Ode 4:30

Celuy qui n’ayme est malheureux,
Et malheureux est l’amoureux ;
Mais la misere la plus grande,
C’est quand l’amant (après avoir
En bien servant fait son devoir)
Ne peut avoir ce qu’il demande.
La race en amours ne sert rien,
Ne beauté, grace ne maintien ;
Sans honneur la Muse gist morte ;
Les amoureuses du jourd’huy,
En se vendant, ayment celuy
Qui le plus d’argent leur apporte.
Puisse mourir mechantement
Qui l’or ayma premierement !
Par luy le frere n’est pas frere,
Par luy le pere n’est pas père,
Par luy la sœur n’est pas sœur,
Et la mere n’est pas la mere.
Par luy la guerre et le discord,
Par luy les glaives et la mort,
Par luy viennent mille tristesses,
Et, qui pis est, nous recevons
La mort par luy, nous qui vivons
Amoureux d’avares maistresses.
He who loves not is unfortunate,
And unfortunate is he who loves:
But the greater misery
Is when the lover (after
Making his bow, serving his lady well)
Cannot have what he seeks.
In love, breeding is no use,
Nor beauty, grace or bearing.
Dishonoured, the muse lies dead;
The lovers of today,
Selling themselves, love him
Who brings them most money.
May he die disagreeably
Who loves gold first of all:
Because of him, a brother is not a brother,
Because of him, a father is not a father,
Because of him, a sister is not a sister,
And a mother not a mother.
Because of him come war and discord,
Because of him, swords and death,
Because of him, a thousand sad things,
And what is worse we gain
Death because of him, we who live
In love with greedy mistresses.


I’ve just been reading about Ronsard’s re-invention of his gentrified background; and this poem seems entirely appropriate for today. Subtly, in the second stanza, he implies that he has breeding, as well as that he’s not in this for the money. But of course that’s just tucked away; the main thrust of the poem is against greedy mistresses, and greed more generally. As alway, Ronsatd manages to be sententious without being dull.

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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