Sonnet 107

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Before returning properly to Cassandre and continuing the series of translations from that book, I am going to post a few selected poems from later in the book. It’s not quite a random selection, but I’ll leave you to divine my method for the moment 🙂

Ravi du nom qui me glace en ardeur,
Me souvenant de ma douce Charite,
Ici je plante une plante d’eslite,
Qui l’esmeraude efface de verdeur.
 
Tout ornement de royale grandeur,
Beauté sçavoir, honneur, grace et merite,
Sont pour racine à ceste Marguerite
Qui ciel et terre emparfume d’odeur.
 
Divine, fleur où mon espoir demeure,
La manne tombe et retombe à toute heure
Dessus ton front en tous temps nouvelet:
 
Jamais de toy la pucelle n’approche,
La mouche à miel, ne la faucille croche,
Ny les ergots d’un folâtre aignelet.
 
 
 
 
                                                                              Swept away by the name which freezes me in my ardour,
                                                                              And recalling my sweet Charity,
                                                                              Here I plant the pick of plants
                                                                              Which surpasses the greenness of the emerald.
 
                                                                              Every ornament of royal greatness,
                                                                              Of beauty, knowledge, honour, grace and merit
                                                                              Are the root of this Marguerite [Daisy]
                                                                              Which perfumes heaven and earth with its scent.
 
                                                                              O divine one, flower in which my hope rests,
                                                                              Manna falls and falls again at every hour
                                                                              Upon your brow, renewed all the time.
 
                                                                              Never shall a maid approach you,
                                                                              A fly [seek] your honey, a sickle scythe you down,
                                                                              Nor the spurs of a gambolling lamb.
  
 
There are plenty of minor variants between versions here, as seems more or less inevitable with the many years separating the early sonnets and Ronsard’s final revision.  Blanchemain’s ‘core’ version changes a word here, a word there: the poem begins “Picqué du nom…” (‘Goaded by the name…’); then the first tercet is punctuated slightly differently, changing the reading of the first line, as well as having a couple of small word changes:
 
 
Divine fleur où ma vie demeure,
La manne tombe et retombe à toute heure
Dessus ton front sans cesse nouvelet:
 
                                                                              O divine flower in which my life rests,
                                                                              Manna falls and falls again at every hour
                                                                              Upon your brow, ceaselessly renewed.
 
 
 Additionally, there is a variant of the first quatrain offering a substantially different middle:
 
 
Picqué du nom qui me glace en ardeur,
Me souvenant du nom qu’au fond du cœur
Amour m’engrave en grosse lettre écritte
Qui l’esmeraude efface de verdeur.
 
 
                                                                             Goaded by the name which freezes me in my ardour,
                                                                             And recalling that name which in the depths of my heart
                                                                             Love engraved, written in great letters
                                                                             Which surpass the greenness of the emerald.
 
 
 You may have noticed that the poem is addressed to Marguerite (Daisy), not to Cassandre… As Blanchemain notes, “whoever this poem and another in this book were written for, she was called Marguerite. Poets are not always constant as they pretend.”  He adds an editorial suggestion, picking up the reference to Charity in line 2: “Perhaps she was Marguerite of France, queen of Navarre, to whom he dedicated his poem La Charité.”
 
 
 
 
 
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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')

One response »

  1. Pingback: Sonnet 106 | Oeuvres de Ronsard

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