To the Queen of France, Mary Stuart (Sonnets diverses 5)

A la Royne de France, Marie Stuard
L’Angleterre et l’Escosse, et la Françoise terre,
Les deux ceintes de mer, et l’autre de montaignes,
Autour de ton berceau, ainsi que trois compaignes,
Le jour que tu nasquis eurent une grand’ guerre.
Le France te vouloit, l’Escosse et l’Angleterre
Te demandoient aussi, et semble que tu daignes
Favoriser la France, et que tu t’accompaignes
D’elle qui ton beau chef de ses villes enserre.
De ces trois le debat vint devant Jupiter,
Qui, juste, ne voulant ces trois sœurs depiter,
Par sentence ordonna, pour appaiser leur noise,
Que tu serois trois mois la Royne des Anglois,
Et trois mois ensuivant Royne des Escossois,
Et six mois Royne apres de la terre Françoise.
                                                                            England and Scotland, and the land of France,
                                                                            Two of them enclosed by the sea, the other by mountains,
                                                                            Around your cradle like three old campaigners
                                                                            Fought a great battle on the day you were born.
                                                                            France wanted you, England and Scotland
                                                                            Demanded you too, and thought you deigned
                                                                            To favour France, and would take into your company
                                                                            That which protected your fair head with its towns.
                                                                            The argument between these three came before Jupiter
                                                                            Who, being just and not wanting to vex the three sisters,
                                                                            Gave his judgement to calm their row:
                                                                            That you should be three months Queen of the English.
                                                                            The next three months Queen of the Scots,
                                                                            And the six months after Queen of France’s lands.



Here’s the ‘Auld alliance’ seen from the other side – Mary of course came to Scotland with French supporters and troops, and I recall one of Scott’s Border Ballads being about ‘the Queen’s Maries’ (four ladies called Marie, not Mary!).  More French than Scottish in many ways, Mary is often commemorated around Scotland in oddly-French place-names (Beauly, which was of course Beau-lieu, a ‘pretty place’, for instance). Despite Ronsard’s flattery she never managed to be Queen of England, of course, and there is perhaps an argument that England was hardly asking for her either 🙂

[This poem is collected by Marty-Laveaux in an Autre recueil de Sonnets, another of the recueils de pièces retranchées; Blanchemain prints it in the rather more handily-titled Sonnets diverses. I’m cataloguing it as a sonnet diverse.]





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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