Monthly Archives: January 2015

Chanson (Amours retranch. 47)

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Pourquoy tournez-vous voz yeux
       Gracieux
De moy quand voulez m’occire ?
Comme si n’aviez pouvoir
       Par me voir
D’un seul regard me destruire ?
 
Las ! vous le faites à fin
       Que ma fin
Ne me semblast bien-heureuse,
 Si j’allois en perissant
       Jouïssant
De vostre œillade amoureuse.
 
Mais quoy ? vous abusez fort,
       Cette mort,
Qui vous semble tant cruelle,
Ce m’est vrayment un bonheur
       Pour l’honneur
De vous, qui estes si belle.
 
 
 
 

                                                                           Why turn away your eyes,
                                                                                       My lady,
                                                                           From me when you wish to kill me?
                                                                           As if you had no power
                                                                                 In seeing me
                                                                           To destroy me with a glance.
 
                                                                           Alas, you do it so
                                                                                 That my end
                                                                           Should not seem fortunate to me,
                                                                           As I would die
                                                                                 Joyfully
                                                                           From your loving look.
 
                                                                           So what then? You very much misuse me.
                                                                                 This death
                                                                           Which seems to you so cruel
                                                                           To me is truly happiness
                                                                                 For your honour
                                                                           You who are so beautiful.
 
 
 
Only one variant to report: Blanchemain prints the slightly less-convinced “Me semble un gain de bon-heur” 3 lines from the end (‘To me seems an increase in happiness’)

 
 
 
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Chanson (Amours retranch. 38a)

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Plus tu connois que je brusle pour toy,
       Plus tu me fuis cruelle :
Plus tu connois que je vis en esmoy,
       Et plus tu m’es rebelle.
Te laisseray-je? Helas je suis trop tien,
       Mais je beniray l’heure
De mon trespas : au moins s’il te plaist bien
       Qu’en te servant je meure.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            The more you realise that I burn for you,
                                                                                  The more you avoid me cruelly;
                                                                            The more you realise that I live in agony
                                                                                  The more you rebel from me.
                                                                            Will I abandon you? Alas, I am too much yours
                                                                                   But I shall bless the hour
                                                                            Of my demise, at least if it pleases you
                                                                                   That I should die serving you.
 
 
 
Short & sweet – or rather, short and bitter!
 
Blanchemain’s version differs only in the punctuation of line 2, which he prints as “Plus tu me fuis, cruelle”  (‘The more you avoid me, cruel woman’)
 
 
 
 

Amours diverses: chanson 1 (12a)

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(Numbered as ‘chanson 1’, this comes after sonnet 12, hence the 12a numbering.)

Petite Nymfe folâtre,
Nymphette que j’idolâtre,
Ma mignonne, dont les yeux
Logent mon pis et mon mieux :
Ma doucette, ma sucrée,
Ma Grace, ma Citherée,
Tu me dois pour m’appaiser
Mille fois le jour baiser. 
 
Tu m’en dois au matin trente,
Puis apres disner cinquante,
Et puis vingt apres souper.
Et quoy ? me veux-tu tromper ?  
 
Avance mes quartiers, belle,
Ma tourtre, ma colombelle :
Avance-moy les quartiers
De mes paymens tous entiers. 
 
Demeure, où fuis-tu Maistresse ?
Le desir qui trop me presse,
Ne sçauroit arrester tant,
S’il n’est payé tout contant. 
 
Revien revien mignonette,
Mon doux miel, ma violette,
Mon oeil, mon cœur, mes amours,
Ma cruelle, qui tousjours
Trouves quelque mignardise,
Qui d’une douce feintise
Peu à peu mes forces fond,
Comme on voit dessus un mont
S’escouler la neige blanche :
Ou comme la rose franche
Perd le vermeil de son teint,
Des rais du soleil esteint.
 
Où fuis-tu mon Angelette,
Ma vie, mon amelette ?
Appaise un peu ton courroux,
Assy-toy sur mes genoux,
Et de cent baisers appaise
De mon cœur la chaude braise. 
 
Donne moy bec contre bec,
Or’ un moite, ores un sec,
Or’ un babillard, et ores
Un qui soit plus long encores
Que ceux des pigeons mignars,
Couple à couple fretillars. 
 
Hà Dieu ! ma douce Guerriere,
Tire un peu ta bouche arriere :
Le dernier baiser donné
A tellement estonné
De mille douceurs ma vie,
Que du sein me l’a ravie,
Et m’a fait voir à demi
Le Nautonnier ennemy,
Et les plaines où Catulle,
Et les rives où Tibulle,
Pas à pas se promenant,
Vont encore maintenant
De leurs bouchettes blesmies
Rebaisotans leurs amies.
Frolicsome little Nymph,
Nymphette I idolize,
my sweetheart in whose eyes
I see my best and my worst,
my darling, my sweet,
my graceful one, my Cytherea:
to calm me you must kiss me
a thousand times a day.
 
You owe me thirty of them in the morning,
Then after dinner fifty,
And then twenty after supper.
What? Are you trying to cheat me?!
 
Pay me my quarters in advance, my fair one,
My turtledove;
Advance me all of the quarters
Of my payment!
 
Wait! Where are you going, mistress?
The desire which presses on me so
Cannot stop like that
If it is not happy with its payment.
 
Come back, come back, sweetie,
My honey, my violet,
Apple of my eye, my heart, my love:
O my cruel one, who always
Find some charming trick
Which with its sweet deception
Bit by bit overcomes my strength,
Just as you see atop a mountain
The white snow suddenly rush down,
Or as the fresh rose
Loses the redness of its colour,
Faded by the sun’s rays.
 
Where are you going, my little angel,
My life, my soul?
Calm your anger a little,
Sit on my knees,
And with a hundred kisses calm
The burning fire in my heart.
 
Give me lips against lips,
One moist, one dry,
One babbling, and one
Which is still longer
Than those of loving doves
Fluttering couple by couple.
 
Oh god! my sweet warrior,
Draw back your mouth a little:
That last kiss you gave
Has so overwhelmed
My life with a thousand pleasures
That it has torn it from my breast,
And has made me half-see
The Boatman, our enemy
And the plains where Catullus
And the banks where Tibullus
Wandered pace by pace,
And still go now
Again, with their pallid lips
Giving their lovers gentle kisses.

Another of Ronsard’s very famous songs. Incidentally, it became a cause célèbre when Nabokov’s Lolita emerged and was credited with introducing the word ‘nymphette’ into the language; French students actually demonstrated in public reclaiming the word for their own poet Ronsard!

The classical references in the final stanza are all to the classical underworld, where the Boatman (Charon) would ferry dead souls over to Hades. The Roman lyric poets Catullus and Tibullus are envisaged as among the privileged souls of poets who wander able still to recall their loves on earth.
 
There are some variants in Blanchemain. He [brackets] the second stanza (“Tu m’en dois…”) as this was added in 1578, after the date of the edition he takes as ‘standard’. Four stanzas later he has
 
Où fuis-tu mon Angelette,
Mon diamant, ma perlette ?
Là reviens, mon sucre doux,
Sur mon sein, sur mes genoux …
 
                                                                           Where are you going, my little angel,
                                                                           My diamond, my little pearl?
                                                                           Come back here, my sweetheart,
                                                                           Onto my breast, onto my knees …
 
Then there are minor changes at the start of the next stanza (“Donne m’en bec contre bec”, ‘Give me them lips against lips’) and the following one (“Hà ! ma douce guerriere”, ‘Ho there! my sweet warrior’); and in the middle of that final stanza
 
Le dernier baiser donné
A tellement estonné
De mille douceurs ma vie,
Qu’il me l’a presque ravie, …
 
                                                                           That last kiss you gave
                                                                           Has so overwhelmed
                                                                           My life with a thousand pleasures
                                                                           That it has practically torn it from me …
 
 
 
 
 

Amours retranch. 37

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Pour ce que tu sçais bien que je t’aime trop mieux,
Trop mieus dix mille fois que je ne fais ma vie,
Que je ne fais mon cœur, ma bouche, ny mes yeux,
Plus que le nom de mort, tu fuis le nom d’amie.  
 
Si je faisois semblant de n’avoir point envie
D’estre ton serviteur, tu m’aimerois trop mieux,
Trop mieux dix mille fois que tu ne fais ta vie,
Que tu ne fais ton cœur, ta bouche, ny tes yeus.  
 
C’est d’amour la coustume, alors que plus on aime
D’estre tousjours hay : je le sçay par moy-mesme
Qui suis tousjours banny du meilleur de tes graces 
 
Quand je t’aime sur toute : helas, que doy-je faire !
Si je pensois guarir mon mal par son contraire
Je te voudrois haïr à fin que tu m’aimasses.

 

 
 
 
 
                                                                            Because you know very well that I love you best,
                                                                            Ten thousand times as well as I do my life,
                                                                            As I do my heart, my lips, my eyes,
                                                                            You run from the word ‘beloved’ more than the word ‘death’.
 
                                                                            If I pretended to have no desire at all
                                                                            To be your servant, you would love me better,
                                                                            Ten thousand times better than you do your life,
                                                                            Than you do your heart, your lips, your eyes.
 
                                                                            That’s the custom in love, the more you love
                                                                            The more you’re always hated; I know it from my own case,
                                                                            As I am always banished from the best of your grace
 
                                                                            Though I love you above all. Alas, what to do?
                                                                            If I thought I might cure my ills by their opposite,
                                                                            I’d want to hate you, that you might love me.

 

Pretty much a classic sonnet! The octet balanced exactly by the sestet, the last lines recalling but re-working the opening; even a rather attractive tension between the line and the meaning as we cross between the tercets with an enjambement. Another odd choice to delete from the main text, but that’s what happened…

 
 
 

Amours retranch. 46

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Las! sans espoir je languis à grand tort,
Pour la rigueur d’une beauté si fiere,
Qui sans ouïr mes pleurs ny ma prière
Rid de mon mal si violent et fort. 
 
De la beauté dont j’esperois support,
Pour mon service et longue foy premiere,
Je ne reçoy que tourment et misere,
Et pour secours je n’attens que la mort. 
 
Mais telle Dame est si sage et si belle
Que si quelqu’un la veut nommer cruelle
En me voyant traitté cruellement, 
 
Vienne au combat, icy je le deffie,
Il cognoistra qu’un si dur traittement
Pour ses vertus m’est une douce vie.

 

 
 
 
 
                                                                            Alas!  Hopeless, I pine in great wrong
                                                                            For the harshness of a beauty so proud
                                                                            Who, not listening to my weeping nor my prayer,
                                                                            Laughs at my ills so violently, so hard.
 
                                                                            From the beauty from which I’d hoped for support
                                                                            For my service, and for my first and long-lasting faithfulness.
                                                                            I receive nothing but torment and wretchedness
                                                                            And I expect succour only from death.
 
                                                                            But that lady is so wise and beautiful
                                                                            That if anyone tried to call her cruel,
                                                                            Seeing me cruelly treated,
 
                                                                            Let him come and fight, here I challenge him;
                                                                            He will understand that such harsh treatment
                                                                            For her virtues is for me a sweet life.
 
 
 
A lovely take on the old chivalric love theme, mixed in with the ‘lover’s torment’. The switch between first and second halves is managed beautifully, the challenge & defiance at the end so natural, I cannot imagine why he chose to remove this one from the ‘core’ collection of Amours…
 
 
 

Amours retranch. 21

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O ma belle Maistresse, à tout le moins prenez
De moy vostre servant ce Rossignol en cage :
Il est mon prisonnier, et je vis en servage
Sous vous, qui sans mercy en prison me tenez :
 
Allez donc, Rossignol, en sa chambre, et sonnez
Mon dueil à son aureille avec vostre ramage,
Et s’il vous est possible émouvez son courage
A me faire mercy, puis vous en revenez.
 
Non, non, ne venez point, que feriez-vous chez moy ?
Sans aucun reconfort, vous languiriez d’esmoy :
« Un prisonnier ne peut un autre secourir.
 
Je n’ay pas, Rossignol, sur vostre bien envie,
Seulement je me hay et me plains de ma vie,
Qui languit en prison, et si n’y peut mourir.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            O my fair mistress, whatever you do take
                                                                            From me, your servant, this nightingale in a cage;
                                                                            He is my prisoner, and I live in service
                                                                            Under you who, without mercy, keep me in prison.
 
                                                                            Go then, nightingale, to her bedroom and sing
                                                                            Warbling of my sorrow into her ear,
                                                                            And if you can, stir up her courage
                                                                            To grant me pity – and then come back.
 
                                                                            No, do not come back, what would you do here with me?
                                                                            With no comfort you would pine away from grief;
                                                                            “One prisoner cannot help another.”
 
                                                                            I am not jealous, nightingale, of your good fortune,
                                                                            I just hate myself and bemoan my life
                                                                            Pining away in prison, and yet unable to die.

 

 
An attractive play on the double imprisonment of bird and master.  Only minor variations in Blanchemain’s version: in line 1 “à tous les moins”, not affecting the meaning, and in lines 3-4 Ronsard says he is “en servage / De vous” (‘in service to you’, rather than ‘under you’).
 
 
 

Amours 2:40

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Quand ravy je me pais de vostre belle face,
Je voy dedans vos yeux je ne sçay quoy de blanc,
Je ne sçay quoy de noir, qui m’esmeut tout le sang,
Et qui jusques au cœur de veine en veine passe.
 
Je voy dedans Amour qui va changeant de place,
Ores bas ores haut tousjours me regardant,
Et son arc contre moy coup sur coup desbandant.
Si je faux, ma raison, que veux-tu que je face ?
 
Tant s’en faut que je sois alors maistre de moy
Que je ni’rois les Dieux et trahirois mon Roy,
Je vendrois mon pays, je meurtrirois mon pere :
 
Telle rage me tient apres que j’ay tasté
A longs traits amoureux de la poison amere,
Qui sort de ces beaux yeux dont je suis enchanté.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            When exalted I nourish myself with your beautiful face,
                                                                            I see within your eyes something white,
                                                                            Something black which affects all my blood
                                                                            And which passes from vein to vein right to my heart.
 
                                                                            I see within them Love, continually changing place,
                                                                            Now low now high, always watching me
                                                                            And his bow loosing shot after shot against me.
                                                                            If I am wrong what, my rightness, do you want me to do?
 
                                                                            I am so far from master of myself
                                                                            That I would deny the gods and betray my king,
                                                                            Sell my country and murder my father;
 
                                                                            Such passion seizes me after I have sampled,
                                                                            In long loving draughts, the bitter poison
                                                                            Which flows from your eyes by which I am bewitched.
 
 
 
I ought to have done better with the opening line:  I tried “I could eat your beautiful face” but that’s not really what Ronsard means, it’s the wrong image. He’s saying, just the sight of your face is all I need to live on, it is my food, my nourishment.  The right words haven’t (yet) come to me!
 
Line 8 is another tricky one to translate. Picking up the white/black opposites of the previous lines, Ronsard opposes “faux” and “raison”, wrong and right; but “raison” is also reason, the faculty of reasoning. So he is simultaneously setting Marie up as his standard of rightness, his model of reason, and also appealing to his own reason. Blanchemain’s version simplifies things with one minor change, offering only one of those meanings as Ronsard appeals to Reason.
 
There are also a number of changes in the ‘betrayal’ section in the first tercet; and a different, simpler image in line 1. (Also, yet another simple ‘when I…’ opening, instead of the more unusual ‘when, exalted…’ opening of the revised version – check the index of first lines to see how many “Quand …” poems use the simple “Quand je” + verb!)  Here’s Blanchemain’s text:
 
 
Quand je suis tout baissé sur vostre belle face,
Je voy dedans vos yeux je ne sçay quoy de blanc,
Je ne sçay quoy de noir, qui m’esmeut tout le sang,
Et qui jusques au cœur de veine en veine passe.
 
Je voy dedans Amour qui va changeant de place,
Ores bas, ores haut, tousjours me regardant,
Et son arc contre moy coup sur coup desbandant.
Las ! si je faux, Raison, que veux-tu que j’y face ?
 
Tant s’en faut que je sois alors maistre de moy
Que je vendrois mon père et trahirois mon roy,
Mon païs et ma sœur, mes frères et ma mère ;
 
Tant je suis hors du sens après que j’ay tasté
A longs traits amoureux de la poison amere,
Qui sort de ces beaux yeux dont je suis enchanté.
 
 
 
                                                                            When I am bowed over your beautiful face,
                                                                            I see within your eyes something white,
                                                                            Something black which affects all my blood
                                                                            And which passes from vein to vein right to my heart.
 
                                                                            I see within them Love, continually changing place,
                                                                            Now low now high, always watching me
                                                                            And his bow loosing shot after shot against me.
                                                                            Alas, if I am wrong what, Reason, do you want me to do there?
 
                                                                            I am so far from master of myself
                                                                            That I would sell my father and betray my king,
                                                                            My country, my sister, brothers and mother;
 
                                                                            I am so senseless after I have sampled,
                                                                            In long loving draughts, the bitter poison
                                                                            Which flows from your eyes by which I am bewitched.