Sonnet 104

Standard
Devant les yeux nuict et jour me revient
Le saint portrait de l’angelique face :
Soit que j’escrive, ou soit que j’entrelasse
Mes vers au Luth, tousjours il m’en souvient.
 
Voyez pour Dieu, comme un bel œil me tient
En sa prison, et point ne me delasse :
Comme mon cœur il empestre en sa nasse,
Qui de pensée, à mon dam, l’entretient.
 
O le grand mal, quand nostre ame est saisie
Des monstres naiz dedans la fantaisie !
Le jugement est tousjours en prison.
 
Amour trompeur, pourquoy me fais-tu croire
Que la blancheur est une chose noire,
Et que les sens sont plus que la raison !
 
 
 
 
                                                                            Before my eyes night and day bring back to me
                                                                            The saintly image of her angelic face;
                                                                            Whether I write or interweave
                                                                            My verses to the [notes of the] lute, always it comes to mind.
 
                                                                            See, by heaven, how a fair eye holds me
                                                                            In its prison, and never lets me relax;
                                                                            How it entangles in its toils my heart
                                                                            Which in its thoughts supports it, to my destruction.
 
                                                                            Oh what a great evil, when our soul is seized
                                                                            By monsters born in the imagination!
                                                                            Our judgement is always in prison.
 
                                                                            Love, you deceiver, why do you make me believe
                                                                            That white is black,
                                                                            And that the senses are greater than reason!

 

 

 

Today is one of Ronsard’s ‘buy one, get one free’ days: the version of the poem he arrived at in late life only shares half its lines with the version he began with, and concludes with a completely different picture – perhaps a less negative one. Blanchemain offers the version above complete in a footnote, while printing the version below:
 
 
Devant les yeux nuict et jour me revient
Le saint pourtrait de l’angelique face ;
Soit que j’escrive, ou soit que j’entrelace
Mes vers au luth, toujours il m’en souvient.
 
Voyez, pour Dieu, comme un bel œil me tient
En sa prison et point ne me délace,
Et comme il prend mon cœur dedans sa nasse
Qui de pensée à mon dam l’entretient.
 
O le grand mal, quand une affection
Peint notre esprit de quelque impression !
J’entends alors que l’Amour ne dedaigne
 
Suttilement l’engraver de son trait ;
Toujours au cœur nous revient ce portrait,
Et maugré nous toujours nous accompaigne.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            Before my eyes night and day bring back to me
                                                                            The saintly image of her angelic face;
                                                                            Whether I write or interweave
                                                                            My verses to the [notes of the] lute, always it comes to mind.
 
                                                                            See, by heaven, how a fair eye holds me
                                                                            In its prison, and never lets me relax;
                                                                            And how it captures within its toils my heart
                                                                            Which in its thoughts supports it, to my destruction.
 
                                                                            Oh what a great evil, when attraction
                                                                            Paints upon our spirit some impression!
                                                                            I realise now that Love does not scorn
 
                                                                            Subtly to inscribe his wound on it;
                                                                            Always to our heart returns this picture,
                                                                            And despite ourselves always it accompanies us.

 

 
 
 
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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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