Chanson (6a)

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Back to Helen, and an admission: I missed out this chanson earlier in the book, so here it is now to break up the sequence of sonnets!

Quand je devise assis aupres de vous,
    Tout le cœur me tressaut ;
Je tremble tout de nerfs et de genous,
    Et le pouls me defaut.
Je n’ay ny sang ny esprit ny haleine,
Qui ne se trouble en voyant mon Helene,
    Ma chere et douce peine.
 
Je devien fol, je pers toute raison :
    Cognoistre je ne puis
Si je suis libre, ou mort, ou en prison :
    Plus en moy je ne suis.
En vous voyant, mon œil perd cognoissance :
Le vostre altere et change mon essence,
    Tant il a de puissance.
 
Vostre beauté me fait en mesme temps
    Souffrir cent passions :
Et toutesfois tous mes sens sont contens,
    Divers d’affections.
L’œil vous regarde, et d’autre part l’oreille
Oyt vostre voix, qui n’a point de pareille,
    Du monde la merveille.
 
Voila comment vous m’avez enchanté,
    Heureux de mon malheur :
De mon travail je me sens contenté,
    Tant j’aime ma douleur :
Et veux tousjours que le soucy me tienne,
Et que de vous tousjours il me souvienne,
    Vous donnant l’ame mienne.
 
Donc ne cherchez de parler au Devin,
    Qui sçavez tout charmer :
Vous seule auriez un esprit tout divin,
    Si vous pouviez aimer.
Que pleust à Dieu, ma moitié bien-aimee,
Qu’Amour vous eust d’une fleche enflamee
    Autant que moy charmee.
 
En se jouant il m’a de part en part
    Le cœur outrepercé :
A vous s’amie il n’a monstré le dard
    Duquel il m’a blessé.
De telle mort heureux je me confesse,
Et ne veux point que le soucy me laisse
    Pour vous, belle Maistresse.
 
Dessus ma tombe engravez mon soucy
    En memorable escrit :
D’un Vandomois le corps repose icy,
    Sous les Myrtes l’esprit.
Comme Pâris là bas faut que je voise,
Non pour l’amour d’une Helene Gregeoise,
    Mais d’une Saintongeoise.
As I chatter, sitting beside you,
  My heart is entirely quivering;
My nerves and knees are all a-tremble,
  My heartbeat fails,
I haver no blood, no spirit, no breath
Which is not disturbed on seeing my Helen,
  My dear, sweet care.
 
I become mad, I lose all reason,
  I cannot work out
If I am free, or dead, or in prison;
  I am no longer in myself.
Seeing you, my eyes lose all understanding;
Your eyes alter and change my very essence,
  They have such power.
 
Your beauty makes me suffer a hundred loves
  All at once;
And all the time my senses are happy
  In their various affections.
My eyes watch you, and elsewhere my ear
Hears your voice, which has no equal,
  The wonder of the world.
 
Thus, thus, you have bewitched me,
  Happy in my misfortune;
I am contented in my troubles,
  So much do I enjoy my sadness,
And I wish this care would occupy me always,
And always remind me of you,
  While giving you my soul.
 
So, don’t seek to speak to a soothsayer,
  Who can charm all things;
You alone could have the divine spirit
  If only you could love.
May it please God, my beloved other-half,
That Love with his burning arrow might
  Charm you as he has me.
 
Playing around, he has pierced my heart
  Through and through;
To you, his friend, he has not shown the dart
  With which he wounded me.
In such a death I confess I am happy
And have no wish that my love for you,
  Fair mistress, should leave me.
 
Upon my tomb engrave this my love
  In noteworthy script:
The body of a Vendôme-man lies here,
  His spirit beneath the myrtles’ shade.
Like Paris, I must go below,
Not for love of some Grecian Helen,
  But for a lady of Saintonge.
 
 The Grecian Helen at the end is of course Helen of Troy, in defence of whom Paris was killed; Ronsard’s Helen hails from Saintonge, he from the Vendômois.  Blanchemain refers to Richelet’s footnote on the myrtles of the same stanza: “Myrtles – where lovers’ souls rest after their death“.
 
Blanchemain has only minor changes: in the second stanza, “Si je suis libre, ou captif en prison” (‘If I am free, or captive in prison’); and then a number of variants in the final stanza, which opens
 
 
Dessus ma tombe engravez mon soucy
   En lettres grossement :
Le Vandomois lequel repose icy,
  Mourut en bien aimant.
 
                                                                  Upon my tomb engrave this my love
                                                                    Large in writing:
                                                                 The man of Vendôme who lies here
                                                                    Died loving truly.
 
 
 
 
 
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One response »

  1. Pingback: Sonnet 67 | Oeuvres de Ronsard

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