Sonnet 23

Standard
Morfée, si en songe il te plaist presenter
Ceste nuit ma maistresse aussi belle et gentille,
Que je la vy le soir que sa vive scintille
Par un poignant regard vint mes yeux enchanter :
 
Et s’il te plaist ô Dieu, tant soit peu d’alenter
(Miserable souhait) de la Feinte inutile
Le feu, qu’Amour me vient de son aile futile
Tout alentour du cœur sans repos esventer :
 
J’apendray sur mon lit ta peinture plumeuse
En la mesme façon que je t’auray conceu
La nuict par le plaisir de ta forme douteuse :
 
Et comme Jupiter à Troye fut deceu
Du Somme et de Junon, apres avoir receu
De la simple Venus la ceinture amoureuse.

 

 
 
 
                                                                                            Morpheus, would you please present in a dream
                                                                                            Tonight my mistress, as beautiful and noble
                                                                                            As I saw her on the evening when her lively brilliance
                                                                                            In one heart-stopping glance began to enchant my eyes:
 
                                                                                            And would you please, o god, lessen, even just a little
                                                                                            (A pitiful wish), the fire of that useless sham
                                                                                            Which Love with his trifling wing has begun
                                                                                            Ceaselessly to fan all around my heart.
 
                                                                                            I shall hang over my bed your winged picture
                                                                                            In the same manner in which I perceive you
                                                                                            At night, from the pleasure of your uncertain form;
 
                                                                                            And looking as when Jupiter was deceived at Troy
                                                                                            By Sleep and Juno, after receiving
                                                                                            From simple Venus the belt of love.
 
 
Belleau rather unnecessarily offers us the following note on line 9 – “Morpheus is a god bearing wings and feathers like Rumour, Love and others.” (!)  Rather more usefully, he also outlines the tale alluded to in the final tercet:  “Jupiter was deceived on Mount Ida by Juno and Sleep, Juno having borrowed the belt of Venus to put herself in her husband’s good graces and to make him sleep, so that he would not aid the Trojans. This tale is in Homer’s Iliad.
 
Blanchemain offers a number of variants including an almost-completely different first tercet. As seems quite common, he opts for a text which more clearly states its meaning, but in a less interesting way. For simplicity here is his text with changes marked:
 
 
Morfée, s’il te plaist de me représenter
Ceste nuit ma maistresse aussi belle et gentille,
Que je la vy le soir que sa vive scintille
Par ne sçais quel regard vint mes yeux enchanter :
 
Et s’il te plaist ô Dieu, tant soit peu d’alenter
(Miserable souhait) de la Feinte inutile
Le feu, qu’Amour me vient de son aile subtile
Tout alentour du cœur sans repos esventer :
 
Sur le haut de mon lit en vœu je t’appendray,
Devot, un saint tableau sur lequel je peindrai
L’heur que j’auray receu de ta forme douteuse 
 
Et comme Jupiter à Troye fut deceu
Du Somme et de Junon, apres avoir receu
De la simple Venus la ceinture amoureuse.

 

 
 
                                                                                             Morpheus, would you please represent to me
                                                                                             Tonight my mistress, as beautiful and noble
                                                                                             As I saw her on the evening when her lively brilliance
                                                                                             In some special glance began to enchant my eyes:
 
                                                                                             And would you please, o god, lessen, even just a little
                                                                                             (A pitiful wish), the fire of that useless sham
                                                                                             Which Love with his subtle wing has begun
                                                                                             Ceaselessly to fan all around my heart.
 
                                                                                             High above my bed I shall hang for you, like a votive offering
                                                                                             From your follower, a holy picture on which I shall paint
                                                                                             The hour when I received your uncertain form,
 
                                                                                             And looking as when Jupiter was deceived at Troy
                                                                                             By Sleep and Juno, after receiving
                                                                                             From simple Venus the belt of love.     

 

 
 
 
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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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