Sonnet 55

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Verray-je point le saison qui m’apporte
Ou trève ou paix, ou la vie ou la mort,
Pour edenter le souci qui me mord
Le cœur rongé d’une lime si forte ?
 
Verray-je point que ma Naiade sorte
D’entre les flots pour m’enseigner le port ?
Viendray-je point ainsi qu’Ulysse à bort,
Ayant au flanc son linge pour escorte ?
 
Verray-je point ces clairs astres jumeaux,
En ma faveur ainsi que deux flambeaux
Monstrer leur flame à ma carene lasse ?
 
Verray-je point tant de vents s’accorder,
Et doucement mon navire aborder,
Comme il souloit au havre de sa grace ?
 
 
 
 
                                                                           Shall I never see the moment which will bring me
                                                                           A truce or peace, life or death,
                                                                           To make toothless the pain which eats away
                                                                           At my heart, worn down by so strong a file?
 
                                                                           Shall I never see my Naiad leave
                                                                           The waves to show me the way to harbour?
                                                                           Shall I never come like Ulysses to shore,
                                                                           Escorted by her scarf at his side?
 
                                                                           Shall I never see those bright twin stars
                                                                           Help me like twin torches,
                                                                           By showing their flames to my weary ship?
 
                                                                           Shall I never see such winds blowing favourably,
                                                                           And softly bringing my ship
                                                                           By their favour to its accustomed harbour?
 
 
 
An unusual sonnet, for having a separate complete statement of the same theme in each ‘stanza’, including the last which might normally offer a conclusion or a contrast. Yet a delightful sonnet still – apart from line 8!  I find this far too recondite – a classical reference so obscurely referenced in such odd words – “son linge pour escorte”?!  Blanchemain’s footnote helps explain, at least: ‘Ulysses, overwhelmed by a tempest, received from the nymph Leucothea a veil which supported him on the water until he could reach land.   (Odyssey book 5)’.
 
Blanchemain’s version has changes in detail throughout – though sadly no alternative to line 8…  Here is his version complete:
 
 
Verray-je point le doux jour qui m’apporte
Ou trève ou paix, ou la vie ou la mort,
Pour édenter le souci qui me mord
Le cœur à nu d’une lime si forte ?
 
Verray-je point que ma naïade sorte
Du fond de l’eau pour m’enseigner le port ?
Viendray-je point, ainsi qu’Ulysse, à bord,
Ayant au flanc son linge pour escorte ?
 
Verray-je point que ces astres jumeaux,
En ma faveur, encore par les eaux,
Monstrent leur flame à ma carene lasse ?
 
Verray-je point tant de vents s’accorder,
Et calmement mon navire aborder,
Comme il souloit, au havre de sa grace ?
 
 
 
 
                                                                           Shall I never see the sweet day which will bring me
                                                                           A truce or peace, life or death,
                                                                           To make toothless the pain which eats away
                                                                           At my naked heart with so strong a file?
 
                                                                           Shall I never see my Naiad leave
                                                                           The sea’s depths to show me the way to harbour?
                                                                           Shall I never come like Ulysses to shore,
                                                                           Escorted by her scarf at his side?
 
                                                                           Shall I never see those twin stars
                                                                           To help me, still [travelling] over the seas,
                                                                           Show their flames to my weary ship?
 
                                                                           Shall I never see such winds blowing favourably,
                                                                           And calmly bringing my ship
                                                                           By their favour to its accustomed harbour?

 

 
 
 
 
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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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