Si l’on vous dit qu’Argus est une fable,
Ne le croyez bonne posterité,
Ce n’est pas feinte ains une vérité,
A mon malheur je la sens veritable.
Un autre Argus en deux yeux redoutable,
En corps humain non feint, non inventé,
Espie, aguete, et garde la beauté
Par qui je suis douteux et miserable.
Quand par ses yeux Argus ne la tiendroit,
Tousjours au col mignarde me pendroit,
Je cognois bien sa gentille nature.
Ha ! vray Argus, tant tu me fais gemir,
A mon secours vienne un autre Mercure,
Non pour ta mort, mais bien pour t’endormir.
If they tell you that Argus is a fable
Don’t believe them, o good posterity,
He is not made up, but very truth,
To my misfortune I feel it truly.
Another Argus in two formidable eyes,
In human form, not made up, not invented,
Watches out, stays alert, and guards the beauty
Who makes me doubtful and wretched.
If Argus were not keeping her under his eyes,
She’d always hang, winsome, on my neck –
I know her gentle nature well.
Oh, true Argus, how you make me sigh!
May a second Mercury come to my aid,
Not bringing you death but rather sleep.
Sometimes Ronsard’s use of his classical learning is there to make you smile rather than think hard. Today is one of those days! Argus was the hundred-eyed, never-sleeping watchman who guarded Io from Jupiter; Mercury, the trickster, charmed him to sleep and then (in the myth) killed him.
After deciding to include sonnet 132 (from 1572) in his 1560 edition, Blanchemain obviously felt relaxed and included this one as well while noting he took it from the last 1584 edition! His version is identical. He quotes Muret’s footnote – which incidentally comes from the 1560 edition! – in which Muret states that ‘this poem in no way belongs to Cassandre’. I don’t know why he came to that conclusion, unless it was ‘inside information’ from his friendship with Ronsard and acquaintance with his poems.