So early a sonnet inevitably attracted change as Ronsard revised his works. Blanchemain offers us a minor variant in the penultimate line – “m’emportant” (‘sweeping me away in his flight’) for “m’agitant” (‘stirring me by his flight’) – but also offers a version completely different except for the first ‘stanza’! (Though even there there is a tiny change “les cieu” rather than “les cieux”, no change in meaning but an interesting piece of orthography… Here is the complete Blanchemain (early) version: Avant qu’Amour du Chaos ocieux Ouvrist le sein qui couvoit la lumiere, Avec la terre, avec l’onde premiere, Sans art, sans forme, estoient brouillez les cieu Ainsi mon tout erroit séditieux Dans le giron de ma lourde matiere, Sans art, sans forme et sans figure entiere, Alors qu’Amour le perça par tes yeux. Il arrondit de mes affections Les petits corps et leurs perfections ; Il anima mes pensers de sa flamme ; Il me donna la vie et le pouvoir, Et, de son branle, il fit d’ordre mouvoir Les pas suivis du globe de mon âme. Before Love opened unproductive Chaos’s Breast which coveted the light, Together with the earth and the first waves The heavens were confused, without art or form. Just so my whole being wandered rebellious, Held in the lap of my heavy matter, Without art, without shape, entirely without form, When Love’s arrow wounded it through your eyes. He rounded out the little forms Of my affections, and perfected them, He excited my thoughts with his fire; He gave me life and power And with his impulse he made move in ordered fashion The steps taken by that sphere, my soul.
For me lines 5-6 are more successful in this early version, less complex perhaps but also clearer. Likewise the sestet is perhaps simpler and less sophisticated writing, but quite charming.