Sonnet 26



Je fuy les pas frayez du meschant populaire,
Et les villes où sont les peuples amassez :
Les rochers, les forests desja sçavent assez
Quelle trampe a ma vie estrange et solitaire.

Si ne suis-je si seul, qu’Amour mon secretaire
N’accompagne mes pieds debiles et cassez :
Qu’il ne conte mes maux et presens et passez
A ceste voix sans corps, qui rien ne sçauroit taire.

Souvent plein de discours, pour flatter mon esmoy,
Je m’arreste, et je dy, Se pourroit-il bien faire
Qu’elle pensast, parlast, ou se souvint de moy ?

Qu’à sa pitié mon mal commençast à desplaire ?
Encor que je me trompe, abusé du contraire,
Pour me faire plaisir, Helene, je le croy.

                                                                                I avoid the paths well-trodden by the wicked generality
                                                                                And towns where peoples are gathered;
                                                                                The rocks and forests already know well enough
                                                                                The route of my strange and solitary life.
                                                                                Would I were not so alone, that Love my secretary
                                                                                Did not accompany my weak and broken steps,
                                                                                That he did not count my ills, present and past,
                                                                                In that disembodied voice which none can silence.
                                                                                Often fed up with the debate, to calm my agitation,
                                                                                I stop myself and say: “Could it really be
                                                                                That she thinks, speaks or remembers me?
                                                                                That my ills begin to be displeasing to her pity?”
                                                                                And so again I fool myself, deceived by the opposite –
                                                                                But to give myself happiness, Hélène, I believe it.


One of Ronsard’s better-known poems, and rightly so.  And little varied: Blanchemain’s text is identical.  He does however footnote a different version of the first line:  “Je fuy les grands chemins frayez du populaire” (‘I avoid the big roads well-trodden by the generality’) which to me seems a better line than the ‘official’ one, where the alliterative ‘f’s cluster in the first half of the line and disrupt the flow, rather than tying the two halves of the line together. But I am clearly in a minority here!! 🙂

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')

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s