Amours retranch. 9

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Je vous envoye un bouquet que ma main
Vient de trier de ces fleurs épanies :
Qui ne les eust à ce vespre cueillies,
Cheutes à terre elles fussent demain.
 
Cela vous soit un exemple certain
Que vos beautez, bien qu’elles soient fleuries,
En peu de temps cherront toutes flaitries,
Et comme fleurs, periront tout soudain.
 
Le temps s’en va, le temps s’en va, ma Dame,
Las ! le temps non, mais nous nous en-allons,
Et tost serons estendus sous la lame:
 
Et des amours, desquelles nous parlons
Quand serons morts, n’en sera plus nouvelle :
Pour ce aymez-moy, ce pendant qu’estes belle.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            I send you a bouquet which my own hand
                                                                            Has just selected from those open blooms
                                                                            Which, had it not cut them this evening,
                                                                            Would have fallen to earth tomorrow.
 
                                                                            Let that be a clear example to you
                                                                            That your beauty, though in its flower now,
                                                                            In a short while will fall, withered,
                                                                            And like the flowers will perish all of a sudden.
 
                                                                            Time runs away, time runs away my Lady –
                                                                            Alas, not time but we ourselves run away
                                                                            And soon we’ll be stretched under a tombstone ;
 
                                                                            And of this love of which we are speaking
                                                                            When we are dead there will be no more telling.
                                                                            So, love me, while you are still beautiful.

 

 

 

There’s a bit of multiple-choice here, in line 11:  “des amours … n’en sera plus nouvelle” carries a range of possible meanings, most directly “it’ll be no longer new”, but that seems a bit obvious also. I also discarded ‘there’ll be no more news’ which is stretching it a bit. The version above is not quite what Ronsard says but perhaps nearer to what he means?
 
Blanchemain’s version has only on variant: in line 7 the much flatter “En peu de temps seront toutes flaitries” (‘ … will be withered’).
 

EDIT: A note from Steven Schwartzman leads me to modify the last line: “I checked Le Petit Robert, which at almost 3000 pages isn’t so petit, and found that the first definition for cependant is just ‘pendant’. Another definition is ‘tandis que’. Based on those two definitions, I would replace the “even though” of the English ranslation with ‘while’. It’s true that cependant went on to add a contradictory sense of ‘however’, but at the time Ronsard was writing, the original sense of the word would have predominated. It also better fits Ronsard’s carpe diem theme.”

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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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