Sonnet 46

Pour voir d’autres beautez mon desir ne s’appaise,
Tant du premier assaut vos yeux m’ont surmonté,
Tousjours à l’entour d’eux vole ma volonté,
Yeux qui versent en l’ame une si chaude braise.

Mais vous embellissez de me voir à malaise,
Tigre, roche de mer, la mesme cruauté,
Comme ayant le desdain si joint à la beauté,
Que de plaire à quelcun semble qu’il vous desplaise.

Desja par longue usance aimer je ne sçaurois
Sinon vous, qui sans pair à soymesme ressemble.
Si je changeois d’amour, de douleur je mourrois.

Seulement quand je pense au changement, je tremble :
Car tant dedans mon cœur toute je vous reçois,
Que d’aimer autre part c’est haïr, ce me semble.


                                                                              By looking at other beauties my desire cannot be appeased,
                                                                              So much your eyes overwhelmed me in the first assault;
                                                                              My will is always flying around them,
                                                                              Those eyes which pour into my soul such hot fire.
                                                                              But you get prettier when you see me ill at ease,
                                                                              The same cruelty as a tiger, or a rock in the sea,
                                                                              As if, having scorn joined so to beauty,
                                                                              Being pleasant to someone seems to displease you.
                                                                              Already through long usage I cannot love
                                                                              Unless I love you, who resemble only yourself without an equal.
                                                                              If I changed from that love, I would die of grief.
                                                                              Just thinking of that change, I tremble:
                                                                              For I have taken you entire into my heart so much
                                                                              That loving elsewhere is hating – it seems to me.


There’s just a minor variant in Blanchemain’s version: he has “en mal-aise” instead of “à malaise” in line 5, but that chnages the ‘music’ of the line not its meaning.
I find the opening odd – perhaps it’s my (weak) grasp of French – but at first sight the opening line means to me ‘My desire to look at other beauties cannot be assuaged’. Only in the context of the second line does it have to acquire the meaning ‘By looking at other beauties…’   So I’m not sure if this is Ronsard deliberately setting up a contrary expectation (‘I still like looking at other ladies’) and then rapidly switcing direction, or whether I’m just reading his French badly!

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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