Doncques pour trop aimer il faut que je trespasse,
La mort de mon amour sera doncq le loyer ?
« L’homme est bien mal-heureux qui se veut employer
« En servant, meriter d’une ingrate la grace :
Mais je te pri’ dy moy, que veux-tu que je face ?
Quelle preuve veux-tu afin de te ployer ?
Las ! cruelle, veux-tu que je m’aille noyer ?
Ou que de ma main propre (helas) je me déface ?
Es-tu quelque Busire, ou Cacus inhumain,
Pour te souler ainsi du pauvre sang humain ?
Fiere, ne crains-tu point Nemesis la Deesse,
Qui te demandera mon sang versé à tort ?
Ne crains-tu point des Sœurs la troupe vengeresse,
Qui puniront là bas ton crime apres la mort ?
So, from loving too much I must die;
The death of my love will be, then, the down-payment?
“That man is truly unfortunate who wishes to be employed
As a servant to deserve thanks from an ungrateful woman.”
But I ask you, tell me what you want me to do?
What proof do you want to make you yield?
Alas, cruel one, do you want me to drown myself?
Or with my own hand (alas) to destroy myself?
Are you some Busiris or inhuman Cacus
To glut yourself thus on poor human blood?
Proud one, do you not fear Nemesis, the goddess
Who will want recompense from you for my blood, wrongfully spilled?
Do you not fear the Sisters of the avenging band
Who will punish your crime down below after death?
One of Ronsard’s sonnets in longer 12-syllable lines. And some appropriately classical allusions to go with the high-flown lines. Busiris and Cacus are both, of course, inhuman killers: Busiris an Egyptian who killed all his guests (a particularly terrible act, transgressing the rules of hospitality which were very important to Greeks), and Cacus was a cannibal-monster who lived on human flesh (‘Cacus’ is Greek for ‘bad’ or ‘evil’). The two are, incidentally, linked also by both being victims of an avenging Heracles. The ‘Sisters of the avenging band’ are of course the Furies who pursued wrongdoers unremittingly, as for instance Orestes after the murder of Clytemnestra (in Eumenides (=Furies), the final instalment of the Oresteia by Aeschylus).