Helen 2:39


Time for some more sonnets, I think – I’m beginning to miss their strict form!


Yeux qui versez en l’ame ainsi que deux Planettes,
Un esprit qui pourroit ressusciter les morts,
Je sçay dequoy sont faits tous les membres du corps,
Mais je ne puis sçavoir quelle chose vous estes.
Vous n’estes sang ny chair, et toutefois vous faites
Des miracles en moy, tant vos regards sont forts,
Si bien qu’en foudroyant les miens par le dehors,
Dedans vous me tuez de cent mille sagettes.
Yeux la forge d’Amour, Amour n’a point de traits
Que les poignans esclairs qui sortent de vos rais,
Dont le moindre à l’instant toute l’ame me sonde.
Je suis quand je les sens de merveille ravy :
Quand je ne les sens plus, à l’heure je ne vy,
Ayant en moy l’effet qu’a le Soleil au monde.
                                                                            You eyes, which pour into my soul, like two stars,
                                                                            A spirit which could revive the dead,
                                                                            I know what every part of the body is made of,
                                                                            But I cannot understand what thing you are.
                                                                            You are not flesh and blood, for you perform
                                                                            Miracles in me, so powerful are your glances;
                                                                            And while you strike my own with lightning outside,
                                                                            Inside you kill me with a hundred thousand arrows.
                                                                            You eyes are the forge of Love. Love has no weapons
                                                                            But the sharp sparks which fly from your rays,
                                                                            The smallest of which penetrates right to my soul instantly.
                                                                            As I feel them, I am seized by wonder;
                                                                            When I no longer feel them, at that moment I stop living,
                                                                            As they have in me the effect that the sun has on the world.



I’ve translated ‘planets’ as stars in line 1 – in this period the planets were thought of as moving stars, and anyway were visible only as points of light like stars; these days ‘planets’ mean something far more corporeal to us!
Blanchemain’s version has only minor variants: in line 6 “Des miracles en moy, par vos regards si forts” (… ‘with your glances so powerful’); and in the last couplet,
Quand je ne les sens plus en mon corps je ne vy :
Ils ont en moy l’effet qu’a le Soleil au monde.
                                                                            When I no longer feel them in my body I stop living;
                                                                            They have in me the effect that the sun has on the world.
He does however offer in a footnote evidence of a more substantive re-think of the whole final tercet:
Sans les sentir je meurs; soudain je suis refait
Quand je les sens au cœur, ayans le mesme effect
En moy, par leur chaleur, qu’a le soleil au monde.
                                                                            Without them, I die; suddenly I am re-made
                                                                            When I feel them in my heart, as they have the same effect
                                                                            In me, with their heat, as the sun has on the world.



 [Incidentally, this is the first poem I’ve yet posted which begins with a ‘Y’ so I thought I’d make the translation similarly start with a ‘Y’…!]

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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