Sonnet 13

Soit que je sois haï de toy, ma Pasithee,
Soit que j’en sois aimé, je veux suivre mon cours :
J’ay joué comme aux dets mon cœur et mes amours :
Arrive bien ou mal, la chance en est jettee.

Si mon ame et de glace et de feu tormentee
Peut deviner son mal, je voy que sans secours,
Passionné d’amour, je doy finir mes jours,
Et que devant mon soir se clorra ma nuictee.

Je suis du camp d’Amour pratique Chevalier :
Pour avoir trop souffert, le mal m’est familier :
Comme un habillement j’ay vestu le martire.

Donques je te desfie, et toute ta rigueur :
Tu m’as desja tué, tu ne sçaurois m’occire
Pour la seconde fois : car je n’ay plus de cœur.


                                                                                Whether I am hated by you, my Pasithea,
                                                                                Or whether I’m loved, I want only to follow my course.
                                                                                I have gambled my heart and my love, as if at dice;
                                                                                Come good or evil, the die is cast.
                                                                                If my soul, tortured by ice and by fire,
                                                                                Correctly recognises what is hurting it, I see that
                                                                                I must end my days helpless and unreasoning in love,
                                                                                And that before my evening is over my night will fall.
                                                                                I am a knight experienced in Love’s battlefield;
                                                                                From enduring too much, pain is familiar to me;
                                                                                I have put on suffering like my clothes.
                                                                                So I defy you and all your harshness;
                                                                                You have already killed me, you cannot cut me down
                                                                                A second time, for I no longer have my heart.


The contrast between the chivalric motif of the first tercet and the gambling motif in the opening quatrain is interesting; as is trying to translate line 4. Caesar’s ‘The die is cast’ is an approximation; it might more accurately be ‘my fortune has been rolled with them [the dice]’.  Spelling is also interesting here; between them my two main sources offer 2 variants and varied plurals for ‘dice’ – ‘dets/detz’ and ‘dés’!  Otherwise the versions are identical.
Pasithea is, in Homer, a young and beautiful sister of the three Graces, implying the same characteristics in Helen; but she is also associated with hallucinations and dreams, and perhaps Ronsard is hinting that she is misleading him?

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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