Sonnet 157

Standard
De la mielleuse et fielleuse pasture,
De qui le nom s’appelle trop aimer
Qui m’est et sucre et riagas amer,
Sans me saouler je pren ma nourriture.
 
Ce bel œil brun, qui force ma nature,
D’un jeusne tel me fait tant consumer,
Que je ne puis ma faim des-affamer
Qu’au seul regard d’une vaine peinture.
 
Plus je la voy, moins saouler je m’en puis :
Un vray Narcisse en misere je suis.
Hé qu’Amour est une cruelle chose !
 
Je cognoy bien qu’il me fera mourir,
Et si ne puis ma douleur secourir,
Tant j’ay sa peste en mes veines enclose.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            Of the honey-sweet, bitter-gall food
                                                                            Whose name is ‘loving too much’,
                                                                            Which is to me both sugar and bitter arsenic,
                                                                            I eat without being satisfied.
 
                                                                            That fair brown eye which overcomes my nature
                                                                            Feeds me so much of that kind of meal
                                                                            That I can no longer un-hunger my hunger
                                                                            Except only by looking at an empty picture.
 
                                                                            The more I see it, the less I can be satisfied;
                                                                            A true Narcissus in my wretchedness I am.
                                                                            Ah, how cruel a thing is Love!
 
                                                                            I fully understand that it will kill me,
                                                                            And yet I cannot help my sadness,
                                                                            So much of its poison is locked up in my veins.
 
 
 
The reference to Narcissus is, in contrast with the learned references of the last poem, nice and straightforward – as Narcissus gazed at his own reflection, so Ronsard gazes at his lady’s portrait – and no doubt there is a hint that he is in some sense reflected in her…  Those who have aview on the Academy’s attempts to keep the French language pure will also have a view on Ronsard’s invention of the word ‘to un-hunger’!
 
Only minor differences in the earlier Blanchemain version, the initial quatrains becoming:
 
 
De la mielleuse et fielleuse pasture
Dont le surnom s’appelle trop aimer,
Qui m’est et sucre et riagas amer,
Sans me saouler je pren ma nourriture :
 
Car ce bel œil qui force ma nature
D’un tel jeuner m’a tant fait consumer,
Que je ne puis ma faim des-affamer
Qu’au seul regard d’une vaine peinture.
 
 
 
                                                                            Of the honey-sweet, bitter-gall food
                                                                            Whose surname is ‘loving too much’,
                                                                            Which is to me both sugar and bitter arsenic,
                                                                            I eat without being satisfied.
 
                                                                            For that fair eye which overcomes my nature
                                                                            Has fed me so much of that kind of meal
                                                                            That I can no longer un-hunger my hunger
                                                                            Except only by looking at an empty picture.

 

There is a further variant:

 

De cette douce et fielleuse pasture
Dont le surnom s’appelle trop aimer,
Qui m’est et sucre et riagas amer,
Sans me saouler je pren ma nourriture :
 
Car ce bel œil qui force ma nature
D’un si long jeun m’a tant fait épasmer,
Que je ne puis ma faim des-affamer
Qu’au seul regard d’une vaine peinture.
 
Plus je la voy, moins saouler je m’en puis :
Un vray Narcisse en misere je suis.
Hé qu’Amour est une cruelle chose !
 
Je cognoy bien qu’il me fera mourir,
Et si ne puis a mon mal secourir,
Tant j’ay sa peste en mes veines enclose.

 
 
 
                                                                            Of that sweet, bitter-gall food
                                                                            Whose surname is ‘loving too much’,
                                                                            Which is to me both sugar and bitter arsenic,
                                                                            I eat without being satisfied.
 
                                                                            For that fair eye which overcomes my nature
                                                                            Has made me faint with so much of that kind of meal
                                                                            That I can no longer un-hunger my hunger
                                                                            Except only by looking at an empty picture.
 

 
                                                                            The more I see it, the less I can be satisfied;
                                                                            A true Narcissus in my wretchedness I am.
                                                                            Ah, how cruel a thing is Love!
 
                                                                            I fully understand that it will kill me,
                                                                            And yet I cannot help my illness,
                                                                            So much of its poison is locked up in my veins.
 
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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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