Sonnet 51

Standard
Amour a tellement ses fleches enfermees
En mon ame, et ses coups y sont si bien enclos,
Qu’Helene est tout mon cœur, mon sang et mes propos,
Tant j’ay dedans l’esprit ses beautés imprimees.
 
Si les François avoient les ames allumees
D’amour ainsi que moy nous serions en repos :
Les champs de Montcontour n’eussent pourry nos os,
Ny Dreux ny Jazeneuf n’eussent veu nos armees.
 
Venus, va mignarder les moustaches de Mars :
Conjure ton guerrier de tes benins regars,
Qu’il nous donne la paix, et de tes bras l’enserre.
 
Pren pitié des François, race de tes Troyens,
A fin que nous facions en paix la mesme guerre
Qu’Anchise te faisoit sur les monts Ideens.
 
 
 
                                                                              Love has so firmly buried his arrows
                                                                              In my soul, and his blows are so well fixed there
                                                                              That Helen is all my heart, my blood and my thoughts,
                                                                              So much are her beauties imprinted in my spirit.
 
                                                                              If the French had souls burning
                                                                              With love like mine, we would be at peace;
                                                                              The battlefield of Montcontour would not be rotting our bones,
                                                                              Nor would Dreux and Jazeneuf have seen our armies.
 
                                                                              Venus, go and pet Mars’s moustaches,
                                                                              Beg your warrior with your pleasing glances
                                                                              That he might give us peace; hold him tightly in your arms.
 
                                                                              Take pity on the French, descended from your Trojans,
                                                                              That we might make in peace that same war
                                                                              Which Anchises made on you, on the Idaean mountains.
  
 
Richelet helpfully adds a footnote that lines 7-8 refer to ‘places in France marked by the misery of our civil wars‘. There were only 7 major battles in the Wars of Religion. The Battle of Moncontour (in Poitou) was the penultimate and took place on 3 October 1569 – largely between foreign merecenary forces! – with the surrender of 8000 Huguenots; Dreux (near Ronsard’s beloved Loir) was the site of the first major battle of the Wars of Religion on 19 December 1562, which brought the Catholics another hard-won victory; and Jazeneuf (or Jazeneuil) was the third, in late 1568, a relatively minor and even skirmish though it was followed by heavy casualties as the armies over-wintered close to each other.
 
Venus is called on, as Mars’s wife, to calm his desire for war. Venus favoured the Trojans in the Trojan War, and was particularly associated (for instance in Virgil’s Aeneid) with the family of Aeneas, her half-divine son by Anchises.
 
Blanchemain has only one minor variant:  “à repos” for “en repos” in line 6, which has only a slight inflexional difference in meaning.
 
 
 
 
 
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