Sonnet 37

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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.
 
 
 
 
 
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