Chanson (28a)

Le Printemps n’a point tant de fleurs,
L’Automne tant de raisins meurs,
L’Esté tant de chaleurs hâlées
L’Hyver tant de froides gelées,
Ny la mer n’a tant de poissons,
Ny la Beauce tant de moissons,
Ny la Bretaigne tant d’arenes,
Ny l’Auvergne tant de fonteines,
Ny la nuict tant de clairs flambeaux,
Ny les forests tant de rameaux,
Que je porte au cœur, ma maistresse,
Pour vous de peine et de tristesse.
                                                                      Spring has not as many flowers,
                                                                      Autumn as many ripe grapes,
                                                                      Summer as many burning heats,
                                                                      Winter as many freezing colds,
                                                                      Nor the sea so many fish,
                                                                      Nor Beauce so many crops,
                                                                      Nor Brittany so many sands,
                                                                      Nor the Auvergne so many springs,
                                                                      Nor the night so many bright torches,
                                                                      Nor the forests so many branches,
                                                                      As I bear in my heart, my mistress,
                                                                      Pains and sadness for you.
Beauce, around Chartres, is one of France’s most productive agricultural regions; Brittany’s shores and the Auvergne contains the mountainous Massif central from which many of France’s rivers flow.
Apart from reflecting an earlier spelling of Beauce (Beausse) Blanchemain’s text is the same.
This charming poem is based on an original by Marullus. Ronsard is tighter structurally – 4 seasons, 3 regions of France – as well as more concise than his original:
Non tot Attica mella, littus algas,
montes robora, ver habet colores,
non tot tristis hyems riget pruinis,
autumnus gravidis tumet racemis,
non tot spicula Medicis pharetris,
non tot signa micant tacente nocte,
non tot aequora piscibus natantur,
non aer tot aves habet serenus,
non tot Oceano moventur undae,
non tantus numerus Libyssae arenae :
quot suspiria, quot, Neaera, pro te
vaesanos patior die dolores.
                                                                      Attica has not as much honey, the shore weeds,
                                                                      The hills rocks, the spring colours,
                                                                      The bleak winter does not freeze with so many frosts,
                                                                      The autumn teem with so many heavy clusters of grapes,
                                                                      There are not so many arrowheads in Median quivers ,
                                                                      Not so many stars shining in the silent night,
                                                                      The seas are not swum in by so many fish,
                                                                      The calm air does not have so many birds,
                                                                      Not so many waves are made to roll by the Ocean,
                                                                      There is not so great a quantity of sand in Libya,
                                                                      As the number of sighs, Neaera, and the number of woeful afflictions
                                                                      Which I suffer for you in a day.
While Persia (Media) was famous for its archers, Marullus manages artfully to gesture in the direction of his Medici patrons at the same time in line 5.

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')

One response »

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

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