Amours retranch. 40

Ne me dy plus, Imbert, que je chante d’Amour,
Ce traistre, ce méchant: comment pourroy-je faire
Que mon esprit voulust louer son adversaire,
Qui ne donne à ma peine un moment de sejour!
S’il m’avoit fait, Imbert, seulement un bon tour,
Je l’en remercirois, mais il ne se veut plaire
Qu’à rengreger mon mal, et pour mieux me défaire,
Me met devant les yeux ma Dame nuit et jour.
Bien que Tantale soit miserable là-bas,
Je le passe en mal-heur: car s’il ne mange pas
Le fruict qui pend sur luy, toutesfois il le touche,
Et le baise, et s’en joüe: et moy bien que je sois
Aupres de mon Plaisir, seulement de la bouche,
Ny des mains tant soit peu, toucher ne l’oserois.
                                                                            Tell me no more, Imbert, that I should sing of Love,
                                                                            That traitor, that wicked one. How could I make
                                                                            My spirit desire to praise his opponent,
                                                                            Who gives to my pain not a moment of rest!
                                                                            If [Love] had done me, Imbert, a single good turn
                                                                            I would thank him, but he prefers not to please
                                                                            But to aggravate my ills; and to destroy me more easily
                                                                            He puts my Lady before my eyes night and day.
                                                                            Though Tantalus is wretched down below,
                                                                            I surpass him in misfortune; for if he cannot eat
                                                                            The fruit which hangs over him, he can still touch it
                                                                            And kiss it and enjoy it; but I, although I am
                                                                            Right beside my Pleasure, I’d not dare even to touch
                                                                            Her mouth nor, however little, her hands.
Although a footnote assures us that Imbert was a classical scholar, familiar with Latin & Greek poetry, there’s nothing here that would put his skills to the test! The reference to Tantalus is not recondite, and indeed Ronsard even explains it (lines 10-11). I suspect this rather weak metaphor is the reason the poem got cut.
Who was Imbert?  Gérard Marie Imbert was born at Condom-en-Armagnac in 1530, and was later a student with Ronsard & Baif at the collège de Coqueret where the Pleiade first began to come together.  He was the author of a book of sonnets (Sonnets exotériques) published in 1578.

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