Chanson (25b)

Standard
Fleur Angevine de quinze ans,
Ton front monstre assez de simplesse :
Mais ton cœur ne cache au-dedans
Sinon que malice et finesse,
Celant sous ombre d’amitié
Une jeunette mauvaistié.
 
Ren moy (si tu as quelque honte)
Mon cœur que je t’avois donné,
Dont tu ne fais non-plus de conte
Que d’un esclave emprisonné,
T’esjouyssant de sa misere,
Et te plaisant de luy desplaire.
 
Une autre moins belle que toy,
Mais bien de meilleure nature,
Le voudroit bien avoir de moy.
Elle l’aura, je te le jure :
Elle l’aura, puis qu’autrement
Il n’a de toy bon traitement.
 
Mais non :  j’aime trop mieux qu’il meure
Sans esperance en ta prison :
J’aime trop mieux qu’il y demeure
Mort de douleur contre raison,
Qu’en te changeant jouïr de celle
Qui m’est plus douce, et non si belle.
 
 
                                                                      My fifteen-year-old flower of Anjou,
                                                                      Your brow shows simplicity enough;
                                                                      But your heart hides nothing inside
                                                                      But malice and cunning,
                                                                      Hiding, beneath the appearance of love,
                                                                      A childish wickedness.
 
                                                                      Give me back, if you have any shame,
                                                                      My heart which I gave you,
                                                                      Which is of no more account to you
                                                                      Than an imprisoned slave,
                                                                      Since you rejoice in its wretchedness
                                                                      And please yourself by displeasing it.
 
                                                                      Another less lovely than yourself
                                                                      But much better-natured
                                                                      Would surely like to have it from me.
                                                                      She will have it, I swear it to you:
                                                                      She will have it, if from now on
                                                                      It does not have better treatment from you.
 
                                                                      But no! I much prefer that it should die
                                                                      Hopeless in your prison;
                                                                      I much prefer that it should stay
                                                                      Dead of grief beyond reason,
                                                                      Than that, in exchanging you, it should enjoy her
                                                                      Who is kinder to me, but not so lovely.
 
 
What a charming song!   It’s hard to think Ronsard would have played around with so charming a piece, but in fact Blanchemain’s version is different almost throughout.  Here’s his text, marked up as usual.
 
 
Belle et jeune fleur de quinze ans,
Qui sens encore ton enfance,
Mais bien qui caches au dedans
Un cœur rempli de decevance,
Celant sous ombre d’amitié
Une jeunette mauvaistié.
 
Ren moy (si tu as quelque honte)
Mon cœur que tu m’as emmené,
Dont tu ne fais non-plus de conte
Que d’un prisonnier enchaisné,
Ou d’un valet, ou d’un forcere
Qui est esclave d’un corsaire.
 
Une autre moins belle que toy,
Mais plus que toi courtoise et bonne,
Le veut de grace avoir de moy.
Me priant que je le luy donne.
Elle l’aura, puis qu’autrement
Il n’a de toy bon traitement.
 
Mais non :  j’aime trop mieux qu’il meure
Dedans la prison de tes mains :
J’aime trop mieux qu’il y demeure
Tourmenté de maux inhumains,
Qu’en te changeant jouïr de celle
Qui m’est plus douce, et non si belle.
 
 
 
                                                                      Fair young flower aged fifteen,
                                                                      Who still feel you are in your childhood,
                                                                      But who indeed hide inside you
                                                                      A heart filled with deception,
                                                                      Hiding beneath the appearance of love
                                                                      A childish wickedness.
 
                                                                      Give me back, if you have any shame,
                                                                      My heart which you took from me,
                                                                      Which is of no more account to you
                                                                      Than a chained prisoner,
                                                                      Or a manservant, or a drudge
                                                                      Who is a pirate’s slave.
 
                                                                      Another less lovely than yourself
                                                                      But more courteous and kind than you
                                                                      Would like, please, to have it from me
                                                                      And begs me to give her it.
                                                                      She will have it, if from now on
                                                                      It does not have better treatment from you.
 
                                                                      But no! I much prefer that it should die
                                                                      Within the prison of your hands;
                                                                      I much prefer that it should stay
                                                                      Tortured by inhuman evils,
                                                                      Than that, in exchanging you, it should enjoy her
                                                                      Who is kinder to me, but not so lovely.
 
 
This also one of the poems of Marullus ‘translated’ by Ronsard into a substantially different French poem: the compression of some parts of Marullus’s original, and expansion of others, make this a re-imagining of the poem rather than a real translation:
 
 
Puella mure delicatior Scytha
    foliive serici comis
vel educata rure Paestano rosa
    vel anseris pluma levi,
eademque duris dura cautibus magis,
    quas tundit hibernum mare,
cum nubilosis Africus pennis gravis,
    saevit Ligustico sinu :
remitte cor, siquis pudor, mihi meum,
    quod mille cepisti dolis
 (dum nunc ocello dulce subrides nigro,
    nunc fronte spem certa facis),
quod nunc habes in vinculis quasi Syrum
    aut comparatum Sarmatam ;
verum remitte, dura, non ultra tuum :
    jam enim rogat melior sibi,
quae nos ocellis diligit suis magis,
    neque hoc neque illud imputat.
An tu putabas scilicet firmum tibi
    tot barbare affectum modis ?
Quanquam beati centies et amplius,
    siquos tenaci compede
quae prima vix dum puberes junxit fides,
    eadem extulit pios senes !
 
 
                                                                      O girl more delicate than a Scythian mouse
                                                                      Or the leaves of the silk-trees,
                                                                      Or a rose grown in Paestum’s fields,
                                                                      Or the soft feather of a goose;
                                                                      And at the same time more hard than hard crags
                                                                      Which the wintry sea buffets
                                                                      When the oppressive African [Sou’westerly] wind on its cloudy wings
                                                                      Rages in a Ligurian bay:
                                                                      Give me back my heart, if you have any shame,
                                                                      Which you captured with a thousand tricks
                                                                      (One time you would smile sweetly with your dark eyes,
                                                                      Another you’d offer hope with an assuring look)
                                                                      And which you now hold in chains like a Syrian
                                                                      Or the Sarmatian matched with him;
                                                                      Give it back indeed, harsh one, it is no longer yours:
                                                                      Now indeed one better than you asks for it,
                                                                      Who prefers me to her own eyes,
                                                                      And does not reckon up this or that to my account.
                                                                      Did you perhaps think it would be loyal to you
                                                                      After being barbarously wronged in so many ways?
                                                                      Yet they are blessed a hundred times and more,
                                                                      Those whom first love bound with tight fetters
                                                                      While they were barely grown ,
                                                                      And whom the same love buries when they are pious old folk!
 
 
Some commentary may help: I’m not sure that Scythian mice are known to be specially soft; but the part of Italy round Paestum (Campania, the region of Naples) is traditionally a fertile region. The coast of Liguria (running from Nice round past Genoa and towards Lucca) generally faces south/south west, so a SW wind will blow straight into many of the harbours and bays there. The Syrian and Sarmatian are ‘matched’ or ‘linked’ because of Ovid: the Roman poet lived in exile on the Black Sea & in his poems (the ‘Tristia’ and ‘Ex Ponto’) referred to the barbarians he was surrounded by as both Syrians and Sarmatians.
 
 
 
 
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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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  1. Pingback: Ronsard as translator: the Epigrams of Marullus « Oeuvres de Ronsard

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