Sonnet 151

Que toute chose en ce monde se muë,
Soit desormais Amour soulé de pleurs,
Des chesnes durs puissent naistre les fleurs,
Au choc des vents l’eau ne soit plus émuë :
Le miel d’un roc contre nature suë,
Soyent du printemps semblables les couleurs,
L’esté soit froid, l’hyver plein de chaleurs,
Pleine de vents ne s’enfle plus la nuë :
Tout soit changé, puis que le nœud si fort
Qui m’estraignoit, et que la seule mort
Devoit trancher, elle a voulu desfaire.
Pourquoy d’Amour mesprises-tu la loy ?
Pourquoy fais-tu ce qui ne se peut faire ?
Pourquoy romps-tu si faussement ta foy ?
                                                                            Oh, that everything in this world could change,
                                                                            That Love could from now on be satisfied with tears,
                                                                            Hard oaks could put forth flowers,
                                                                            And the sea no longer driven by the winds’ impulse;
                                                                            Honey – against nature – be exuded by a rock,
                                                                            All the colours of spring be the same,
                                                                            The summer cold, the winter full of warmth,
                                                                            Clouds filled by winds no longer swell up;
                                                                            That all could be different, since that strong knot
                                                                            Which chokes me and which death alone
                                                                            Should cut, she tried to undo.
                                                                            Why do you scorn Love’s law?
                                                                            Why are you doing that which cannot be done?
                                                                            Why are you so falsely breaking your word?




Is it just me, or is there a sense of a new beginning here? Maybe I’m influenced by having paused at the ‘magic number’ 150 – nothing like that would have been in Ronsard’s mind as the structure & contents of the book shifted over time…
The earlier Blanchemain version differs in detail:  line 5 is “Du cœur des rocs le ciel degoutte et sue” (‘Heaven drop and be exuded from the heart of rocks’); and line 11 ends “… ma dame veut desfaire” (‘… my lady tries to undo’).
For those interested in sources, this poem closely mirrors one of Pietro Bembo’s – that’s Cardinal Pietro Bembo, though he was a humanist scholar first…!  His sonnet 39 goes as follows (my ‘translation’ is more like an ‘approximation’ since I’ve never studied Italian and cannot guarantee the detail!):
Correte fiumi a le vostre alte fonti,
Onde al soffiar de’ venti or vi fermate,
Abeti e faggi il mar profondo amate,
Umidi pesce e voi gli alpestri monti.
Nè si porti dipinta ne le fronti
Alma pensieri e voglie innamorate :
Ardendo ‘l verno agghiacci omai la state,
E’l Sol là oltre, ond’ alza, chini e smonti.
Cosa non vada più come solea :
Poi che quel nodo è sciolto, ond’ io fui preso ;
Ch’ altro che morte scioglier non devea.
Dolce mio stato chi mi t’ ha conteso ?
Com’ esser può quel, ch’ esser non potea ?
O cielo, o terra : e so ch’ io sono inteso.
                                                                            Run, streams, back to your original springs;
                                                                            Waves, stand still at the blowing of the winds;
                                                                            Firs and beeches, love the deep sea;
                                                                            And you, wet fish, [love] the alpine mountains.
                                                                            Do not carry pictured on your brows
                                                                            Dear thoughts and wishes of love;
                                                                            Burning winter, now stand frozen
                                                                            And Sun, sink and dismount there where you rise.
                                                                            Things no longer go as they used to,
                                                                            Now that this knot is loosed, in which I was caught,
                                                                            Which nothing other than death should break.
                                                                            My sweet being, who has put us in conflict?
                                                                            How can that be, which could not be?
                                                                            O heaven, o earth! I know I am understood.

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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