Sonnet 121

Le Ciel ne veut, Dame, que je jouïsse
De ce doux bien que dessert mon devoir :
Aussi ne veux-je, et ne me plaist d’avoir
Sinon du mal en vous faisant service.
Puisqu’il vous plaist que pour vous je languisse,
Je suis heureux, et ne puis recevoir
Plus grand honneur, qu’en vous servant pouvoir
Faire à vos yeux de mon cœur sacrifice.
Donc si ma main, maugré-moy, quelquefois
De l’amour chaste outrepasse les loix,
Dans vostre sein cherchant ce qui m’embraise,
Punissez-la du foudre de vos yeux,
Et la brulez : car j’aime beaucoup mieux
Vivre sans mains, que ma main vous desplaise.


                                                                                             Heaven does not wish me, Lady, to enjoy
                                                                                             This sweet goodness to which my efforts minister;
                                                                                             I too do not wish it, and I am only pleased to have
                                                                                             Instead some ill in doing you service.
                                                                                             Since it pleases you that I pine for you
                                                                                             I am glad, and cannot receive
                                                                                             Any greater honour than in serving you to be able
                                                                                             To make sacrifice of my heart to your eyes.
                                                                                             So if my hand despite myself sometimes
                                                                                             Goes further than the chaste laws of love allow
                                                                                             Seeking in your breast that which enflames me,
                                                                                             Punish it with the lightning of your eyes
                                                                                             And burn it; for I far prefer
                                                                                             To live without hands, than that my hand should displease.


 Blanchemain offers only minor variants: in line 7, “qu’en mourant, de pouvoir” (‘than in dying to be able’); and in the final line he makes “main” singular both times – ‘To live without a hand, than …’

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: Sonnet 119 | Oeuvres de Ronsard

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