Chanson (146a)

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Ronsard put together a sequence of 135 sonnets before his first lyric in the book; now, barely 10 sonnets later, comes a second!

Ma Dame je n’eusse pensé,
Opiniastre en ma langueur,
Que ton cœur m’eust recompensé
D’une si cruelle rigueur,
Et qu’en lieu de me secourir
Tes beaux yeux m’eussent fait mourir.
 
Si prevoyant j’eusse apperceu,
Quand je te vy premierement,
Le mal que j’ay depuis receu
Pour aimer trop loyalement,
Mon cœur qui franc avoit vescu,
N’eust pas esté si tost veincu.
 
Tu fis promettre à tes beaux yeux
Qui seuls me vindrent decevoir,
De me donner encore mieux
Que mon cœur n’esperoit avoir :
Puis comme jalous de mon bien
Ont transformé mon aise en rien.
 
Si tost que je vy leur beauté,
Amour me força d’un desir
D’assujettir ma loyauté
Sous l’empire de leur plaisir,
Et décocha de leur regard
Contre mon cœur le premier dard.
 
Ce fut, Dame, ton bel accueil,
Qui pour me faire bien-heureux,
M’ouvrit par la clef de ton œil
Le paradis des Amoureux,
Et fait esclave en si beau lieu,
D’un homme je devins un Dieu.
 
Si bien que n’estant plus à moy,
Mais à l’œil qui m’avoit blessé,
Mon cœur en gage de ma foy
A luy mon maistre j’ai laissé,
Où serf si doucement il est
Qu’une autre beauté luy desplaist.
 
Et bien qu’il souffre jours et nuis
Mainte amoureuse adversité
Le plus cruel de ses ennuis
Luy semble une felicité,
Et ne sçauroit jamais vouloir
Qu’un autre œil le face douloir.
 
Un grand rocher qui a le doz
Et les pieds tousjours outragez,
Ores des vents, ores des flots
Contre les rives enragez,
N’est point si ferme que mon cueur
Sous l’orage de ta rigueur.
 
Car luy sans se changer, aimant
Les beaux yeux qui l’ont en-rethé,
Semble du tout au Diamant,
Qui pour garder sa fermeté
Se rompt plustost sous le marteau,
Que se voir tailler de nouveau.
 
Ainsi ne l’or qui peut tenter,
Ny grace, beauté, ny maintien
Ne sçauroyent dans mon cœur enter
Un autre portrait que le tien,
Et plustost il mourroit d’ennuy,
Que d’en souffrir un autre en luy.
 
Il ne faut donc pour empescher
Qu’une autre Dame en ait sa part,
L’environner d’un grand rocher,
Ou d’une fosse, ou d’un rempart :
Amour te l’a si bien conquis,
Que plus il ne peut estre acquis.
 
Chanson, les estoiles seront
La nuict sans les Cieux allumer,
Et plustost les vents cesseront
De tempester dessus la mer,
Que de ses yeux la cruauté
Puisse amoindrir ma loyauté.
My Lady, I would not have thought,
Stubborn in my languishing,
That your heart would have repaid me
With such cruel severity,
And that instead of coming to my aid
Your eyes would have done me to death.
 
If, looking ahead, I had perceived
When first I saw you
The wrongs which I have since received
From loving too faithfully,
My heart, which had lived free,
Would not have been to quickly overcome.
 
You promised with your fair eyes
Which came only to deceive me
To give me still better
Than my heart could hope to have;
Then as if envious of my happiness
They transformed my comfort to nothing.
 
As soon as I saw their beauty,
Love forced me through desire
To make my fidelity subject
To the rule of their pleasure,
And shot from their glance
The first dart into my heart.
 
It was, my Lady, your fair welcome
Which to make me happy
Opened for me, with the key of your eyes,
The paradise of lovers;
Made a slave in so fair a place,
Instead of a man I became a god.
 
So happily that, no longer being my own
But belonging to the eyes which had struck me,
My heart as pledge of my faithfulness
I left to them, my masters,
Where as a serf so sweetly it rests
That any other beauty displeases it.
 
And although it suffers night and day
So many a lover’s reverse,
The cruellest of its pains
Seems to it bliss,
And it can never wish
That any other eyes should make it unhappy.
 
A great rock whose back
And feet are always struck
Now by winds, now by waves
Furiously against the banks,
Is not so firm as my heart
Beneath the storm of your severity.
 
For he, unchanging, loving
The fair eyes which have netted him,
Seems entirely like the Diamond
Which to maintain its firmness
Would rather break beneath the hammer
Than be cut anew.
 
Thus, neither gold which can tempt
Nor grace, beauty and bearing
Can place in my heart
Any other picture but your own,
And rather would it die of its troubles
Than suffer any other [picture] in it.
 
It is not necessary to prevent
Another Lady from having part of it
By encircling it with a great stone [wall]
Or a ditch or rampart;
Love has conquered it so well for you
That it can no longer be bought.
 
My song, the stars will light
The night without the heavens,
And sooner will the winds cease
Storming over the sea,
Than the cruelty of her eyes
Can lessen my fidelity.
 
 Muret informs us that this poem is based on a letter (in verse, of course) in Ariosto’s ‘Orlando Furioiso’, sent by Bradamante to Ruggiero.
 
 Blanchemain’s version shows that Ronsard re-wrote much of the first stanza, but elsewhere only made minor changes. To avoid a long list & complicated back-and-forth referencnig to the version above, here’s the whole of the earlier version:
 
Las ! je n’eusse jamais pensé,
Dame qui causes ma langueur,
De voir ainsi recompensé
Mon service d’une rigueur,
Et qu’en lieu de me secourir
Ta cruauté m’eust fait mourir.
 
Si, bien-accort, j’eusse apperceu,
Quand je te vy premierement,
Le mal que j’ay depuis receu
Pour aimer trop loyalement,
Mon cœur, qui franc avoit vescu,
N’eust pas esté si tost vaincu.
 
Mais tu fis promettre à tes yeux,
Qui seuls me vindrent decevoir,
De me donner encore mieux
Que mon cœur n’esperoit avoir ;
Puis comme jaloux de mon bien,
Ont transformé mon aise en rien.
 
Si tost que je vis leur beauté,
Amour me força d’un desir
D’assujettir ma loyauté
Sous l’empire de leur plaisir,
Et decocha de leur regard
Contre mon cœur le premier dard.
 
Ce fut, Dame, ton bel accueil,
Qui, pour me faire bien-heureux,
M’ouvrit par la clef de ton œil
Le paradis des amoureux,
Et, fait esclave en si beau lieu,
D’un homme je devins un dieu.
 
Si bien que, n’estant plus à moy,
Mais à l’œil qui m’avoit blessé,
Mon cœur en gage de ma foy
A mon vainqueur j’ai délaissé,
Où serf si doucement il est
Qu’autre liberté luy desplaist ;
 
Et, bien qu’il souffre jours et nuis
Mainte amoureuse adversité,
Le plus cruel de ses ennuis
Luy semble une felicité,
Et ne sçauroit jamais vouloir
Qu’un autre œil le face douloir.
 
Un grand rocher qui a le doz
Et les pieds tousjours outragez,
Ores des vents, ores des flots
Contre les rives enragez,
N’est point si ferme que mon cœur
Sous l’orage d’une rigueur :
 
Car luy, de plus en plus aimant
Les beaux yeux qui l’ont en-reté,
Semble du tout au diamant,
Qui pour garder sa fermeté
Se rompt plustost sous le marteau,
Que se voir tailler de nouveau.
 
Ainsi ne l’or qui peut tenter,
Ny grace, beauté, ny maintien,
Ne sçauroit dans mon cœur enter
Un autre portrait que le tien,
Et plustost il mourroit d’ennuy,
Que d’en souffrir un autre en luy.
 
Il ne faut donc, pour empescher
Qu’une autre dame en ait sa part,
L’environner d’un grand rocher,
Ou d’une fossé, ou d’un rempart :
Amour te l’a si bien conquis,
Que plus il ne peut estre acquis.
 
Chanson, les estoiles seront
La nuict sans les cieux allumer,
Et plustost les vents cesseront
De tempester dessus la mer,
Que de ses yeux la cruauté
Puisse amoindrir ma loyauté.
Alas, I’d never have thought
(my Lady, you who cause my languishing)
To see repaid in this way
My service with severity,
And that instead of coming to my aid
Your cruelty would have done me to death.
 
If, fine and attractive, I had perceived
When first I saw you
The wrongs which I have since received
From loving too faithfully,
My heart, which had lived free,
Would not have been to quickly overcome.
 
But you promised with your eyes
Which came only to deceive me
To give me still better
Than my heart could hope to have;
Then as if envious of my happiness
They transformed my comfort to nothing.
 
As soon as I saw their beauty,
Love forced me through desire
To make my fidelity subject
To the rule of their pleasure,
And shot from their glance
The first dart into my heart.
 
It was, my Lady, your fair welcome
Which to make me happy
Opened for me, with the key of your eyes,
The paradise of lovers;
Made a slave in so fair a place,
Instead of a man I became a god.
 
So happily that, no longer being my own
But belonging to the eyes which had struck me,
My heart as pledge of my faithfulness
I abandoned to my conqueror,
Where as a serf so sweetly it rests
That any other [kind of] freedom displeases it.
 
And although it suffers night and day
So many a lover’s reverse,
The cruellest of its pains
Seems to it bliss,
And it can never wish
That any other eyes should make it unhappy.
 
A great rock whose back
And feet are always struck
Now by winds, now by waves
Furiously against the banks,
Is not so firm as my heart
Beneath the storm of severity:
 
For he, loving more and more
The fair eyes which have netted him,
Seems entirely like the Diamond
Which to maintain its firmness
Would rather break beneath the hammer
Than be cut anew.
 
Thus, neither gold which can tempt
Nor grace, beauty and bearing
Can place in my heart
Any other picture but your own,
And rather would it die of its troubles
Than suffer any other [picture] in it.
 
It is not necessary to prevent
Another Lady from having part of it
By encircling it with a great stone [wall]
Or a ditch or rampart;
Love has conquered it so well for you
That it can no longer be bought.
 
My song, the stars will light
The night without the heavens,
And sooner will the winds cease
Storming over the sea,
Than the cruelty of her eyes
Can lessen my fidelity.
 

 

 
 
 
 
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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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