Sonnet 126

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Je te hay, peuple, et j’en prens à tesmoin
Le Loir, Gastine, et les rives de Braye,
Et la Neuffaune, et la verte saulaye
Que Sabut voit aboutir à son coin.
 
Là quand tout seul je m’esgare bien loin,
Amour qui parle avecque moy s’essaye
Non de guarir, mais rengreger ma playe
Par les deserts, qui augmentent mon soin.
 
Là pas-à-pas, Dame, je rememore
Ton front, ta bouche, et les graces encore
De tes beaux yeux trop fideles archers :
 
Puis figurant ta belle idole feinte
Au clair d’une eau, je sanglote une pleinte,
Qui fait gemir le plus dur des rochers.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            I hate you, people, and I call to witness
                                                                            The Loir, Gastine and the banks of Braye,
                                                                            And the Neuffaune, and the green willow
                                                                            Which Sabut sees adjoining its own edge.
 
                                                                            There, when all alone I wander afar,
                                                                            Love as he talks with me attempts
                                                                            Not to cure but to deepen my wound
                                                                            In these deserts which increase my cares.
 
                                                                            There, step by step, my Lady, I recall
                                                                            Your brow, your lips, the grace too
                                                                            Of your fair eyes, too trusty archers!
 
                                                                            Then imagining your fair image drawn
                                                                            In the clear water of a spring, I sob my complaint
                                                                            Which makes the hardest rocks wail.

 

 

 

Ronsard likes a dramatic opening , and this is a pretty fine one! But what is really typical is his determined projection of himself as a local man of the Vendôme, with the list of minor rivers which would be unknown to most of his readers (as to us) but which create a counterweight to the reality of the man about town and Court.
 
Blanchemain gallantly footnotes the various names. “Loir : river which passes through Vendome; Gastine: name of a forest; Braye: another small river; Neuffaune: a copse belonging to the author’s house; Sabut: a fertile hill with good vines, whose base is entirely covered in willows”.  I’m not sure that Ronsard meant his readers to gather more than local colour from the list, though Loir and the forest of Gastine do come back repeatedly in his poetry and are closely associated with his own family estate.
 
Blanchemain’s text has a number of variants, and particularly a rather different second quatrain. To avoid a cumbersome list, here’s the whole poem again in the earlier version:
 
 
Je te hay, peuple, et m’en sert de tesmoin
Le Loir, Gastine et les rives de Braye,
Et la Neuffaune et la verte saulaye
Que de Sabut borne l’extreme coin.
 
Quand je me perds entre deux monts bien loin,
M’arraissonnant, seul, à l’heure j’esssaye
De soulager la douleur de ma playe
Qu’amour encharne au plus vif de mon soin.
 
Là, pas-à-pas, Dame, je rememore
Ton front, ta bouche, et les graces encore
De tes beaux yeux, trop fideles archers ;
 
Puis, figurant ta belle idole feinte
Dedans quelque eau, je sanglote une pleinte,
Qui fait gemir le plus dur des rochers.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            I hate you, people, and my witnesses are
                                                                            The Loir, Gastine and the banks of Braye,
                                                                            And the Neuffaune, and the green willow
                                                                            Which marks the farthest part of the Sabut.
 
                                                                            When I lose myself between two far-off hills,
                                                                            Musing alone, hour by hour I attempt
                                                                            To soothe the pain of my wound
                                                                            Which love embodies in the liveliest of my cares.
 
                                                                            There, step by step, my Lady, I recall
                                                                            Your brow, your lips, the grace too
                                                                            Of your fair eyes, too trusty archers!
 
                                                                            Then imagining your fair image drawn
                                                                            Within some spring, I sob my complaint
                                                                            Which makes the hardest rocks wail.
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
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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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