Amours retranch. 49 – A Song for Cassandre



Il me semble que la journée
Dure plus longue qu’une année,
Quand par malheur je n’ay ce bien
De voir la grand’ beauté de celle
Qui tient mon cœur, et sans laquelle
Vissé-je tout, je ne voy rien.
Quiconques fut jadis le Sage
Qui dit que l’amoureux courage
Vit de ce qu’il ayme, il dit vray ;
Ailleurs vivant il ne peut estre,
Ny d’autre viande se paistre :
J’en suis seur, j’en ay fait l’essay.
Tousjours l’amant vit en l’aimée :
Pour cela mon ame affamée
Ne se veut souler que d’amour,
De l’amour elle est si friande,
Que sans plus de telle viande
Se veut repaistre nuit et jour.
Si quelqu’un dit que je m’abuse,
Voye luy-mesme la Meduse
Qui d’un rocher m’a fait le cœur ;
Et l’ayant veuë je m’asseure
Qu’il sera fait sur la mesme heure
Le compagnon de mon malheur.
Car est-il homme que n’enchante
La voix d’une Dame sçavante,
Et fust-il Scythe en cruauté ?
Il n’est point de plus grand’ magie
Que la docte voix d’une amie,
Quand elle est jointe à la beauté.
Or j’aime bien, je le confesse,
Et plus j’iray vers la vieillesse,
Et plus constant j’aimeray mieux :
Je n’oubliray, fussé-je en cendre,
La douce amour de ma Cassandre,
Qui loge mon cœur dans ses yeux.
Adieu liberté ancienne,
Comme chose qui n’est plus mienne,
Adieu ma chere vie, adieu :
Ta fuite ne me peut desplaire,
Puis que ma perte volontaire
Se retreuve en un si beau lieu.
Chanson, va-t’en où je t’adresse
Dans la chambre de ma Maistresse,
Dy-luy, baisant sa blanche main,
Que pour en santé me remettre,
Il ne luy faut sinon permettre
Que tu te caches dans son sein.
It seems to me that a day
Lasts longer than a year
When by mischance I do not have the benefit
Of seeing the great beauty of her
Who holds my heart, and without whom
Even if I see everything I see nothing.
Whoever was in olden days the wise man
Who said that a lover’s courage
Lives on the one he loves, spoke truly;
He could not live in any other way,
Nor feed on any other food.
I’m sure of it: I’ve tried it.
The lover lives all the time in the beloved;
For that reason my famished soul
Wishes to drink deeply of Love alone;
It is so partial to love
That on such food and nothing more
It wishes to dine both night and day.
If anyone wants to claim I’m deceiving myself,
Let him look upon the Medusa
Who has made my heart into a rock;
Having seen her, I am sure
That he will be made that same moment
A fellow in my troubles.
For is there a man whom the voice
Of a wise woman cannot enchant,
Even if he were like a Scythian in cruelty?
There is no greater magic
Than the cunning voice of your beloved
When it is joined with beauty.
Still, I love it, I confess,
And the further I go towards old age
The more, and the more constantly, I shall love it.
I will not forget, even were I mere dust,
The sweet love of my Cassandre
Who keeps me heart in her eyes.
Farewell my old freedom,
Like something no longer mine,
Farewell my dear life, farewell:
Your loss cannot displease me
Since my own voluntary ruin
Has landed me in so fair a place.
Away, my song, go where I send you
Into the chamber of my mistress,
And tell her, kissing her white hand,
That to return me to health
She need only allow
You to hide in her breast.
The heading, “Chanson pour Cassandre”, is pretty self-explanatory; and there’s little in the poem which needs commentary. Medusa (4th stanza) of course turned everything she set eyes on into stone; Scythians (next stanza) were famously barbaric and therefore cruel. The last stanza is reminiscent of several other poems we’ve seen in which a bird is sent to Cassandre.

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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