Sonnet 155

Standard
Comme le chaud au feste d’Erymanthe,
Ou sus Rhodope, ou sur quelque autre mont
Sur le printemps la froide neige fond
En eau qui fuit par les rochers coulante :
 
Ainsi tes yeux (soleil qui me tourmente)
Qui cire et neige à leur regard me font,
Frappant les miens, ja distillez les ont
En un ruisseau qui de mes pleurs s’augmente.
 
Herbes ne fleurs ne sejournent aupres,
Ains des Soucis, des Ifs et des Cypres :
Ny de crystal sa rive ne court pleine.
 
Les autres eaux par les prez vont roulant,
Mais ceste-ci par mon sein va coulant,
Qui sans tarir s’enfante de ma peine.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            As the heat at the summit of Erymanthus
                                                                            Or on Rhodope, or some other mountain
                                                                            In springtime melts the cold snow
                                                                            Into water which runs off through the rocks;
 
                                                                            So your eyes, the sun which torments me,
                                                                            Which melt me like wax and snow at their glance,
                                                                            Striking my own have already melted them
                                                                            Into a river which grows bigger with my tears.
 
                                                                            Plants and flowers do not live there,
                                                                            Except marigolds, yews and cypresses;
                                                                            Nor does their stream flow full of crystal water.
 
                                                                            Other streams roll through the meadows,
                                                                            But this one flows down my breast
                                                                            And without slowing is born of my pain.

 

 

Line 10 perhaps needs a word of explanation: marigolds are there because the word “souci” (marigold) also means ‘care’ or ‘worry’; yews and cypresses are associated with mourning. In the opening lines, Rhodope is just one of many classically Greek mountains snow-capped in winter, though in modern terms it is a Bulgarian mountain (still called Rhodope).
 
In the opening line the “feste d’Erymanthe” is the ‘summit of Erymanthus’. But it could just be the ‘festival of Erymanthus ‘ – perhaps the Adonia, centred in the Peloponnese and celebrated in the hot Greek late spring or summer? (Although the link between Erymanthus and the Adonia is tenuous: Erymanthus was Apollo’s son, and was blinded by Venus for spying on her love-making with the fair Adonis.) This, however, is far-fetched.
 
If we were in doubt, the earlier version of the poem more clearly presents the image of hot weather melting snow on a mountian; Erymanthus is the geographical location, in the mountains just south of Patras in the northern Peloponnese. Here’s Blanchemain’s text:
 
 
Comme le chaud, ou dedans Erymanthe,
Ou sus Rhodope, ou sur un autre mont,
En beau cristal le blanc des neiges fond
Par sa tiedeur lentement vehemente,
 
Ainsi tes yeux (éclair qui me tourmente)
Qui cire et neige à leur regard me font,
Touchant les miens, ja distillez les ont
En un ruisseau qui de mes pleurs s’augmente.
 
Herbes ne fleurs ne sejournent auprés,
Ains des soucis, des ifs et des cyprés,
Ny d’un vert gai sa rive n’est point pleine.
 
Les autres eaux par les prez vont roulant,
Mais ceste-cy par mon sein va coulant,
Qui nuit et jour s’enfle et bruit de ma peine.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            As the heat within Erymanthus
                                                                            Or on Rhodope, or on another mountain
                                                                            Into fair crystal [streams] melts the white of the snow
                                                                            With its slow but insistent warmth,
 
                                                                            So your eyes, whose sparkle torments me,
                                                                            Which melt me like wax and snow at their glance,
                                                                            Touching my own have already melted them
                                                                            Into a river which grows bigger with my tears.
 
                                                                            Plants and flowers do not live there,
                                                                            But rather marigolds, yews and cypresses;
                                                                            Nor is the bank filled with gay greenery.
 
                                                                            Other streams roll through the meadows,
                                                                            But this one flows down my breast
                                                                            Which night and day swells and murmurs with my pain.

 

 

 
 
 
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