Sonnet 38

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.)

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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