De la riviere Tusque, et le mont Palatin,
Et que l’air des Latins te fait parler Latin,
Changeant à l’estranger ton naturel langage : Une fille d’Anjou me detient en servage,
Ores baisant sa main et ores son tetin,
Et ores ses beaux yeux astres de mon destin.
Je vy (comme lon dit) trop plus heureux que sage. Tu diras à Maigni, lisant ces vers ici,
C’est grand cas que Ronsard est encore amoureux !
Mon Bellay, je le suis, et le veux estre aussi, Et ne veux confesser qu’amour soit malheureux,
Ou si c’est un malheur, baste, je delibere
De vivre malheureux en si belle misere. Although you are looking at the superb banks Of the Tuscan river, and the Palatine hill,
And although the Latin air is making you speak Latin,
Changing to a foreign one your native language; A lass from Anjou is holding me in servitude,
Now kissing her hand, now her breast,
And now her fine eyes, the stars of my fate.
I live, as they say, much more happily than wisely. You’ll say to Maigni, as you read these verses,
‘There’s good reason to think Ronsard’s in love again!’
My Bellay, I am indeed, and I want to be, too, And have no wish to admit love can be unhappy,
Or if it is unhappy – so what! I plan
To live unhappily in such joyful sadness! Only minor differences in Blanchemain’s version, again. For line 7 he replaces “Et ores ses beaux yeux astres de mon destin” (‘And now her fine eyes, the stars of my fate’) with “Et maintenant ses yeux endormis au matin” (‘And now her eyes, still closed in the morning’). In line 9, Marty-Laveaux’s ‘Maigni’ (which is I presume a name) is re-spelled ‘Magny’ which looks more like a place – ‘You’ll say in Magny’? It’s a fairly common place name in France; though how that sits with the first stanza’s Italian sojourn is another matter! Remy Bellau’s note on this poem tells us “This sonnet is addressed to Joachim du Bellay, who died suddenly on the 1st day of the year 1559, in the morning, after staying up very late the night before composing. He dedicated this sonnet when du Bellay was in Rome with cardinal du Bellay his cousin, when he enjoyed turning his Amours into Latin verse.” The Palatine Hill points to Rome, the Tuscan river presumably is the Arno in Florence, that other centre of Italian letters.