The eternal lament of the intellectual – ‘my ills come from too much thinking’! As a friend of mine used to say, don’t employ university graduates if what you want is common sense… 🙂 I do like this poem!! In line 9, the “pitaut de village” could be a ‘village idiot’, but in this context I think Ronsard is thinking about simple rusticity rather than simpletons. Without changing the flavour of the poem, Ronsard re-wrote it considerably after the first edition. Generally I think his later version is tighter, with more varied writing within its theme, than the older one. Here is Blanchemain’s (early) version complete to show the differences: Ha ! petit chien, que tu es bien-heureux, Si ton bon-heur tu sçavois bien entendre, D’ainsi ès bras de ma mie t’estendre, Et de dormir en son sein amoureux ! Mais, las ! je vy chetif et langoureux, Pour sçavoir trop mes misères comprendre. Las! pour vouloir en ma jeunesse apprendre Trop de sçavoir, je me fis mal-heureux. Mon Dieu, que n’ai-je au chef l’entendement Aussi plombé qu’un qui journellement Bèche à la vigne ou fagotte au bocage ! Je ne serois chétif comme je suis ; Mon trop d’esprit, qui cause mon dommage, Ne comprendroit comme il fait mes ennuis. Ah, little pup, how fortunate you are, If only you were able to understand your fortune, To stretch yourself in the arms of my sweetheart And to sleep in her lovely bosom! But I, alas, live weak and drooping From being too well able to understand my wretchedness. Alas, from wanting in my youth to learn To know too much, I have made myself unhappy. My God, why don’t I have an intelligence As leaden as one who daily Digs in the vineyard or collects sticks in the woods! I’d not then be weak as I am; My excess of spirit, which causes me my harm, Would not understand how it makes my troubles!
In line 9-10 the expression could also mean ‘being feather-brained’ – interesting how in English we go for a light image rather than a heavy one! – but in this case I think the heavy image is closer to Ronsard’s meaning.