Another satisfying arc to the poem, but why the switch from 3rd to 2nd person halfway through? Odd, though far from unusual in Ronsard! Only minor variants from the Blanchemain version: the very opening, “Puissé-je avoir ceste fere aussi vive …” (‘Oh that I might have this wild animal as alive …’); and in lines 12-13 he is “comme amy de ton amour touché / Du fer cruel qu’Amour m’a décoché”. That could be translated either with the two clauses in juxtaposition – – ‘like a lover, wounded by your love, / By the cruel weapon which Love loosed on me’ – – but if we prefer to enjamb the lines and make a proper sentence out of it, we have something along the lines of ”as one who loves being in love with you, wounded by the cruel weapon …’ (and contrariwise, the Marty-Laveaux version can be read with the verbs juxtaposed as ‘as one who loves being in love with you, wounded and struck down by the blow …’) Though that second option makes sense, context suggests the first version. Muret reminds us that Ronsard is alluding to a well-known passage in Ovid’s metamorphoses in the sestet: in Dryden’s translation, Apollo calls to Daphne Stay Nymph, he cry’d, I follow, not a foe. Thus from the lyon trips the trembling doe; Thus from the wolf the frighten’d lamb removes, And, from pursuing faulcons, fearful doves; Thou shunn’st a God, and shunn’st a God, that loves. He adds that the opening two lines are adapted from Pietro Bembo; Ronsard’s poem however goes off in a different direction thereafter. Bembo’s poem is below; my translation is again approximate.
La fera che scolpita nel cor tengo, Così l’avess’ io viva entro le braccia: Fuggì sì leve, ch’io perdei la traccia, Né freno il corso, né la sete spengo. Anzo così tra due vivo e sostengo L’anima forsennata, che procaccia Far d’una tigre sciolta preda in caccia, Traendo me, che seguir lei convengo. E so ch’io movo indarno, o penser casso, E perdo inutilmente il dolce tempo De la mia vita, che giamai non torna. Ben devrei ricovrarmi, or ch’i’ m’attempo Et ho forse vicin l’ultimo passo: Ma piè mosso dal ciel nulla distorna. The wild beast which I keep engraved in my heart, Oh that I thus had her alive within my arms; She flees so lightly that I lose the track, Nor slow my course nor sate my thirst. Yet thus between the two I live and my soul Remains crazed, as it tries To make a free-roaming tigress its prey in the hunt, Dragging me along as I agree to pursue her. And I know I pursue in vain, my thoughts shattered, And uselessly waste the sweet time Of my life, which will never return. I must indeed recover, or at least attempt it, And I am perhaps close to that last step; But a step away from heaven can never turn back.