DIALOGUE. Le Passant, et le Genie. LE PASSANT Veu que ce marbre enserre un corps qui fut plus beau Que celuy de Narcisse, ou celuy de Clitie, Je suis esmerveillé qu’une fleur n’est sortie, Comme elle feit d’Ajax, du creux de ce tombeau. LE GENIE L’ardeur qui reste encore, et vit en ce flambeau, Ard la terre d’amour, qui si bien a sentie La flame, qu’en brazier elle s’est convertie, Et seiche ne peut rien produire de nouveau. Mais si Ronsard vouloit sur sa Marie espandre Des pleurs pour l’arroser, soudain l’humide cendre Une fleur du sepulchre enfanteroit au jour. LE PASSANT A la cendre on cognoist combien vive estoit forte La beauté de ce corps, quand mesmes estant morte Elle enflame la terre et la tombe d’amour. Dialogue – the Passer-by and the Spirit P: Since this marble encloses a form which was more lovely Than that of Narcissus, or that of Clytie, I am astonished that a flower has not sprouted From the hollow of this tomb as it did from Ajax’s. S: The hot passion which remains, and lives in this torch, Burns with love the very earth, which has so felt The flame that it is changed into a brazier And, dried out, can produce nothing new. But if Ronsard wished to scatter on his Marie Tears to water it, suddenly the moist ashes Would give birth to a flower from the tomb. P: Even as ashes, we understand how strong when alive was The beauty of this form, when even being dead She burns the earth and the tomb with love. Blanchemain makes only one tiny change – in line 10, he alers the article so it reads “soudain d‘humide cendre…”. That makes the translation of lines 10-11 something like ‘ …suddenly from the moist ashes / Of the tomb would be born a flower’. We all know that Narcissus thought himself the most beautiful thing on earth; there are plenty of nymphs called Clytie, but the one we want is probably the daughter of Pandareus (she is also known as Merope), to whom Juno gave wisdom and beauty. The flower of Ajax – thought by some to be larkspur – grew from his blood following his suicide, a flower marked ‘Ai’ (the first letters of his name, and also a Greek exclamation ‘ah!’, ‘woe’, ‘oh!’.