Sonnet 141

Standard
L’astre ascendant sous qui je pris naissance,
De son regard ne maistrisoit les Cieux :
Quand je nasquis il estoit dans tes yeux,
Futurs tyrans de mon obeissance.
 
Mon tout, mon bien, mon heur, ma cognoissance
Vint de ton œil : car pour nous lier mieux,
Tant nous unit son feu presagieux,
Que de nous deux il ne fit qu’une essence.
 
En toy je suis et tu es seule en moy,
En moy tu vis et je vis dedans toy,
Tant nostre amour est parfaitement ronde.
 
Ne vivre en toy ce seroit mon trespas.
La pyralide en ce point ne vit pas,
Perdant sa flamme, et le Daufin son onde.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            The star ascendant under which I was born
                                                                            Could rule the heavens with its look;
                                                                            When I was born it was in your eyes,
                                                                            The future tyrants over my submission.
 
                                                                            My all, my goodness, my fortune, my understanding
                                                                            Come from your eyes; for, to bind us better,
                                                                            The omen of their fire so unites us
                                                                            That of us two it makes but one essence.
 
                                                                            In you I am and you are only in me,
                                                                            In me you live and I live within you,
                                                                            So perfectly complete is our love.
 
                                                                            Not to live in, that would be death to me.
                                                                            The pyralid in this way cannot live
                                                                            If it loses its flame, or the dolphin its sea.

 

 

 

 

Muret offers some help with line 13 – ‘Pyralides are small flying animals, which have four feet and are found in the isle of Cyprus, of such a nature that they live in fire and die when they move a little too far from it. (Pliny, in the 11th book.)’  More recently the pyralids have been identified as fiery flying insects; and their name has been used scientifically for a range of moths and other lepidoptera (~butterflies). Muret also tells us (on line 14) ‘Dolphins die when they touch the land. (Pliny, in the 9th book.)” – though this one is simpler to understand even without the classical reference.

In line 7, the French would translate best as ‘ominous fire’ – fire which carries a good omen. But ‘ominous’  carries bad associations in English which aren’t appropriate here.
 
Blanchemain has a number of variants. Oddly, the first is just punctuation in line 3 – “Quand je nasquis : il estoit …” – but it shifts the meaning of the first clause, which becomes “The star under which I was born Ruled the heavens with its look When I was born:  it was…’ Is Ronsard implying it somehow ceased to be a star and moved into Cassandre’s eyes?  
 
As usual the changes cluster in the sestet:
 
 
En toy je suis et tu es dedans moy,
En moy tu vis et je vis dedans toy,
Ainsi nos touts ne font qu’un petit monde.
 
Sans vivre en toi je tomberois là bas :
La pyralide en ce poinct ne vit pas,
Perdant sa flamme, et le dauphin son onde.
 
 
 
                                                                            In you I am and you are within me,
                                                                            In me you live and I live within you,
                                                                            Thus we together make just one little world.
 
                                                                            Without living in you I would fall down below;
                                                                            The pyralid in this way cannot live
                                                                            If it loses its flame, or the dolphin its sea.

 

 

 
 
 
Advertisements

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')

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s