Sonnet 158

Standard
En m’abusant je me trompe les yeux,
Aimant l’objet d’une figure vaine.
O nouveauté d’une cruelle peine !
O fier destin ! ô malice des Cieux !
 
Faut-il que moy de moy-mesme envieux,
Pour aimer trop les eaux d’une fonteine,
Que ma raison par les sens incertaine
Cuide en faillant son mal estre son mieux ?
 
Donques faut-il que le vain de ma face
De membre à membre aneantir me face,
Comme une cire aux raiz de la chaleur ?
 
Ainsi pleuroit l’amoureux Cephiside,
Quand il sentit dessus le bord humide
De son beau sang naistre une belle fleur.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                           In deceiving me my eyes are mistaken,
                                                                           Loving the substance of an empty image.
                                                                           O the novelty of this cruel pain!
                                                                           O proud destiny! O malevolence of heaven!
 
                                                                           Must it be, being in love with myself
                                                                           From loving too much the waters of a spring,
                                                                           That my reason, through my senses uncertain,
                                                                           Should believe wrongly that its own harm is what’s best for it?
 
                                                                           And so, must the empty nothing of my appearance
                                                                           Make me disappear completely, limb by limb,
                                                                           Like wax in the rays of the [sun’s] heat?
 
                                                                           Thus did Narcissus weep, in love,
                                                                           When he saw on the moist bank
                                                                           Created from his fair blood a beautiful flower.

 

 

‘Cephisides’ (line 12) is a classical form, ‘son of Cephisus’ – we’ve met Alcides, son of Alceus, elsewhere as a name for Hercules. The river-god Cephisus was father of Narcissus.
 
Whenever Ronsard resorts to two lines of pretty ordinary exclamations (line 3-4), there’s usually a problem or a lack of inspiration. And this is no different: I find it hard to get excited about this sonnet … However, though Ronsard re-worked the poem a fair bit, those two lines remained untouched!  Here is Blanchemain’s version complete:
 
 
 
Que lâchement vous me trompez, mes yeux,
Enamourés d’une figure vaine !
O nouveauté d’une cruelle peine !
O fier Destin ! ô malice des Cieux !
 
Faut-il que moy, de moy-mesme envieux,
Pour aimer trop les eaux d’une fontaine,
Je brûle après une image incertaine
Qui pour ma mort m’accompagne en tous lieux ;
 
Et quoi ! faut-il que le vain de ma face
De membre en membre aneantir me face,
Comme une cire aux raiz de la chaleur !
 
Ainsi pleuroit l’amoureux Cephiside,
Quand il sentit, dessus le bord humide,
De son beau sang naistre une belle fleur.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            How despicably you deceive me, my eyes,
                                                                            Enamoured of an empty image!
                                                                            O the novelty of this cruel pain!
                                                                            O proud destiny! O malevolence of heaven!
 
                                                                            Must I, being in love with myself
                                                                            From loving too much the waters of a spring,
                                                                            I burn after a wavering image
                                                                            Which to cause my death accompanies me everywhere;
 
                                                                            What then? Must the empty nothing of my appearance
                                                                            Make me disappear completely, limb by limb,
                                                                            Like wax in the rays of the [sun’s] heat?
 
                                                                            Thus did Narcissus weep, in love,
                                                                            When he saw on the moist bank
                                                                            Created from his fair blood a beautiful flower.

 

 

 
 
 
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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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