Amours 1.195

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Du bord d’Espagne, où le jour se limite,
Jusques à l’Inde il ne croist point de fleur,
Qui de beauté, de grace et de valeur
Puisse egaler au teint de Marguerite.
 
Si riche gemme en Orient eslite
Comme est son lustre enrichi de bon-heur,
N’emperla point de la Conche l’honneur
Où s’apparut Venus encor petite.
 
Le pourpre esclos du sang Adonien,
Le triste Ai Ai du Telamonien,
Ny des Indois la gemmeuse largesse,
 
Ny tous les biens d’un rivage estranger,
A leurs tresors ne sçauroyent eschanger
Le moindre honneur de sa double richesse.
 
 
 
                                                                            From the edge of Spain where the day ends
                                                                            To the Indies, there grows no flower
                                                                            Which in beauty, grace and worth
                                                                            Can equal the colour of Margaret/the daisy.
 
                                                                            No gem of the Orient, so rich and select,
                                                                            However much its lustre is enriched by good-fortune,
                                                                            Em-pearls the top of the Conch
                                                                            On which Venus appeared when still young.
 
                                                                            The blossoming purple of Adonis’ blood,
                                                                            The sad ‘Ai-Ai’ of Telamon’s son,
                                                                            The jewelled generosity of the Indies,
 
                                                                            All the good things in foreign lands –
                                                                            These would not want to exchange for their treasures
                                                                            The smallest glory of her doubled riches.
 
 
 
Another of those dual-meaning poems built around the name ‘Marguerite’ – Margaret, but also a daisy. But a marguuerite is also a pearl:  the phrase “to cast pearls before swine” appears in 16th century France as “jeter des marguerites devant les pourceaux“.  Note how the opening 4 lines are flower-based; the next four jewel-based; then the pattern repeats at double-speed in lines 10-11, 12-13. In the final line, the ‘double riches’ inidicates the two related meanings, flower and pearl, joined in one in the person of Marguerite. 
 
We’ve met the flower of Ajax with it’s markings of ‘AI AI’ before, also the blood-red (or purple) anemone associated with Adonis.
 
A lovely little jewel of a poem!  Blanchemain offers minor variants only:  in line 4, “Puisse combattre au teint …” (‘Can compete with the colour …’); and in line 6 her lustre is “affiné de bon-heur” (‘refined by good-fortune’).
 
 
 
 
 
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