Sonnet 11

Amour estant marry qu’il avoit ses sagettes
Tiré contre Marie, et ne l’avoit blessée,
Par despit dans un bois sa trousse avoit laissée
Tant que pleine elle fust d’un bel essain d’Avettes.

Ja de leurs piquerons ces captives mouchettes
Pour avoir liberté la trousse avoient persée,
Et s’enfuyoient alors qu’Amour l’a renversée
Sur la face à Marie, et sur ses mammelettes.

Soudain apres qu’il eut son carquois deschargé,
Tout riant sautela, pensant s’estre vangé
De celle à qui son arc n’avoit sceu faire outrage.

Mais il rioit en vain : car ces filles du ciel
En lieu de la picquer, baisans son beau visage,
En amassoient les fleurs et en faisoient du miel.

                                                                      Love, fed up that he had shot his arrows
                                                                      At Marie, but not marked her,
                                                                      In vexation abandoned his kit in a wood
                                                                      Though it was filled with a fine swarm of bees.

                                                                      Already the captive insects had pierced the bag
                                                                      With their stings, to gain their liberty,
                                                                      And out they flew as Love tipped it over
                                                                      Onto the face and breast of Marie.

                                                                      After he’d suddenly emptied his quiver thus
                                                                      He danced around laughing, thinking he’d got revenge
                                                                      On her whom his bow had not been able to injure.

                                                                      But he laughed in vain; for these daughters of heaven,
                                                                      Instead of stinging her, kissed her pretty face,
                                                                      Gathered its flowers and from them made honey.

 Another of those little nightmare translation moments here – how do you match the gentle amusement of rhyming ‘marry’ (=fed up) with ‘Marie’? I’m sure Ronsard enjoyed the way that this lets him introduce the idea of Marie being annoying, without saying it…! I’ve settled for switching the near-rhyme onto the second line with ‘Marie/marked’ (instead of ‘injured’), but it’s nowhere near as good.
Blanchemain’s version is, for a change, practically identical. The only small difference is that he has “estre vangé” in line 10 instead of “s’estre vangé”. I cannot separate the two in meaning, but no doubt there is some subtle difference there which a native would pick up…

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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