to write a short text on Ronsard. In his article he mentions that more than 200 poems of Ronsard were set to music between 1552-1600 by such composers as Certon, Janequin, Muret, Goudimel and in particular the settings of Les Amours by Anthoine de Bertrand.
      I’ll get a cd to you when it comes out.

      • Thanks John – well, 200+ gives me a sense of the scale of the task! But it also indicates that someone somewhere sometime might already have done this – which would save me a few months of research!

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