Helen 2:3


I really should have saved the New Year’s wish poem for now! Still, happy new year everyone & here’s a beautiful opening to the year.

Amour, qui as ton regne en ce monde si ample,
Voy ta gloire et la mienne errer en ce jardin :
Voy comme son bel œil, mon bel astre divin,
Surmonte de clairté les lampes de ton Temple. 
Voy son corps des beautez le portrait et l’exemple,
Qui ressemble une Aurore au plus beau d’un matin ;
Voy son esprit, seigneur du Sort et du Destin,
Qui passe la Nature, en qui Dieu se contemple. 
Regarde-la marcher toute pensive à soy
T’emprisonner de fleurs et triompher de toy
Pressant dessous ses pas les herbes bien-heureuses. 
Voy sortir un Printemps des rayons de ses yeux :
Et voy comme à l’envy ses flames amoureuses
Embellissent la terre et serenent les cieux.
                                                                            Love, you who have the rule of this wide world,
                                                                            See your glory and mine wandering in this garden
                                                                            See how her lovely eye, my own heavenly star,
                                                                            Outshines in brightness the lamps of your temple.
                                                                            See her body, the very portrait and example of beauty,
                                                                            Like the dawn at its most beautiful in the morning;
                                                                            See her spirit, master of fate and destiny,
                                                                            Which surpasses nature and in which God recognises himself.
                                                                            Look at her walking alone, so pensive,
                                                                            Imprisoning you in flowers, triumphing over you,
                                                                            Pressing beneath her feet the fortunate grass.
                                                                            See how the rays of her eyes release a sort of Spring,
                                                                            And how enviably her loving flames
                                                                            Enhance the world and calm the heavens.
Blanchemain’s version has only a few variants:  line 4 becomes “Reluit comme une lampe ardente dans un temple” (‘Shines out like a flaming lamp in a temple’); the end of line 6 is slightly different (“au plus beau du matin”, ‘at the most beautiful time of morning’); and line 11 becomes “Voy naistre sous ses pieds les herbes bienheureuses ” (‘See the fortunate grass grow beneath her feet’).  But Blanchemain also offers us a further (footnoted) variant, a complete re-write of lines 7-9:
Voy son front, mais un ciel seigneur de mon destin,
Où comme en un mirouer Nature se contemple.
Voy-le marcher pensive, et n’aimer rien que soy.
                                                                            See her brow, rather the heaven which rules my destiny,
                                                                            In which as in a mirror nature regards herself.
                                                                            See her walking pensively, loving none but herself.
So many alternatives, all of them equally beautiful, makes for twice the pleasure. What a good way to start 2015!  Still better, I have an excuse to add a sonnet by Petrarch, which seems to have been Ronsard’s starting-point for his own sonnet.
Stiamo, Amor, a veder la gloria nostra,
cose sopra natura altere et nove:
vedi ben quanta in lei dolcezza piove,
vedi lume che ‘l cielo in terra mostra,
vedi quant’arte dora e ‘mperla e ‘nostra
l’abito electo, et mai non visto altrove,
che dolcemente i piedi et gli occhi move
per questa di bei colli ombrosa chiostra.
L’erbetta verde e i fior’ di color’ mille
sparsi sotto quel’ elce antiqua et negra
pregan pur che ‘l bel pe’ li prema o tocchi;
e ‘l ciel di vaghe et lucide faville
s’accende intorno, e ‘n vista si rallegra
d’esser fatto seren da sí belli occhi.
                                                                            Shall we stop, Love, to see our glory,
                                                                            Things strange beyond nature and new?
                                                                            See how much sweetness rains upon her,
                                                                            See the light which heaven shows on earth,
                                                                            See with what art is gilded and pearled our lady’s
                                                                            Chosen dress, never seen elsewhere,
                                                                            As she sweetly moves her feet and eyes
                                                                            Through this shady cloister of lovely hills.
                                                                            The soft green grass and flowers of a thousand colours
                                                                            Scattered under this ancient, black holm-oak
                                                                            Even pray that her fair foot will flatten or touch them;
                                                                            And the heavens blaze all around with bright,
                                                                            Wandering sparks and openly rejoices
                                                                            In being made calm by such fair eyes.

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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