Sonnet 75


A word before I start:  there is a lot of play in this poem around multiple meanings of the word “mirer” – to reflect like a mirror, to admire, even to sight or target (as with a gun-sight). I’ve given up all hope of reflecting that in a single translation, so have used plenty of [brackets] to enclose multiple versions of the translation which you should read, as it were, simultaneously … It’s not elegant but it is the closest I can come to the multiple readings in parallel which Ronsard creates.


Je parangonne à vos yeux ce crystal,
Qui va mirer le meurtrier de mon ame :
Vive par l’air il esclate une flame,
Vos yeux un feu qui m’est saint et fatal.
Heureux miroër, tout ainsi que mon mal
Vient de trop voir la beauté qui m’enflame :
Comme je fay, de trop mirer ma Dame,
Tu languiras d’un sentiment égal.
Et toutes-fois, envieux, je t’admire,
D’aller mirer les beaux yeux où se mire
Amour, dont l’arc dedans est recelé.
Va donq’ miroër, mais sage pren bien garde
Que par ses yeux Amour ne te regarde,
Brulant ta glace ainsi qu’il m’a brulé.
                                                                            I propose as rival to your eyes this glass
                                                                            Which [ the murderer of my soul so admires / continually mirrors the murderer of my soul ]
                                                                            Brightly through the air its flame flashes,
                                                                            Your eyes the fire which is to me holy and deadly.
                                                                            Happy mirror, just as my ills
                                                                            Come from seeing too much that beauty which inflames me;
                                                                            So, as I do, from [ mirroring/admiring ] my Lady too much
                                                                            You will languish from the same feelings.
                                                                            Yet continually I admire you, envious
                                                                            That you still [mirror/admire] the fair eyes in which Love
                                                                            [Regards himself/is mirrored], in which his bow is hidden.
                                                                            Go then mirror, but wisely take good care
                                                                            That Love does not look on you through her eyes,
                                                                            Burning your [ ice/glass ] as he has burned me.



Apart from those slippery meanings, there isn’t really anything to add by way of commentary. Blanchemain’s earlier version has a rather different second half; here then is the sestet in the earlier version:
Et toutes-fois, envieux, je t’admire,
D’aller mirer le miroer où se mire
Tout l’univers devant lui remiré.
Va donq’ miroër, va donc, et pren bien garde
Qu’en le mirant ainsi que moi ne t’arde
Pour avoir trop ses beaux yeux admiré.
                                                                           Yet continually I admire you, envious
                                                                           That you still [mirror/admire] the mirror in which the whole world
                                                                           Regards itself, mirrored before it.
                                                                           Go then mirror, go then and take good care
                                                                           That in reflecting her she does not burn you as she has me
                                                                           For having looked too much on her fair eyes.



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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