Sonnet 68

Standard
L’œil qui rendroit le plus barbare appris,
Qui tout orgueil en humblesse détrempe,
Et qui subtil affine de sa trempe
Le plus terrestre et lourd de nos espris,
 
M’a tellement de ses beautez épris,
Qu’autre beauté dessus mon cœur ne rampe,
Et m’est avis, sans voir un jour la lampe
De ces beaux yeux, que la mort me tient pris.
 
Cela que l’air est de propre aux oiseaux,
Les bois aux cerfs, et aux poissons les eaux,
Son bel œil m’est. O lumiere enrichie
 
D’un feu divin qui m’ard si vivement,
Pour me donner l’estre et le mouvement,
Estes-vous pas ma seule Entelechie ?
 
 
 
 
                                                                            That eye which teaches the most barbarous,
                                                                            Which dilutes all pride with humility,
                                                                            And which subtly purifies with its tempering
                                                                            The most earthy and heavy of our spirits,
 
                                                                            Has so captured me by its beauties
                                                                            That no other beauty can creep within my heart,
                                                                            And it is my belief that, if I miss seeing for one day
                                                                            The light of those fair eyes, Death will take me.
 
                                                                            As the air is the right place for birds,
                                                                            As the woods are for deer, the waters for fish,
                                                                            So her fair eye is for me. O light enriched
 
                                                                            By divine fire, which burns me so fiercely,
                                                                            Are you not that which gives me being
                                                                            And movement, my sole Entelechy?
 
 
Blanchemain favours us with Muret’s note explaining ‘entelechy’: ‘My soul alone, which causes all movement in me, both natural and voluntary. Entelechie, in Greek, signifies perfection. Aristotle teaches that this ‘entelechie’ gives essence and movement to all things.’  I suppose we might translate as ‘my sole perfection’.  I love the image of the first tercet – perfection indeed. Blanchemain’s version has a slight change in the first line of the tercet (line 9): “Cela vraiment que l’air est aux oyseaux” (‘That indeed which the air is for birds’).
 
There is a more substantive change in the opening quatrain:
 
 
L’œil qui rendroit le plus barbare appris,
Qui tout orgueil en humblesse détrempe,
Par la vertu de ne sais quelle trempe
Qui saintement affine les esprits,
 
 
                                                                           That eye which teaches the most barbarous,
                                                                           Which dilutes all pride with humility,
                                                                           By the virtue of some tempering quality
                                                                           Which saint-like purifies the spirit.
 
 
 
For me the newer version in Marty-Laveaux provides a better verse, partly by maintaining the specific rather than moving to ‘some or other’…
 
 
 
 
Advertisements

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')

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s