Sonnet 54

Standard
Bienheureux fut le jour où mon ame sujette
Rendit obeissance à ta douce rigueur,
Quand d’un traict de ton œil tu me perças le cœur,
Qui ne veut endurer qu’un autre luy en jette.
 
La Raison pour neant au chef fit sa retraite,
Et se mit au dongeon, comme au lieu le plus seur :
D’esperance assaillie et prise de douceur,
Trahit ma liberté, tant elle est indiscrette.
 
Le Ciel le veult ainsi, qui pour mieux offenser
Mon cœur, le baille en garde à la foy du Penser :
Qui trompe ma raison desloyal sentinelle,
 
Vendant de nuict mon camp aux soudars des Amours.
J’auray tousjours en l’ame une guerre eternelle :
Mes pensers et mon cœur me trahissent tousjours.
 
 
 
 
                                                                              Happy was the day on which my soul, your subject,
                                                                              Made obeisance to your sweet harshness,
                                                                              When you pierced with a dart from your eye that heart of mine
                                                                              Which cannot endure another glance at it.
 
                                                                              Reason made her retreat to a vacant place, my head,
                                                                              And put herself in the dungeon, as being the securest of places;
                                                                              Attacked by hope and conquered by sweetness
                                                                              She betrayed my freedom, so indiscreet is she.
 
                                                                              Heaven too wished this, which (to better attack
                                                                              My heart) had set to guard it the trustworthiness of Thought;
                                                                              But that disloyal sentinel deceived my reason,
 
                                                                              Selling my camp at night to the troops of Love.
                                                                              I shall always have eternal war in my soul;
                                                                              My thoughts and my heart are always betraying me.
  
 
 
Richelet explains line 5:  ‘he follows the opinion of several including Aristotle who place the seat of reason in the heart, which – attacked by the eyes of Helen – forced and required reason to fall back and retreat to the head; from this cause lovers are considered without reason because Love chases reason from the heart when he wounds it’.
 
I could use an explanation for line 4 myself! The grammar is “[Mon coeur] Qui ne veut endurer qu’un autre [traict] luy en(?) jette” ‘My heart cannot endure that another dart shoot it with [it? them?]’, though perhahaps I am meant to read “…un autre [oeil] luy en [=de traicts d’oeil] jette” ‘My heart cannot endure that another eye shoot it with darts from the eye’?   Thoughts welcome!  I have translated vaguely ‘another’ which (like the French) might refer back to eyes or darts…
 
Blanchemain offers 3 variant lines in his chosen text, and then a  further 4 in a footnote! In both cases the opening quatrain is untouched, so here are the remaining ‘stanzas’ first in his preferred text:
 
 
La Raison pour neant au chef fit sa retraite,
Et se mit au dongeon, comme au lieu le plus seur :
D’esperance assaillie et prise de douceur,
Rendit ma liberté, qu’en vain je re-souhaite.
 
Le Ciel le veult ainsi, qui pour mieux offenser
Mon cœur, le baille en garde à la foy du Penser :
lequel trahit mon camp, desloyal sentinelle,
 
Ouvrant l’huis du rempart aux soudars des Amours.
J’auray tousjours en l’ame une guerre eternelle :
Mes pensers et mon cœur me trahissent tousjours.
 
 
                                                                              Reason made her retreat to a vacant place, my head,
                                                                              And put herself in the dungeon, as being the securest of places;
                                                                              Attacked by hope and conquered by sweetness
                                                                              She gave up my freedom, whichc I vainly demand back.
 
                                                                              Heaven too wished this, which (to better attack
                                                                              My heart) had set to guard it the trustworthiness of Thought;
                                                                              Which betrayed my camp, a disloyal sentinel,
 
                                                                              Opening the gates of the fort to the troops of Love.
                                                                              I shall always have eternal war in my soul;
                                                                              My thoughts and my heart are always betraying me.
 
 
 
And here is the footnoted variant:
 
 
La Raison pour neant au chef fit sa retraite,
Et se mit au dongeon, comme au lieu le plus seur :
D’esperance assaillie et prise de douceur,
Trahit ma liberté, tant elle est indiscrette.
 
Mon destin le permet, qui pour mieux m’offenser
Baille mon cœur en garde à la foy du Penser :
Qui trompe son seigneur, desloyal sentinelle,

Vendant de nuict mon camp
et mon cœur aux Amours
J’auray tousjours en l’ame une guerre eternelle :
Mes pensers et mon cœur me trahissent tousjours.
 
 
 
                                                                              Reason made her retreat to a vacant place, my head,
                                                                              And put herself in the dungeon, as being the securest of places;
                                                                              Attacked by hope and conquered by sweetness
                                                                              She betrayed my freedom, so indiscreet is she.
 
                                                                              My fate permtted this, which (to better attack me)
                                                                              Set my heart under guard of the trustworthiness of Thought;
                                                                              But that disloyal sentinel deceived its lord,
 
                                                                              Selling my camp and heart at night to Love.
                                                                              I shall always have eternal war in my soul;
                                                                              My thoughts and my heart are always betraying me.

 

 
 
 
 
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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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