Sonnet 130

Standard
L’an mil cinq cens avec quarante et six,
En ces cheveux une Dame cruelle,
Autant cruelle en mon endroit que belle,
Lia mon cœur de ses cheveux surpris.
 
Lors je pensoy, comme sot mal appris,
Nay pour souffrir une peine eternelle,
Que les crespons de leur blonde cautelle
Deux ou trois jours sans plus me tiendroient pris.
 
L’an est passé, et l’autre commence ores
Où je me voy plus que devant encores
Pris dans leurs rets : et quand par fois la mort
 
Veut deslacer le lien de ma peine,
Amour tousjours pour l’estreindre plus fort,
Flatte mon cœur d’une esperance vaine.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            In the year fifteen hundred and forty six,
                                                                            In these fair locks a cruel Lady –
                                                                            As cruel to me as she is beautiful –
                                                                            Bound my heart, caught unawares by her fair locks.
 
                                                                            Then I thought, like an ill-taught fool
                                                                            Born to suffer eternal pain,
                                                                            That the curls with their cunning blonde-ness
                                                                            Would hold me for two or three days, no more.
 
                                                                            The year is ended, and another is now beginning
                                                                            In which I see myself still more than before
                                                                            Caught in their net; and when sometimes death
 
                                                                            Seems willing to loose the bond of my pain,
                                                                            Love always, to grasp it more strongly,
                                                                            Deceives my heart with empty hope.

 

 

 

I am, for some reason, struck by the decision to begin with a date: it seems somehow remarkable that a sonnet should begin with a date, and that Ronsard should have worked to fit a date into his metre! I’ve opted out of trying to give the date a special poetic form…  (I’ve also translated “cheveux” as ‘fair locks’ rather than just ‘hair’ twice in the first quatrain.)
 
The form of the date above wasn’t Ronsard’s only attempt at a metrical form: Blanchemain’s edition gives us some earlier thoughts – and here to reflect the different words I’ve tried varying the translation too.
 
 
L’an mil cinq cens, contant quarante six,
Dans ces cheveux une dame cruelle
(Ne sçais quel plus, las ! ou cruelle ou belle)
Lia mon cœur, de ses graces espris.
 
Lors je pensoy, comme sot mal-appris,
Nay pour souffrir une peine immortelle,
Que les crespons de leur blonde cautelle
Deux ou trois jours sans plus me tiendroient pris.
 
L’an est passé, et l’autre commence ores
Où je me voy plus que devant encores
Pris dans leurs rets ; et quand par fois la mort
 
Veut deslacer le lien de ma peine,
Amour tousjours, pour l’ennouer plus fort,
Flatte mon cœur d’une esperance vaine.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            In the year fifteen hundred adding forty six,
                                                                            In these fair locks a cruel Lady –
                                                                            I no longer know, alas, if she is cruel or fair –
                                                                            Bound my heart, captured by her gracefulness.
 
                                                                            Then I thought, like an ill-taught fool
                                                                            Born to suffer immortal pain,
                                                                            That the curls with their cunning blonde-ness
                                                                            Would hold me for two or three days, no more.
 
                                                                            The year is ended, and another is now beginning
                                                                            In which I see myself still more than before
                                                                            Caught in their net; and when sometimes death
 
                                                                            Seems willing to loose the bond of my pain,
                                                                            Love always, to tie the knot more strongly,
                                                                            Deceives my heart with empty hope.

 

 

 
 
 
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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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