Sonnet 99

Jaloux Soleil contre Amour envieux,
Soleil masqué d’une face blesmie,
Qui par trois jours as retenu m’amie
Seule au logis par un temps pluvieux :
Je ne croy plus tant d’amours que les vieux
Chantent de toy : ce n’est que poësie.
S’il eust jadis touché ta fantaisie,
D’un mesme mal, tu serois soucieux.
Par tes rayons à la pointe cornuë,
En ma faveur eusses rompu la nuë,
Faisant d’obscur un temps serein et beau.
Va te cacher, vieil Pastoureau champestre,
Tu n’es pas digne au Ciel d’estre un flambeau,
Mais un Bouvier qui meine les bœufs paistre.
                                                                            Jealous Sun, envious of Love,
                                                                            Sun masked behind a pallid appearance,
                                                                            Who has for three days kept my beloved
                                                                            Alone at her home through the rainy weather;
                                                                            I no longer believe so much in the love-stories which the ancients
                                                                            Sing of you; that’s just poetry.
                                                                            If it had ever moved your imagination
                                                                            With a similar pain, you’d have been more caring.
                                                                            With your sharp-pointed rays
                                                                            To favour me you’d have burst through the clouds
                                                                            Making the dimness into fine and fair weather.
                                                                            Go hide yourself, you old rustic shepherd,
                                                                            You are not worthy to be a torch for the heavens,
                                                                            But rather a cowman leading his cows to pasture.



I do love Ronsard in humorous mode; and his rudeness to the sun is wonderful.  I especially like lines 5-6 – ‘that’s just poetry’, says Ronsard who simultaneously wants us (and Cassandre) to believe in the underlying truth of his own love poems, and more importantly in the power of poetry, its function of being more than just pretty.  Whether Ronsard wanted to ‘change the world’ with his poetry is a complex question, but I think the sheer volume and variety of his poetry, and its commentary on contemporary issues, strongly suggests he believed his poems could structure arguments and influence outcomes. So “ce n’est que poësie”? Tongue firmly in cheek, and a strongly ironic inflection, I think!

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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