Another Peletier poem!


While breaking my rules and putting up another poet’s work, why not add a second? As a Latinist as well, I enjoyed Peletier’s thoughts on the value of the humanist renaissance of Latin poetry-writing!

A un poete qui n’escrivoit qu’en Latin.
J’escri en langue maternelle,
Et tasche a la metter en valeur :
Affin de la rendre eternelle,
Comme les vieux ont fait la leur :
Et soutien que c’est grand malheur
Que son propre bien mespriser
Pour l’autruy tant favoriser.
Si les Grecz sont si fort fameux,
Si les Latins sont aussi telz,
Pourquoy ne faisons nous come eux,
pour estre comme eux immortelz ?
Toy qui si fort exercé t’es,
Et qui en Latin escriz tant,
Qu’es tu sinon qu’un imitant ?
Croiz tu que ton Poeme approche
De ce que Virgile escrivoit ?
Certes non pas (tout sans reproche)
Du moindre qui du temps vivoit.
Mais le François est seul qui voit
Ce que j’escri : et si demeure
En la France, or j’ay peur qu’il meure.
Je respons, quoy que tu escrives
Pour l’envoyer en lointains lieux,
Sans ce que les tiens tu en prives,
On pense tousjours que des vieux
Le style vaut encores mieux :
Puis nostre langue n’est si lourde,
Que bien hault elle ne se sourde.
                                                                         To a poet who writes only in Latin
                                                                         I write in my mother tongue
                                                                         And try to give it value and power,
                                                                         So as to render it immortal
                                                                         As the ancients did theirs;
                                                                         I think it is a great pity
                                                                         For someone to scorn his own
                                                                         And to favour another’s so much.
                                                                         If the Greeks are so extremely well-known,
                                                                         If the Latins are known just as much,
                                                                         Why don’t we do as they did
                                                                         To be like them immortal?
                                                                         You who are so very skilled
                                                                         And who write so much in Latin,
                                                                         What are you, in the end, but an imitator?
                                                                         Do you believe that your poetry approaches
                                                                         That which Virgil wrote?
                                                                         Certainly not (I mean it without censure)
                                                                         No less than those who lived in his time.
                                                                         But Frenchmen are the only ones who see
                                                                         What I write: and so it remains
                                                                         In France alone – am I afraid that it might die?
                                                                         I reply, whatever you write
                                                                         To send to distant lands,
                                                                         You are depriving your own land of it;
                                                                         People always think that the style
                                                                         Of the ancients has such great value;
                                                                         But our own language is not so heavy
                                                                         That it too cannot rise so high.

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')

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s