Mascarades 12

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This is another of Ronsard’s poems to be recited by two singers, alternately; or rather, as he specifies, two ‘players of the lyre’.

I
Le Soleil et nostre Roy
Sont semblables de puissance,
L’un gouverne dessous soy
Le Ciel et l’autre la France.
 
II
L’un du Ciel tient le milieu,
Des Astres clairté premiere ;
Et l’autre comme un grand Dieu
Aux terres donne lumiere.
 
I
L’un n’est jamais offensé
D’orages ny de tempeste :
L’obscur est tousjours percé
Des beaux rayons de sa teste.
 
II
L’autre a tousjours combatu
Les guerres et les envies
Et fait sentir sa vertu
Aux puissances ennemies.
 
I
L’un est autheur de la paix
Chassant le discord du monde,
Illustrant de ses beaux rais
La terre, le ciel et l’onde.
 
II
Et l’autre ayant du discord
La puissance rencontrée,
A mis les guerres à mort,
Et la paix en sa contrée.
 
I
Tout Astre prend du Soleil
Sa lumiere tant soit haute :
Car c’est l’Astre nompareil
Liberal sans avoir faute.
 
II
Du Roy vient force et vigueur
Honneur et grandeur royale,
Et tout homme de bon cœur
Cognoist sa main liberale.
 
I
Le Soleil est couronné
De feux qu’en terre il nous darde :
Et tout Astre bien tourné
Nostre bon Prince regarde
 
II
 De nostre Roy la grandeur
Pareil au Soleil ressemble,
Qui jette plus de splendeur
Que les estoiles ensemble.
 
I
Bref le Soleil esclairant
Par tout, qui point ne repose,
De Charles n’est differant
Seulement que d’une chose.
 
II
C’est que le Soleil mourra
Apres quelque temps d’espace,
Et Charles au Ciel ira
Du Soleil prendre la place.
 
The Sun and our King
Are similar in power,
The one governs beneath himself
The Heavens, and the other France.
 
 
The one has the midst of heaven,
The brightest of the stars,
And the other like a great god
Gives light to the earth.
 
 
The one is never struck
By storms or tempests,
The darkness is always pierced
By the fair rays of his head;
 
 
The other has always fought
War and Envy
And made his virtue known
To hostile powers.
 
 
The one is author of peace,
Chasing discord from the world,
Brightening with his fair rays
Earth, heaven and sea;
 
 
And the other, having encountered
The power of discord,
Has put wars to death
And peace in his country.
 
 
Every star takes from the Sun
His light, however bright it is,
For he is the unequalled Star,
Liberal without fault;
 
 
From the King comes force and strength,
Honour and royal grandeur,
And every man with a good heart
Knows his liberal hand.
 
 
The Sun is crowned
With fires which he darts at us on earth,
And every finely-turned Star
Watches our good Prince;
 
 
The greatness of our King
Seems equal to the Sun
Who casts more splendour
Than the stars together
 
 
In short, the Sun shining its light
Everywhere, and never resting,
Is no different from Charles
Except only in one thing:
 
 
Which is, that the Sun will die
After some time of space,
And Charles will go to Heaven
To take the Sun’s place.
 
Oddly, the sun dies ‘after some time of space’ rather than ‘after some space of time’ – for Ronsard, it’s driven by the scansion, but I’ve left the odd form in the English version as well; if French readers (perhaps) trip over their version, why shouldn’t English readers too? 🙂
 
Blanchemain’s version has some changes in the penultimate pair of stanzas:
 
 
I
… Et tout astre bien-tourné
Pour son guide le regarde
 
II
De notre Roy la bonté
Mille grand seigneurs assemble,
Qui jettent plus de clarté
Que les estoiles ensemble.
 
 
                                                              … And every finely-turned Star
                                                              Watches him as its guide;
 
 
                                                              The goodness of our King
                                                              Assembles a thousand great Lords
                                                              Who cast more light
                                                              Than the stars together.
 
 
 
 
 
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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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