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.
 
 

 

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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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