Sonnet 20



Quoy? me donner congé de servir toute femme,
Et mon ardeur esteindre au premier corps venu,
Ainsi qu’un vagabond sans estre retenu,
Abandonner la bride au vouloir de ma flame :
Non, ce n’est pas aimer. L’Archer ne vous entame
Qu’un peu le haut du cœur d’un traict foible et menu.
Si d’un coup bien profond il vous estoit cognu,
Ce ne seroit que soulfre et braise de vostre ame.
En soupçon de vostre ombre en tous lieux vous seriez :
A toute heure en tous temps jalouse me suivriez,
D’ardeur et de fureur et de crainte allumee.
Amour au petit pas non au gallop vous court,
Et vostre amitié n’est qu’une flame de Court,
Où peu de feu se trouve et beaucoup de fumee.


                                                                                What? Give myself freedom to serve any lady
                                                                                And to relieve my passion with the first shapely form to come along,
                                                                               Go gallivanting unrestrained,
                                                                                Abandon love’s bridle for my passion’s wishes?
                                                                                No, that’s not what love is.  The Archer has only breached
                                                                                The very tip of your heart a little, with a weak and trifling wound.
                                                                                If through a proper deep wound he was known to you
                                                                                There would be only suffering and burning in your soul.
                                                                                You would be everywhere suspicious of your shadow;
                                                                                You would pursue me jealously at every moment, all the time,
                                                                                Burning with passion and frenzy and fear.
                                                                                Love pursues you at a walk, not a gallop,
                                                                                And your love is nothing but a Courtly passion,
                                                                                In which there is little fire but lots of smoke.


I rather like this poem!  Also, for once my stanzaic presentation actually reflects the different moods of each section – but that’s not my main reason for liking it!!
Blanchemain’s text is identical except for the penultimate line – which to my mind is a little clumsier than the later version above:  “Et vostre amitié semble à celle de la Court…” (‘And your love resembles a Courtly one’).

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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