Sonnet 134

Je parangonne à ta jeune beauté,
Qui tousjours dure en son printemps nouvelle,
Ce mois d’Avril qui ses fleurs renouvelle
En sa plus gaye et verte nouveauté.
Loin devant toy fuira la cruauté :
Devant luy fuit la saison plus cruelle.
Il est tout beau, ta face est toute belle :
Ferme est son cours, ferme est ta loyauté.
Il peint les bords les forests et les plaines,
Tu peins mes vers d’un bel émail de fleurs :
Des laboureurs il arrose les peines,
D’un vain espoir tu laves mes douleurs :
Du Ciel sur l’herbe il fait tomber les pleurs,
Tu fais sortir de mes yeux deux fontaines.


                                                                                             I propose as rival to your young beauty
                                                                                             Which lasts forever in its own new spring
                                                                                             This month of April which renews the flowers
                                                                                             In their gayest and greenest newness.
                                                                                             Cruelty will flee far from you
                                                                                             Before him [i.e. April] flees the cruellest season;
                                                                                             He is all handsomeness, your face all beauty;
                                                                                             Firm is his course, firm is your loyalty;
                                                                                             He paints the riverbanks, forests and plains,
                                                                                             With a beautiful sprinkling of flowers; you paint my verse with them.
                                                                                             He refreshes the hard work of labourers,
                                                                                             With an empty hope you refresh my sadness;
                                                                                             He makes the tears of Heaven fall on the grass,
                                                                                             You make two springs flow from my eyes.
 Another attractive poem, with the parallel images thoroughly and delightfully worked through.
It is good to see that the earlier version is little different: for once this is not a poem Ronsard had to wrestle with to reach this state of perfection. There are only a couple of changes in Blanchemain.  In line 4 cruelty ‘flees before’ Cassandre (“Loin devant toy s’enfuit la cruauté”) – present rather than future tense, it actually flees now rather than potentially doing so in future. ( I wonder why he changed this? The later version is more awkward! )  Then in line 7, it’s the ‘woods, forests and plains’ rather than the ‘riverbanks, forests and plains’ which April paints with flowers (“Il peint les bois, les forests et les plaines”). Here at least the later version is smarter in identifying three completely different places rather than asking us to consider woods and forests as distinct…

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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