Sonnet 4

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Tout ce qui est de sainct, d’honneur et de vertu,
Tout le bien qu’aux mortels la Nature peut faire,
Tout ce que l’artifice icy peut contrefaire,
Ma maistresse en naissant dans l’esprit l’avoit eu.
 
Du juste et de l’honneste à l’envy debatu
Aux escoles des Grecs : de ce qui peut attraire
A l’amour du vray bien, à fuir le contraire,
Ainsi que d’un habit son corps fut revestu.
 
Tousjours la chasteté des beautez ennemie
(Comme l’or fait la Perle) honore son Printemps,
Une vertu nayve, une peur d’infamie,
 
Un œil qui fait les Dieux et les hommes contens :
La voyant si parfaite, il fault que je m’escrie,
Bien-heureux qui l’adore, et qui vit de son temps !
 
 
 
 
                                                                                 All there is that’s holy, honourable, virtuous,
                                                                                 All the good which Nature can bring mortals,
                                                                                 All that artifice can counterfeit here,
                                                                                 My mistress had it all within her soul as she was born.
 
                                                                                 With the justice and truth debated urgently
                                                                                 In the schools of the Greeks; with that which can attract
                                                                                 To love truly good things, and avoid the opposite;
                                                                                 With these, like simple clothes, her body was draped.
 
                                                                                 As well, chastity – the enemy of other beauties –
                                                                                 Embellishes her springtime, as gold sets off pearls;
                                                                                 With a naïve virtue, avoidance of evil,
 
                                                                                 And a glance which makes gods and men happy.
                                                                                 Seeing her so perfect, I have to cry out
                                                                                 Happy he who loves her, and lives in her lifetime!
 
 
 
 Lovely simple images and yet some unusual and charming ones too.  Blanchemain’s earlier version has only minor differences in the third ‘stanza’, which runs:
 
 
La chasteté qui est des beautez ennemie
(Comme l’or fait la Perle) honore son Printemps,
Un respect de l’honneur, une peur d’infamie, …
                                                                                 Chastity which is the enemy of other beauties
                                                                                 Embellishes her springtime, as gold sets off pearls;
                                                                                 With respect for honour, avoidance of evil, …
 
Blanchemain also offers in a footnote a line 11 like Marty-Laveaux’s with the one difference that her virtue is “parfaite” (‘perfect’) rather than “nayve” – “Une vertu parfaite, une peur d’infamie, …”
 
 
 
 
 
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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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