Chanson (Amours 2:49a)

Quand je te veux raconter mes douleurs,
Et de quel mal en te servant je meurs,
Et quelle fiebvre ard toute ma mouelle,
Ma voix tremblote, et ma langue chancelle,
Mon cœur se pasme, et le sang me tre-saut :
En mesme instant j’endure froid et chaut,
Sur mes genoux descend une gelee,
Jusqu’aux talons une sueur salée
De tout mon corps comme un fleuve se suit,
Et sur mes yeux nage une obscure nuit :
Tant seulement mes larmes abondantes
Sont les tesmoings de mes flames ardantes,
De mes souspirs et de mon long soucy,
Qui sans parler te demandent mercy.
                                                                         When I wish to tell you of my sadness,
                                                                         And the ills of which I am dying, serving you,
                                                                         And the fever which burns all my marrow,
                                                                         My voice trembles and my tongue staggers,
                                                                         My heart faints, and my blood leaps;
                                                                         At the same moment I endure both hot and cold,
                                                                         On my knees descends an icy-cold,
                                                                         A salty sweat flows all the way to my heels
                                                                         From my whole body like a river,
                                                                         And over my eyes swims a dark night;
                                                                         So that only my plentiful tears
                                                                         Are the witnesses of my passionate flame,
                                                                         My sighs and my long troubles,
                                                                         Which without speaking beg you for pity.
Here’s a novelty – a 14-line poem, but not a sonnet. Being in couplets, it doesn’t follow Ronsard’s ‘rules’ for a sonnet’s rhyme-scheme – but it is noteable that he still alternates couplets with masculine and feminine endings to ensure variety. Blanchemain’s version has only two variants: line 3 becomes “Et quel venin dessèche ma mouelle” (‘And the poison which dries up my marrow’); and in line 7, the icy cold “se fond” (‘melts’) over his knees.
No doubt one reason for this being cast in the form of a chanson, is that Ronsard is again developing his ideas from a Latin poem by Marullus, another of his epigrams (2.40) ‘to Neaera’:
Vesanos quotiens tibi furores
atque ignes paro, quos moves, referre
et quantus deus ossibus pererret,
qui me nocte die necat, Neaera,
et vox et sonus et parata verba
desunt tum mihi linguaque ipsa torpet
et vix sustineor genu labante :
maerent pectora perque membra passim
perque artus fluor it repente salsus
et diem subitae occupant tenebrae,
nec quicquam nisi lacrimae supersunt,
quae mutae quoque opem precantur unae.
                                                                         Whenever I am ready to tell you of the insane
                                                                         Passions and fires which you set in motion,
                                                                         And how great a god courses in my bones
                                                                         Killing me night and day, Neaera;
                                                                         Then, my voice, its sound, the words I prepared
                                                                         They all disappear, and my tongue grows numb
                                                                         And I can scarcely stand on my shaking knees;
                                                                         My breast grieves, and all through my limbs
                                                                         And veins the salty wetness unexpectedly rushes
                                                                         And sudden darkness fills the day;
                                                                         And nothing but tears remain
                                                                         Which mutely too beg for aid from my one lady.

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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