Chanson – Amours 2:66a

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At the end of Amours 2 (Marie) Ronsard places a cluster of chansons and other lyrics. Time to have a look at them!

Quand j’estois libre, ains qu’une amour nouvelle
Ne se fut prise en ma tendre moëlle,  
   Je vivois bien-heureux,
Comme à l’envy les plus accortes filles
Se travailloyent par leurs flammes gentilles,  
   De me rendre amoureux. 
 
Mais tout ainsi qu’un beau Poulain farouche,
Qui n’a masché le frein dedans la bouche,  
   Va seulet escarté,
N’ayant souci sinon d’un pied superbe
A mille bonds fouler les fleurs et l’herbe,  
   Vivant en liberté : 
 
Ores il court le long d’un beau rivage,
Ores il erre en quelque bois sauvage  
   Fuyant de sault en sault :
De toutes parts les Poutres hanissantes
Luy font l’amour pour néant blandissantes,  
   A luy qui ne s’en chaut. 
 
Ainsi j’allois desdaignant les pucelles,
Qu’on estimoit en beauté les plus belles,  
   Sans respondre à leur vueil :
Lors je vivois amoureux de moy-mesme,
Content et gay, sans porter couleur blesme  
   Ny les larmes à l’œil. 
 
J’avois escrit au plus haut de la face
Avec l’honneur une agreable audace  
   Plaine d’un franc desir :
Avec le pied marchoit ma fantaisie
Où je voulois sans peur ne jalousie  
   Seigneur de mon plaisir. 
 
Mais aussi tost que par mauvais desastre
Je vey ton sein blanchissant comme albastre,  
   Et tes yeux deux soleils,
Tes beaux cheveux espanchez par ondées,
Et les beaux lis de tes lévres bordées  
   De cent œillets vermeils : 
 
Incontinent j’appris que c’est service.
La liberté de mon ame nourrice,  
   S’eschappa loin de moy :
Dedans tes rets ma premiere franchise
Pour obeïr à ton bel œil, fut prise  
   Esclave sous ta loy. 
 
Tu mis cruelle en signe de conqueste,
Comme veinqueur tes deux pieds sur ma teste,  
   Et du front m’a osté
L’honneur, la honte, et l’audace première,
Acouhardant mon ame prisonniere,  
   Serve à ta volonté. 
 
Vengeant d’un coup mille fautes commises,
Et les beautez qu’à grand tort j’avois mises  
   Par-avant à mespris,
Qui me prioyent en lieu que je te prie :
Mais d’autant plus que merci je te crie,  
   Tu es sourde à mes cris, 
 
Et ne respons non plus que la fontaine
Qui de Narcis mira la forme vaine,  
   En vengeant à son bord
Mille beautez des Nymphes amoureuses,
Que cest enfant par mines desdaigneuses  
   Avoit mises à mort.
When I was free, and a novel love
Had not been caught in my tender marrow,
   I lived happily;
How the most attractive girls competitively
Worked hard with their gentle flames
   To make me fall in love!
 
But just as a handsome wild colt
Which has not chewed the curb in his mouth
   Wanders far and wide by himself,
Having no care except with his proud foot
To trample with a thousand leaps the flowers and grass,
   Living in liberty;
 
Sometimes he runs along a fair riverbank,
Sometimes he wanders in some wild wood
   Fleeing with leap upon leap;
And on every side whinnying fillies
Make love to him, flattering him for nothing,
   He who cares nothing for it.
 
Just so I used to disdain the maids
That everyone thought fairest of the fair,
   Without responding to their wishes;
Then, I was in love with myself,
Happy and joyful, not wearing this pale colour
   Nor with tears in my eyes.
 
I had written on my forehead,
Together with honour, a pleasant audacity
Filled with frank desire;
My imagination advanced with my feet
Wherever I wanted, without fear or jealousy,
The master of my pleasure.
 
But as soon as through terrible misfortune
I saw your breast white as alabaster
   And your eyes, twin suns,
Your fine hair pouring down in waves,
And the fair lilies of your lips bordered
   With a hundred pink carnations,
 
Straightway I learned what it is to be in service,
And liberty, the nurse of my soul,
   Fled far from me;
Within your nets my earlier freedom
Was caught, so that it obeyed your fair eyes,
   A slave beneath your law.
 
As a sign of your conquest you cruelly placed
Your two feet on my head, as conqueror,
   And took from my brow
Honour, shame, and my earlier boldness
Rendering my imprisoned soul a coward,
   Servant to your desires.
 
Avenging with one blow a thousand faults I’d committed
And the beauties whom, greatly in the wrong, I had held
Before this in scorn
Who had begged me, instead now I beg you.
But as often as I beg for mercy from you,
   You are deaf to my cries
 
And respond no more than the fountain
Which showed Narcissus the image of his shape
   Taking revenge on its bank
For the thousand beauteous nymphs in love
Which that boy, with his scornful manner,
   Had put to death.
 
 
As with so many of Ronsard’s lyrics, the fluency and apparent inevitability of his lines is amazing. It seems so easy, so natural – and yet it makes perfect poetry, it rhymes and scans as if by chance. Wonderful.
 
But as we know, that’s the result of hard work & lots of re-working. Some variants in Blanchemain’s version to demonstrate the process.  The opening is different, there is an extra stanza, one of the existing stanzas is largely different, and there are plenty of other minor variants.  Easiest to see the whole thing again:
 
Quand j’estois libre, ains que l’amour cruelle
Ne fust esprise encore en ma mouelle,  
   Je vivois bien-heureux,
Comme à l’envy les plus accortes filles
Se travailloyent par leurs flammes gentilles,  
   De me rendre amoureux. 
 
Mais tout ainsi qu’un beau Poulain farouche,
Qui n’a masché le frein dedans la bouche,  
   Va seulet escarté,
N’ayant souci sinon d’un pied superbe
A mille bonds fouler les fleurs et l’herbe,  
   Vivant en liberté : 
 
Ores il court le long d’un beau rivage,
Ores il erre en quelque bois sauvage  
   Ou sur quelque mont haut ;
De toutes parts les Poutres hanissantes
Luy font l’amour pour néant blandissantes,  
   A luy qui ne s’en chaut. 
 
Ainsi j’allois desdaignant les pucelles,
Qu’on estimoit en beauté les plus belles,  
   Sans respondre à leur vueil :
Lors je vivois amoureux de moy-mesme,
Content et gay, sans porter couleur blesme  
   Ny les larmes à l’œil. 
 
J’avois escrit au plus haut de la face
Avec l’honneur une agreable audace  
   Plaine d’un franc desir :
Avec le pied marchoit ma fantaisie
De ça, de la, sans peur ne jalousie,
   Vivant de mon plaisir.
 
Mais aussi tost que par mauvais desastre
Je vey ton sein blanchissant comme albastre,  
   Et tes yeux deux soleils,
Tes beaux cheveux espanchez par ondées,
Et les beaux lis de tes lévres bordées  
   De cent œillets vermeils : 
 
Incontinent j’appris que c’est service.
La liberté, de ma vie nourrice,  
   Fuit ton œil felon
Comme la nue en temps serein poussée
Fuit à grands pas l’haleine courroucée  
   De l’oursal Aquilon.
 
[Et lors tu mis mes deux mains à la chaisne
Mon col au cep et mon cœur à la gesne,
   N’ayant de moy pitié,
Non plus, helas ! qu’un outrageux corsaire,
(O fier Destin) n’a pitié d’un forcère  
   A la chaisne lié.]
 
Tu mis apres en signe de conqueste,
Comme veinqueur tes deux pieds sur ma teste,  
   Et du front m’a osté
L’honneur, la honte, et l’audace première,
Acouhardant mon ame prisonniere,  
   Serve à ta volonté. 
 
Vengeant d’un coup mille fautes commises,
Et les beautez qu’à grand tort j’avois mises  
   Par-avant à mespris,
Qui me prioyent en lieu que je te prie :
Mais d’autant plus que merci je te crie,  
   Tu es sourde à mes cris, 
 
Et ne respons non plus que la fontaine
Qui de Narcis mira la forme vaine,  
   Vengeant dessus son bord
Mille beautez des Nymphes amoureuses,
Que cest enfant par mines desdaigneuses  
   Avoit mises à mort.
When I was free,and cruel love
Had not yet taken hold in my marrow,
   I lived happily;
How the most attractive girls competitively
Worked hard with their gentle flames
   To make me fall in love!
 
But just as a handsome wild colt
Which has not chewed the curb in his mouth
   Wanders far and wide by himself,
Having no care except with his proud foot
To trample with a thousand leaps the flowers and grass,
   Living in liberty;
 
Sometimes he runs along a fair riverbank,
Sometimes he wanders in some wild wood
   Or on some high mountain;
And on every side whinnying fillies
Make love to him, flattering him for nothing,
   He who cares nothing for it.
 
Just so I used to disdain the maids
That everyone thought fairest of the fair,
   Without responding to their wishes;
Then, I was in love with myself,
Happy and joyful, not wearing that pale colour
   Nor with tears in my eyes.
 
I had written on my forehead,
Together with honour, a pleasant audacity
Filled with frank desire;
My imagination advanced with my feet
Wherever I wanted, without fear or jealousy,
The master of my pleasure.
 
But as soon as through terrible misfortune
I saw your breast white as alabaster
   And your eyes, twin suns,
Your fine hair pouring down in waves,
And the fair lilies of your lips bordered
   With a hundred pink carnations,
 
 Straightway I learned what it is to be in service,
Andliberty, the nurse of my life,
   Fled your treacherous eye
As a cloud in clear weather
Flees at great pace when pushed by the angry breath
   Of polar Aquilo.
 
[And then you put my two hands to the chain,
My neck to the vine and my heart to shame,
Having no pity on me,
No more alas than a hostile corsair
Has pity – o proud fate! – on a galley-slave
Bound with a chain.]
 
As a sign of your conquest you then placed
Your two feet on my head, as conqueror,
   And took from my brow
Honour, shame, and my earlier boldness
Rendering my imprisoned soul a coward,
   Servant to your desires.
 
Avenging with one blow a thousand faults I’d committed
And the beauties whom, greatly in the wrong, I had held
Before this in scorn
Who had begged me, instead now I beg you.
But as often as I beg for mercy from you,
   You are deaf to my cries
 
And respond no more than the fountain
Which showed Narcissus the image of his shape
   Taking revenge on its bank
For the thousand beauteous nymphs in love
Which that boy, with his scornful manner,
   Had put to death.
 
Just a few words about “l’oursal Aquilon” in the middle of the poem:  ‘oursal’ indicates ‘of the bear’ here indicating the Pole Star in the constellation of the Little Bear – which points north, where Aquilo, the north wind, blows from.  (Blanchemain puts the following stanza in [brackets] without explanation – this usually means it disappeared quite early on from the published editions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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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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