Gayetez et Epigrammes (48)


After that last poem, maybe something related…

L’âge premier de l’homme Enfance est appellé ;
Son cours est de quatre ans, maistrisé par la lune ;
Auquel il s’agrandit, desja serf de fortune,
Humide, delicat, d’ignorance voilé.
La Puerilité est nostre âge second ;
Son regne est de dix ans, gouverné par Mercure.
Vollage, sans arrest, est lors nostre nature,
Et l’esprit au sçavoir se veut rendre facond.
Le tiers est de huict ans, par Venus gouverné,
Qui rend homme amoureux en son Adolescence,
Son naturel enclin aux jeux et à la dance,
De flammes et de feux son cœur environné.
La Jeunesse est le quart, guidé par le soleil,
Regnant dix et neuf ans, poussant au mariage
L’homme qui veult (vivant) colloquer son mesnage,
Desireux de richesse, en force sans pareil.
Le quint est le Viril, suivant l’aspect de Mars ;
Son cours est de quinze ans, sa nature fascheuse,
Magnanime, constante, avare, dangereuse,
Rendant l’homme guerrier suivant ses estendars.
Le six, soubs Jupiter, dans douze ans faict son cours,
Jusqu’en l’an soixante-huit, âge nommé Vieillesse.
L’homme alors vers le ciel tout repentant s’adresse.
Soigneux de son salut, des humbles le secours.
Le Caduc est le sept des âges le dernier,
Où Saturne commande, arrestant sa carriere
En l’an quatre-vingt-huit. Nature à sa premiere
Foiblesse le conduit, retournant au premier.
On the Seven Ages of Man
The first age of man is called Infancy ;
It runs for four years, under the moon’s governance,
In which he grows bigger, already a slave to fortune,
Moist, delicate, veiled in ignorance.
Childhood is our second age ;
Its reign is ten years long, governed by Mercury.
Flighty, not stopping, is then our nature
And the spirit tries to become fluent in learning.
The third is eight years long, governed by Venus
Who makes men fall in love in their Adolescence,
Their natures inclined to games and the dance,
Their hearts beset by flames and fires.
Youth is the fourth, guided by the Sun,
Reigning for nineteen years, driving to marriage
The man who wishes, while alive, to establish his household,
Desiring riches, unequalled in strength.
The fifth is Manhood, following the aspect of Mars.
It runs for fifteen years, its nature irritable,
Kind-hearted, constant, greedy, eager for danger,
Making man a warrior following the standards.
    Old age
The sixth, under Jupiter, runs its course in twelve years
Up to the age of 68, the period called Old age.
Man then, repentant, directs himself to Heaven,
Careful of his salvation, the help of humble men.
Decrepitude is the seventh and last age,
Where Saturn holds sway, cutting short its career
In his 88th year. Nature leads him back
To his first feebleness, returning to the start.
Associating periods of life with different zodiacal signs or governing planets is nothing unusual in renaissance Catholicism, even if today Christianity generally excludes astrology. On the other hand, the popularity of Holst’s “Planets” suggests there is a continuing nostalgia for the days when we could believe the stars guided our lives…
This is an occasional piece which Blanchemain prints at the end of the Gayetez and Epigrammes, with a lengthy footnote, from which the following is excerpted: 
“I owe to M. Rathery, learned librarian, the reference to a volume preserved in the Imperial Library. This book, among many fine engravings by Martin de Voos and other engravers of the 16th century, contains a series of plates preceded by the title:
Figures and portraits of the seven ages of man, with texts in quatrains by the late M. de Ronsard at the foot of each. Drawn and engraved on principles set out by the late M. Baptiste Pellerin – 1595, Paris. …”
If you are interested, you can look through the plates on the Gallica website.

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')

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s