(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!
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…
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…
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’).