Chanson (25a)

Bon jour mon cœur, bon jour ma douce vie,
Bon jour mon œil, bon jour ma chere amie :
    Hé bon jour ma toute belle,
    Ma mignardise bon jour,
    Mes delices mon amour,
Mon doux printemps, ma douce fleur nouvelle,
Mon doux plaisir, ma douce colombelle,
Mon passereau, ma gente tourterelle,
    Bon jour ma douce rebelle.
Je veux mourir si plus on me reproche
Que mon service est plus froid qu’une roche
    T’abandonnant, ma maistresse,
    Pour aller suivre le Roy,
    Et chercher je ne sçay quoy
Que le vulgaire appelle une largesse,
Plustost perisse honneur, court et richesse,
Que pour les biens jamais je te relaisse,
    Ma douce et belle Deesse.
                                                                      Greetings my heart, greetings my sweet life,
                                                                      Greetings my eye, greetings my dear beloved;
                                                                        Ah, greetings my all-lovely,
                                                                        My darling greetings,
                                                                        My delight, my love,
                                                                      My sweet spring, my sweet young flower,
                                                                      My sweet pleasure, my sweet pigeon,
                                                                      My sparrow, my gentle dove,
                                                                         Greetings my sweet rebel.
                                                                      I’d rather die if people still reproach me
                                                                      That my service is colder than a stone
                                                                         Abandoning you, my mistress,
                                                                         To go and follow the King,
                                                                         And to seek something
                                                                      Which the common folk call liberality;
                                                                      Rather let honour, court and riches perish
                                                                      Than for such good things I should ever let you go
                                                                         My sweet and beautiful goddess.
Blanchemain has only a small change in line 3 of the second stanza, which now says:
… Que mon service est plus froid qu’une roche
        De t’avoir laissé maistresse,
        Pour aller suivre le Roy…
                                                                 ….That my service is colder than a stone
                                                                         After leaving you mistress,
                                                                         To go and follow the King,…
 Another attractive little song: like many of those in this part of the Amours, it is virtually a translation (or so Belleau suggests) of a poem by the neo-Latin humanist poet Marullus. On closer inspection however this is rather one of those Marullan epigrams which Ronsard developed quite substantially in ‘translation’. The original contains many of the same ideas but Ronsard has expanded it considerably:
Salve, nequitiae meae, Neaera,
mi passercule, mi albe turturille,
meum mel, mea suavitas, meum cor,
meum suaviolum, mei lepores :
tene vivere ego queam relicta ?
Tene ego sine regna, te sine aurum
aut messes Arabum velim beatas ?
O prius peream ipse, regna et aurum !
                                                                      Greetings my wanton Neaera,
                                                                      My little sparrow, my turtle dove,
                                                                      My honey, my sweetness, my heart,
                                                                      My little kiss, my delight:
                                                                      Could I live, leaving you?
                                                                      Would I want kingdoms or gold without you,
                                                                      Or the blessed fruits of Araby?
                                                                      O, first let me perish, and kingdoms and gold!
Charmingly, Ronsard alludes to this most famous ‘Marie’ poem nearly two decades later in his Helen set.

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')

4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Ronsard as translator: the Epigrams of Marullus « Oeuvres de Ronsard

  2. Pingback: Lassus – Bon jour, mon coeur | Oeuvres de Ronsard

  3. Hello again. In researching the source of the poem, famously set by Orlande de Lassus, I’ve come across a variant of the second verse purportedly found in Le second livre des Amours (1556):

    Hé ! faudra-t-il que quelqu’un me reproche
    Que j’aie vers toi le coeur plus dur que roche
    De t’avoir laissée, maîtresse,
    Pour aller suivre le Roi,
    Mendiant je ne sais quoi
    Que le vulgaire appelle une largesse ?
    Plutôt périsse honneur, court, et richesse,
    Que pour les biens jamais je te relaisse,
    Ma douce et belle déesse.

    Is your reading from a different source?

    Thanks very much for your work.


  4. Fair question! Ronsard famously re-wrote his own poetry (sometimes every new edition saw a new version of the same poem – see my various posts headed ‘Interlude’. But composers, or the popular singers from whom they no doubt picked up favourite songs for ‘art-song’ treatment, were not averse to adding extra lines to a well-known text.

    I’ll need to do a bit of digging around on Ronsard’s own variants on this poem, and will update this comment (or more likely post another) in a few days when I’ve had the chance to do it.

    Best wishes

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