Ode 4: 32

Verson ces roses en ce vin,
En ce bon vin versons ces roses,
Et boivon l’un à l’autre, afin
Qu’au cœur nos tristesses encloses
Prennent en boivant quelque fin.
La belle rose du printemps,
Aubert, admoneste les hommes
Passer joyeusement le temps,
Et pendant que jeunes nous sommes,
Esbattre la fleur de nos ans.
Car ainsi qu’elle défleurit
A bas en une matinée,
Ainsi nostre âge se flestrit,
Las ! et en moins d’une journée
Le printemps d’un homme perit.
Ne veis-tu pas hier Brinon
Parlant et faisant bonne chere,
Lequel aujourd’hui n’est sinon
Qu’un peu de poudre en une bière,
Qui de luy n’a rien que le nom ?
Nul ne desrobe son trespas,
Caron serre tout en sa nasse,
Roys et pauvres tombent là bas ;
Mais ce-pendant le temps se passe,
Rose, et je ne te chante pas.
La rose est l’honneur d’un pourpris,
La rose est des fleurs la plus belle,
Et dessus toutes a le pris :
C’est pour cela que je l’appelle
La violette de Cypris.
Le rose est le bouquet d’amour,
La rose est le jeu des Charites,
La rose blanchit tout autour
Au matin de perles petites
Qu’elle emprunte du poinct du jour.
La rose est le parfum des dieux,
La rose est l’honneur des pucelles,
Qui leur sein beaucoup aiment mieux
Enrichir de roses nouvelles,
Que d’un or tant soit precieux.
Est-il rien sans elle de beau ?
La rose embellit toutes choses,
Venus de roses a la peau,
Et l’Aurore a les doigts de roses,
Et le front le Soleil nouveau.
Les nymphes de rose ont le sein,
Les coudes, les flancs et les hanches ;
Hebé de roses a la main,
Et les Charites, tant soient blanches,
Ont le front de roses tout plein.
Que le mien en soit couronné,
Ce m’est un laurier de victoire :
Sus, appelon le deux-fois-né,
Le bon pere, et le faisons boire,
De cent roses environné.
Bacchus, espris de la beauté
Des roses aux fueilles vermeilles,
Sans elles n’a jamais esté,
Quand en chemise sous les treilles
Il boit au plus chaud de l’esté.
Pour these roses into the wine,
Into this fine wine pour these roses,
And drink one to another, that
Those sad things we keep in our hearts
May meet in drinking some kind of end.
The fair rose of spring,
Aubert, admonishes men
To spend their time joyously
And, while we’re young,
To frolic away the flower of our years.
For just as her petals fall
Down in a morning,
So our age is blighted:
Alas, in less than a day
A man’s springtime perishes.
Didn’t you see Brinon yesterday
Chattering and making good cheer,
Who is nothing today but
A little powder in a beer
Which has nothing of him but his name?
None can avoid his death,
Charon closes his net on us all,
Kings and paupers fall down below;
But – time is passing,
O Rose, and I am not singing of you!
The Rose is the most distinguished of crimsons,
The Rose is of flowers most beautiful,
And above all others takes the prize:
That’s why I call it
The violet of Cypris (=Venus).
Rose is the scent of love
The Rose is the plaything of the Graces,
The Rose makes all around it fade,
In the morning, with tiny pearls
She borrows from the dawn.
The Rose is the perfume of the gods,
The Rose is the symbol of virgins,
Who love far more to enrich
Their breast with fresh roses
Than with gold however precious.
Is there anything beautiful without her?
The Rose enhances all things,
Venus has skin like roses,
And Dawn is rosy-fingered
And the morning Sun is rose-pink.
The nymphs have rosy breasts,
Arms, bodies, legs;
Hebe has a rosy hand,
And the Graces, though fair-skinned,
Have all-rosy brows.
Would that mine was so crowned,
That would be for me a laurel of victory;
Up then, call the twice-born,
The good father, and let’s make him drink,
Encircled by a hundred roses.
Bacchus, enamoured of the beauty
Of roses with their crimson petals,
Has never been without them
When in shirt-sleeves he drinks
Beneath the arbour in the hottest days of summer.
 In the 5th stanza, Charon is the boatman who ferries dead souls across the river Styx; I can’t recall anywhere else where the image is of him fishing them up in his net!  In the 9th stanza, ‘rosy-fingered Dawn’ is how Homer always terms her.  In the penultimate stanza the ‘twice-born’ is Dionysus, or Bacchus as in the final stanza. Why twice-born? Well, Bacchus was the child of Jupiter and Semele; those who know the Handel opera will know Semele died as a result of seeing Jupiter in all his glory – before giving birth. Jupiter then took her unborn child (a ‘six-month child’ according to some Greek writers) and sewed it into his thigh to complete its growth until ready to be born. Hence ‘twice-born’, once from Semele’s womb, once from Jupiter’s thigh.
Aubert in the 2nd stanza is Guillaume Aubert, friend of du Bellay & posthumous editor of his works.

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