Amours 1.176

Ny les desdains d’une Nymphe si belle,
Ny le plaisir de me fondre en langueur,
Ny la fierté de sa douce rigueur,
Ny contre Amour sa chasteté rebelle :
Ny le penser de trop penser en elle,
Ny de mes yeux l’eternelle liqueur,
Ny mes souspirs messagers de mon cœur,
Ny de sa glace une ardeur eternelle :
Ny le desir qui me lime et me mord,
Ny voir escrite en ma face la mort,
Ny les erreurs d’une longue complainte,
Ne briseront mon cœur de diamant,
Que sa beauté n’y soit tousjours emprainte :
« Belle fin fait qui meurt en bien aimant.
                                                                            Not the disdain of so fair a nymph,
                                                                            Not the pleasure of melting into listlessness,
                                                                            Not the pride of her sweet harshness,
                                                                            Not her chasteness, rebelling against love;
                                                                            Not the thought of thinking too much about her,
                                                                            Not the eternal weeping of my eyes,
                                                                            Not my sighs, messengers of my heart,
                                                                            Not eternal passion for her icy-ness;
                                                                            Not desire which traps me and gnaws at me,
                                                                            Not seeing death written in my face,
                                                                            Not the mistakes of a long lament;
                                                                            These will not break my diamond-hard heart
                                                                            And prevent her beauty forever being stamped there:
                                                                            “A fair ending he makes who dies loving truly.”
It’s quite unusual to find Ronsard so single-minded as in the way he begins the first 11 lines of this poem (which I’ve replicated in the translation); but that is partly because he is deliberately copying (or translating) another poem which attempts the same effect in Italian. Before we go there, a couple of variants in Blanchemain’s edition:  in line 6, “la fatale liqueur” (‘the death-dealing weeping…’); and in line 8 “Ny de ma flamme une ardeur eternelle” which necessitates a revised translation of the whole line – ‘Not the eternal heat of my fire’.
Ronsard’s original, as so often in his selection of Italian poets for translation, is not Petrarch himself but one of the sixteenth-century Petrarchist followers. In this case it is Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo, expert in Greek and Latin, poet in the Petrarchist vein and a commentator on Petrarch. Born in 1496, his poetry was published in a collected edition in 1585, but it is not clear whether he was still alive at the time. (As far as I know, unrelated to the more famous Carlo Gesualdo, composer of the late 16th century.)  Ronsard’s source was (probably) the ‘Rime diverse di molti eccellentissimi auttori…’ of 1545.  Both Ronsard and Gesualdo quote from Petrarch himself in the last line, a line which had become proverbial. Here’s Gesualdo’s poem:
Ne di selvaggio cuor feroce sdegno,
Ne crude voglie nel mio danno accorte,
Ne il veder già le mie speranze morte,
Ne il lungo affanno lagrimoso e ‘ndengno;
Ne ‘l guasto al viver mio fido sostegno,
Ne il girne ratto inanzi tempo a morte,
Ne pensier ch’a me sol tormento apporte,
Ne ‘l mal inteso mio desir sì degno;
Ne la spenta mia dolce usata aita,
Ne il mai qua giù sentito, aspro dolore,
Onde io m’appresso a l’ultima partita;
Ne altro fia che ‘l mio primiero ardore,
Spenga giamai mentre dimoro in vita;
Che bel fin fa, chi ben amando muore.
                                                                            Not the fierce anger of a wild heart,
                                                                            Nor crude desires nor my prudent injury,
                                                                            Nor seeing my hopes already dead,
                                                                            Nor long sorrow, tearful and unworthy;
                                                                            Not my failure to keep alive my faithfulness,
                                                                            Nor time, stolen before, running away to death,
                                                                            Nor the thought which to me alone brings torment,
                                                                            Nor my desire, so worthy but misunderstood,
                                                                            Nor my sweet life, spent and used up,
                                                                            Nor the ills I suffer down here, the bitter pain,
                                                                            Whence I press on to my final parting;
                                                                            These will not make it any different from my first love,
                                                                            Nor make it die while I remain alive:
                                                                            “What a fine end he makes, who dies loving truly.”

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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