Stances (Stanzas) – 135a


In book 1, also, Ronsard inserts occasional lyrics which do not conform to sonnet form. This one is a lovely frisky light-hearted one!

Quand au temple nous serons
Agenouillez, nous ferons
Les devots selon la guise
De ceux qui pour loüer Dieu
Humbles se courbent au lieu
Le plus secret de l’Eglise.
Mais quand au lict nous serons
Entrelassez, nous ferons
Les lascifs selon les guises
Des Amans qui librement
Pratiquent folastrement
Dans les draps cent mignardises.
Pourquoy donque quand je veux
Ou mordre tes beaux cheveux,
Ou baiser ta bouche aimee,
Ou toucher à ton beau sein,
Contrefais-tu la nonnain
Dedans un cloistre enfermee ?
Pour qui gardes-tu tes yeux
Et ton sein delicieux,
Ton front, ta lèvre jumelle ?
En veux-tu baiser Pluton
Là bas, apres que Charon
T’aura mise en sa nacelle ?
Apres ton dernier trespas,
Gresle, tu n’auras là bas
Qu’une bouchette blesmie :
Et quand mort je te verrois
Aux Ombres je n’avou’rois
Que jadis tu fus m’amie.
Ton test n’aura plus de peau,
Ny ton visage si beau
N’aura veines ny arteres :
Tu n’auras plus que les dents
Telles qu’on les voit dedans
Les testes des cimeteres.
Donque tandis que tu vis,
Change, Maistresse, d’avis,
Et ne m’espargne ta bouche :
Incontinent tu mourras,
Lors tu te repentiras
De m’avoir esté farouche.
Ah je meurs !  Ah baise moy !
Ah, Maistresse, approche toy !
Tu fuis comme un Fan qui tremble :
Au-moins souffre que ma main
S’esbate un peu dans ton sein,
Ou plus bas, si bon te semble.
When we are in the temple [church]
Kneeling, we will look like
The devout, the very image
Of those who, to worship God,
Humbly bow towards the
Most holy part of the church.
But when we are in bed
Entwined, we will look like
The lascivious, the very image
Of lovers who freely
And friskily perform
A hundred little acts of love under the sheets.
So why, when I want
To bite your lovely hair
Or to kiss your beloved lips
Or to brush against your lovely breast,
Do you pretend to be a little nun
In an enclosed convent?
For whom are you keeping your eyes
And your delicious breast,
Your brow, your twin lips?
Do you want to kiss Pluto with them
Down below, after Charon
Has taken you into his little boat?
After your eventual death,
Down there you’ll be spindly, with nothing
But a deathly-pale mouth;
And when I’m dead and see you
In the Shades I will not recognise
That you were formerly my beloved.
Your head will no longer have skin on it
Your face – oh so beautiful ! –
Won’t have its veins and arteries;
You will just have teeth left,
Like those you see inside
The skulls in cemeteries.
So, while you are alive,
Change your mind, my mistress,
And don’t be sparing with your lips;
All at once you will be dead,
And then you will repent
Of having been shy with me.
I’m dying, so kiss me.
Oh Mistress, come near me.
Like a quaking fawn you flee.
At least allow my hand to rest,
All a-tremble, on your breast,
Or farther down still, if may be.
 in Greek myth, Charon’s boat took the dead across the River Styx to Hades, where Pluto ruled.
 Blanchemain varies the middle of the fourth stanza:
Pour qui gardes-tu tes yeux
Et ton sein delicieux,
Ta joue et ta bouche belle ?
                                                                       For whom are you keeping your eyes
                                                                      And your delicious breast,
                                                                      Your cheeks, your lovely mouth? …
And there is one minor change later on, where he deletes the “un” in the 3rd line of the last stanza:  “Tu fuis comme Fan qui tremble”.  It is worth noting that these ‘stanzas’ were imported into ‘Cassandre’ after starting life elsewhere: though Blanchemain includes them there, in his 1560 edition they actually appeared among the Odes!

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 135 | Oeuvres de Ronsard

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