Sonnet 66

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Ciel, air et vents, plains et monts découvers,
Tertres vineux et forests verdoyantes,
Rivages torts et sources ondoyantes,
Taillis rasez et vous bocages vers :

Antres moussus à demy-front ouvers,
Prez, boutons, fleurs et herbes rousoyantes,
Vallons bossus et plages blondoyantes,
Et vous rochers, les hostes de mes vers :

 
Puis qu’au partir, rongé de soin et d’ire,
A ce bel œil Adieu je n’ay sceu dire,
Qui pres et loin me detient en esmoy,
 
Je vous supply, Ciel, air, vents, monts et plaines,
Taillis, forests, rivages et fontaines,
Antres, prez, fleurs, dites-le luy pour moy.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            Heaven, air and winds, plains and exposed mountains,
                                                                            Vine-covered hills and verdant forests,
                                                                            Winding rivers and flowing springs,
                                                                            Well-tended groves, and you green woods;
 
                                                                            Mossy caves with half-open mouths,
                                                                            Meadows, buds, flowers and bedewed grass,
                                                                            Hills and valleys, white-sanded beaches,
                                                                            And you rocks, hosts to my singing:
 
                                                                            Since on parting, gnawed by care and anger,
                                                                            I could not say Farewell to that fair eye
                                                                            Which keeps me near or far in anguish,
 
                                                                            I beg you – Heaven, air, winds, mountains, plains,
                                                                            Hills, forests, rivers, founts,
                                                                            Caves, meadows, flowers – say it to her for me!

 

 

  
This for me is another example of Ronsard setting himself a ‘problem’ – in this case, making a list poetic, and making the countryside grand & ‘antique’ in feel – and then delivering a solution. That he succeeded is evident in the detailed rather than wholesale changes he made when he returned to the poem in later life. The last 3 lines are masterful – a tumble of words repeated from the first two stanzas yet completely different in pace and character.  The antique feel comes largely through the adjectives and participles – though “rousoyantes” is (I believe) a form invented by Ronsard, relying on an old French version (rousée) of “rosée” (dew), which I’ve given a rather out-of-context antique feel in the translation too; and consequently allowed myself to ‘invent’ the adjective ‘white-sanded’ to try to capture something of the oddity of sands “blondoyantes” (‘becoming blonder’) in the next line!  But the nouns are also a strange bunch – technical or antique terms abound to define the countryside; and then we have the “vallons bossus”, the ‘valleys with hills in them’…  All in all a marvellously difficult piece to translate with anything approaching the variety of the original… (I failed…)
 
As indicated most of the differences in Blanchemain’s version are ones of detail: “plaine” (singular) not “plains” in line 1; “tertres fourchus” (cloven hills) instead of “tertres vineux” (vine-covered hills) in line 2; “coteaux vineux”  (vine-covered slopes) in place of the “vallons bossus” in line 7; in line 10 “l’adieu je n’ay sceu dire” (indirect rather than direct speech). Line 8 is however more substantively different, in the earlier version naming the rivers local to him in his youth agai,n rather than the more generalised ‘rocks’ he later replaced them with:
 
 
Gastine, Loir, et vous, mes tristes vers
 
                                                                           Gastine, Loir – and you too, my sad poetry:

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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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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  1. Pingback: No mínimo, um poema ao dia #6 – Leveza & Esperança

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