Amours retranch. 21

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’).

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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