Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sonnet 43

Standard
J’avois, en regardant tes beaux yeux, enduré
Tant de flames au cœur, que plein de secheresse
Ma langue estoit reduite en extreme destresse,
Ayant de trop parler tout le corps alteré.

Lors tu fis apporter en ton vase doré
De l’eau froide d’un puits : et la soif qui me presse,
Me fist boire à l’endroit où tu bois, ma Maistresse,
Quand ton vaisseau se voit de ta lévre honoré.

Mais le vase amoureux de ta bouche qu’il baise,
En rechaufant ses bords du feu qu’il a receu,
Le garde en sa rondeur comme en une fournaise.

Seulement au toucher je l’ay bien apperceu.
Comment pourroy-je vivre un quart d’heure à mon aise,
Quand je sens contre moy l’eau se tourner en feu ?

 

 
 
                                                                              Looking into your fair eyes I had endured
                                                                              So much fire in my heart that my tongue was
                                                                              Completely dried out and reduced to extreme distress,
                                                                              Having withered my whole body with talking too much.
 
                                                                              Then you had them bring, in your golden vase,
                                                                              Cold water from a well; and the thirst which oppressed me
                                                                              Made me drink from the same place that you drank, my lady,
                                                                              When your vessel was honoured by your lips.
 
                                                                              But the vase, in love with the lips he’d kissed,
                                                                              Warming his rim with the fire he’d absorbed
                                                                              Guarded it within his bowl as in a furnace.
 
                                                                              Just touching him, I readily felt it.
                                                                              How could I live a quarter-hour at ease
                                                                              When I feel water itself turning against me and into fire?

 

  
 
 
Blanchemain has “comme” for “comment” in line 13 (no impact on meaning; and I think “comme” runs better in the line?).  He does however have a more substantial variant in the opening stanza: again, I think I prefer the variety of the ealrier version to the more prosaic newer version.
 
 
J’avois, en regardant tes beaux yeux, enduré
Tant de flames au cœur, qu’une aspre seicheresse
Avoit cuitte ma langue en extreme destresse,
Ayant de trop parler tout le corps alteré.
 
 
                                                                              Looking into your fair eyes I had endured
                                                                              So much fire in my heart that a harsh dryness
                                                                              Had baked my tongue, in extreme distress,
                                                                              Having withered my whole body with talking too much.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sonnet 42

Standard
Cet amoureux desdain, ce Nenny gracieux,
Qui refusant mon bien, me reschaufent l’envie
Par leur fiere douceur d’assujettir ma vie,
Où sont desja sujets mes pensers et mes yeux,

Me font transir le cœur, quand trop impetueux
A baiser vostre main le desir me convie,
Et vous la retirant feignez d’estre marrie,
Et m’appelez, honteuse, amant presomptueux.

Mais sur tout je me plains de vos douces menaces,
De vos lettres qui sont toutes pleines d’audaces,
De moymesme, d’Amour, de vous et de vostre art,

Qui si doucement farde et sucre sa harangue,
Qu’escrivant et parlant vous n’avez traict de langue,
Qui ne me soit au cœur la pointe d’un poignart.

 

 
 
                                                                              That disdainful love, that gracious No,
                                                                              Refused me some good and so re-ignited in me
                                                                              Through their proud sweetness the desire to make my life their slave;
                                                                              They are already the subjects of my thoughts and eyes;
 
                                                                              They wound my heart, when too impetuously
                                                                              The wish to kiss your hand urges me
                                                                              And you, drawing it back, feign being upset
                                                                              And shame-faced call me a presumptuous lover.
 
                                                                              But above all I complain of your sweet threats,
                                                                              Of your letters which are full of insolence,
                                                                              Of myself, of love, of you and your art;
 
                                                                              Which so sweetly disguise and sugar their harangue
                                                                              That in writing and speaking you strike no blow with your words
                                                                              Which is not like the point of a dagger in my heart.

 

  
 
 
No variants in Blanchemain: a perfect poem?!  Note that, in line 13, I have translated ‘langue’ as words, trying to retain some of the ambiguities of ‘langue’ – her tongue, her words, her (use of) language; though in fact the tranlsation is flat & dull. Pick your own substitute!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sonnet 41

Standard
Comme je regardois ces yeux, mais ceste fouldre,
Dont l’esclat amoureux ne part jamais en vain,
Sa blanche charitable et delicate main
Me parfuma le chef et la barbe de pouldre.
 
Pouldre, l’honneur de Cypre, actuelle à resouldre
L’ulcere qui s’encharne au plus creux de mon sein,
Depuis telle faveur j’ay senty mon cœur sain,
Ma playe se reprendre, et mon mal se dissouldre.
 
Pouldre, Atomes sacrez qui sur moy voletoient,
Où toute Cypre, l’Inde et leurs parfums estoient,
Je vous sens dedans l’ame. O Pouldre souhaitee,
 
En parfumant mon chef vous avez combatu
Ma douleur et mon cœur : je faux, c’est la vertu
De ceste belle main qui vous avoit jettee.
 
 
 
                                                                              As I looked upon those eyes, or rather those lightning-bolts
                                                                              Whose explosion of love never flashes out in vain,
                                                                             Her graceful white and delicate hand
                                                                              Perfumed my hair and beard with powder.
 
                                                                             O Powder, the gift of Cyprus, immediately dissolving
                                                                              The ulcer which burrows into the deepest crevice of my breast,
                                                                              Since receiving this favour I have felt my heart whole,
                                                                              My wound recover, my ills dissolve.
 
                                                                              O Powder, holy grains which flutter upon me
                                                                              In which are all of Cyprus, the Indies and their perfumes,
                                                                              I feel you within my soul. O much-deired powder,
 
                                                                              In perfuming my head you have defeated
                                                                              My sadness and my heart; I’m wrong, it was the virtue
                                                                              Of that fair hand which shook you.
  
 
 
 Cyprus here is associated with Venus’s cult. One of Ronsard’s more artificial conceits; but a well-formed poem, and one which remained unchanged from Blanchemain (early) to Marty-Laveaux (late) editions;  though it appeared in the Amours diverses (1578) before being re-located to Helen!
 
 
 
 

Sonnet 40

Standard
Puis que tu cognois bien qu’affamé je me pais
Du regard de tes yeux, dont larron je retire
Des rayons, pour nourrir ma douleur qui s’empire,
Pourquoy me caches-tu l’œil par qui tu me plais ?
 
Tu es deux fois venue à Paris, et tu fais
Semblant de n’y venir, afin que mon martire
Ne s’allege en voyant ton œil que je desire,
Ton œil qui me nourrit par le trait de ses rais.
 
Tu vas bien à Hercueil avecque ta cousine
Voir les prez les jardins et la source voisine
De l’Antre où j’ay chanté tant de divers accords.
 
Tu devois m’appeler, oublieuse Maistresse :
En ton coche porté je n’eusse fait grand presse :
Car je ne suis plus rien qu’un fantôme sans corps.
 
 
 
                                                                              As you understand clearly that I hungrily feed
                                                                              On the glance of your eyes, whose rays I steal,
                                                                              A thief, to feed the sadness which rules over me,
                                                                              Why do you hide from me those eyes by which you please me?
 
                                                                              You have twice come to Paris, yet you pretend
                                                                              Never to come here, so that my suffering
                                                                              Is not lessened in seeing your eyes as I desire,
                                                                              Your eyes which feed me through the sting of their rays.
 
                                                                              You even go to Hercueil with your cousin
                                                                              To see the meadows, gardens and the spring next
                                                                              To the cave where I sang so many varying songs.
 
                                                                              You should have called for me, forgetful mistress;
                                                                              Carried in your coach I’d not have made much of a crowd
                                                                              For I am no longer anything but a ghost without a body.
  
 
 I like this poem: it’s very tightly-knit, and the last 2 lines (while still providing a sting in the tail) are so closely integrated. 
 
Nicolas Richelet comments (as transmitted by Blanchemain) that Hercueil is Arcueil, a village ‘near’ Paris – now a commune in the southern part of the city. He adds that ‘the cave’ is the grotto at Meudon (now in SW Paris) and the ‘varying songs’ Ronsard composed there are the Eclogues.
 
Blanchemain’s text varies only slightly from Marty-Laveaux’s; but 2 of the 3 lines with small changes he also prints in radically-different form in footnotes.  The minor variants are, in line 8, “par l’objet de ses rais” (‘through the property of their rays‘);  and in line 13 “Dans ton coche” (no change in meaning); the more radical changes are printed below in another full version of the poem which also includes his 3rd minor change, in the opening line.
 
 
 
Puis que tu sçais, hélas ! qu’affamé je me pais
Du regard de tes yeux, dont larron je retire
Des rayons, pour nourrir ma douleur qui s’empire,
Pourquoy me caches-tu l’œil par qui tu me plais ?
 
Tu es deux fois venue à Paris, et tu fais
Semblant de n’y venir, afin que mon martire
Ne s’allege en voyant ton œil que je desire,
Dont la vive vertu me norrit de ses rais.
 
Tu vas bien à Hercueil avecque ta cousine
Voir les prez les jardins et la source voisine
De l’Antre où j’ay chanté tant de divers accords.
 
Tu devois m’appeler, oublieuse Maistresse :
Ton coche n’eust courbé sous une masse espesse :
Car je ne suis plus rien qu’un fantôme sans corps.
 
 
 
                                                                             As you know, alas, that I hungrily feed
                                                                             On the glance of your eyes, whose rays I steal,
                                                                             A thief, to feed the sadness which rules over me,
                                                                             Why do you hide from me those eyes by which you please me?
 
                                                                             You have twice come to Paris, yet you pretend
                                                                             Never to come here, so that my suffering
                                                                             Is not lessened in seeing your eyes as I desire,
                                                                             Whose lively virtue feeds me with its rays.
 
                                                                             You even go to Hercueil with your cousin
                                                                             To see the meadows, gardens and the spring next
                                                                             To the cave where I sang so many varying songs.
 
                                                                             You should have called for me, forgetful mistress;
                                                                             Your coach would not have bent under an unusual weight
                                                                             For I am no longer anything but a ghost without a body.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sonnet 39

Standard
Agathe, où du Soleil le signe est imprimé
(L’escrevice marchant, comme il fait en arriere)
Cher present que je donne à toy chere guerriere,
Mon don pour le Soleil est digne d’estre aimé.
 
Le Soleil va tousjours de flames allumé,
Je porte au cœur le feu de ta belle lumiere :
Il est l’ame du monde, et ma force premiere
Depend de ta vertu, dont je suis animé.
 
O douce belle vive angelique Sereine,
Ma toute Pasithee, essence sur-humaine,
Merveille de nature, exemple sans pareil,
 
D’honneur et de beauté l’ornement et le signe,
Puis que rien icy bas de ta vertu n’est digne,
Que te puis-je donner sinon que le Soleil ?
 
 
 
                                                                              The agate, in which the symbol of the sun is imprinted
                                                                              (Going like a crayfish, backwards)
                                                                              The dear present which I give to you, my dear warrior,
                                                                              My gift is worthy of being loved for the sun’s sake.
 
                                                                              The sun is always lit up with flames,
                                                                              And I carry in my heart the fire of your fair light;
                                                                              He is the soul of the world, and my essential strength
                                                                              Depends on your virtue, by which I am given life.
 
                                                                              O sweet, fair, lively, angelic Calm,
                                                                              My Pasithea in every way, super-human essence,
                                                                              Wonder of nature, peerless example,
 
                                                                              The ornament and symbol of honour and beauty:
                                                                              Since nothing here below is worthy of your virtue
                                                                              What can I give you except the sun?
  
 
 
 Another poem unchanged from its earlier version.  Pasithea is one of the Graces, married to Somnus god of sleep, and a symbol of relaxation and calm.Agate fire Why ‘the symbol of the sun is imprinted going like a crayfish, backward” in an agate I am not sure: perhaps because the agate is dark in the middle and brightens as you move outwards?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sonnet 38

Standard
D’autre torche mon coeur ne pouvoit s’allumer
Sinon de tes beaux yeux, où l’amour me convie :
J’avois desja passé le meilleur de ma vie,
Tout franc de passion, fuyant le nom d’aimer.
 
Je soulois maintenant ceste dame estimer,
Et maintenant ceste autre où me portoit l’envie,
Sans rendre ma franchise à quelqu’une asservie :
Rusé je ne voulois dans les rets m’enfermer.
 
Maintenant je suis pris, et si je prens à gloire
D’avoir perdu le camp, frustré de la victoire :
Ton œil vaut un combat de dix ans d’Ilion.
 
Amour comme estant Dieu n’aime pas les superbes :
Sois douce à qui te prie, imitant le Lion.
La foudre abat les monts, non les petites herbes.
 
 
                                                                              With no other torch could my heart have been lit
                                                                              Than with your fair eyes, in which love invited me;
                                                                              I’d already passed the best part of my life
                                                                              Entirely free from passion, avoiding the very word ‘love’.
 
                                                                              At one time I was intoxicated with admiring this lady,
                                                                              And at another time this other one for whom desire had seized me,
                                                                              Without giving up my freedom as anyone’s servant;
                                                                              Craftily, I didn’t wish to shut myself up in their nets.
 
                                                                              But now I am caught, and yet I consider it glorious
                                                                              To have lost my camp, deprived of victory;
                                                                              Your eyes are worth ten years’ war at Troy.
 
                                                                              Love, being a god, does not like the proud;
                                                                              Be sweet to him who begs you, imitating the lion.
                                                                              Thunder flattens mountains, not small plants.
  
 
 A rather lovely poem, I think!  The ‘ten tears war’ is of course the Trojan War of the Iliad etc.  In the previous line note that ROnsard has not just lost the battle, even his camp has been overrun – a very thorough defeat.
 
(There are no variants in Blanchemain’s earlier version.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sonnet 37

Standard
Voicy le mois d’Avril, où nasquit la merveille,
Qui fait en terre foy de la beauté des cieux,
Le mirouer de vertu, le Soleil de mes yeux,
Seule Phenix d’honneur, qui les ames resveille.
 
Les Oeillets et les Liz et la Rose vermeille
Servirent de berceau : la Nature et les Dieux
La regarderent naistre, et d’un soin curieux
Amour enfant comme elle alaicta sa pareille.
 
Les Muses, Apollon et les Graces estoient
Tout à l’entour du lict, qui à l’envy jettoient
Des fleurs sur l’Angelette. Ah ! ce mois me convie
 
D’eslever un autel, et suppliant Amour
Sanctifier d’Avril le neufiesme jour,
Qui m’est cent fois plus cher que celuy de ma vie.
 
 
                                                                              This is the month of April, in which was born that marvel
                                                                              Who creates on earth faith in the beauty of the heavens,
                                                                              The mirror of virtue, the sun to my eyes,
                                                                              The only Phoenix in honour, who awakens souls.
 
                                                                              Pinks and lilies and the crimson rose
                                                                              Acted as her cradle; Nature and the gods
                                                                              Watched her being born, and with quaint care
                                                                              Love, a child like her, fed her milk as his equal.
 
                                                                              The Muses, Apollo and the Graces stood
                                                                              All around her bed, and in emulation they threw
                                                                              Flowers upon the little Angel. Ah, this month urges me
 
                                                                              To raise an altar and, as Love’s suppliant,
                                                                              To sanctify the ninth day of April
                                                                              Which is to me a hundred times dearer than that of my own birth.
  
 
Line 4 is problematical (to me at least): ‘the only Phoenix in honour’? The phoenix is associated with renewal rather than honour; I assume that here Ronsard alludes to its continuing youthfulness (via renewal in fire), and also to the continually-renewed ‘honour’ of Helen seen in all her actions continuously.
 
Blanchemain helps me here by offering a simpler variant of that line, which clearly focuses on the continued youthfulness of the phoenix!  He also adjusts the end of the second quatrain.  So here are the first 8 lines complete in his version:
 
 
Voicy le mois d’Avril, où nasquit la merveille,
Qui fait en terre foy de la beauté des cieux,
Le mirouer de vertu, le Soleil de mes yeux,
Qui vit comme un Phenix, au monde sans pareille.
 
Les Oeillets et les Liz et la Rose vermeille
Servirent de berceau : la Nature et les Dieux
La regarderent naistre en ce mois gracieux :
Puis Amour la nourrit des douceurs d’une Abeille.
 
 
                                                                              This is the month of April, in which was born that marvel
                                                                              Who creates on earth faith in the beauty of the heavens,
                                                                              The mirror of virtue, the sun to my eyes,
                                                                              Who lives like a Phoenix, without equal in the world.
 
                                                                              Pinks and lilies and the crimson rose
                                                                              Acted as her cradle; Nature and the gods
                                                                              Watched her being born in this graceful month;
                                                                              Then Love fed her with the sweetness of the bees.