Poems 2.2 – to Jehan du Thier

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A Jehan du Thier,
Seigneur de Beau-regard, Secretaire d’Estat
 
Qui fait honneur aux Rois, il fait honneur à Dieu :
Les Princes et les Rois tiennent le plus grand lieu
« Apres la Deité ; et qui revere encore
« Les serviteurs d’un Roy, le Roy mesme il honore.
Il est vray, mon du Thier, qu’un homme comme toy
Donne plus de travail à celebrer, qu’un Roy;
Car la gloire des Rois en sujet est fertille,
Et ne travaille guere une plume gentille,
Ny un espoir gaillard, s’il a reçeu tant d’heur
Que de ne s’efforcer de chanter leur grandeur.
 
D’un theme si fecond en abondance viennentt
Propos desur propos, qui la Muse entretiennent,
Comme en hyver les eaux qui s’escoulent d’un mont,
Et courans dans le mer file-à-file s’en-vont :
Mais pour louer un moindre il faut de l’artifice,
A fin que la vertu n’aparoisse estre vice.
 
Si est-ce, mon du Thier, que les plus grands honneurs
Qui sont communs en France à nos plus grands Seigneurs,
Te sont communs aussi, et si je l’osois dire,
De toy seul à bon droit on les devroit escrire
Comme propres à toy : mais ces Dieux de la Court
Me happent à la gorge, et me font taire court.
 
Comme on voit bien souvent aux mines dessous terre
Soyent d’argent soyent de fer de grands pilliers de pierre,
Qui sont veus soustenir la mine de leurs bras,
Et ahanner beaucoup, et si n’ahannent pas ;
Ce sont d’autres pillers qui loin du jour se tiennent
Dedans des coings à part, qui tout le faix soustiennent :
Ainsi les grands Seigneurs, soit en guerre ou en paix,
En credit eslevez, semblent porter le faix
Des affaires de France avec l’espaule large,
Et toutesfois c’est toy qui en portes la charge.
 
S’il arrive un paquet d’Itale, ou plus avant,
Soit de Corse ou de Grece, ou du bout de Levant,
Ils le dépliront bien, mais il te faudra mettre
En ton estude apres pour respondre à la lettre.
Car ainsi que le Ciel ne soustient qu’un Soleil,
France n’a qu’un du Thier qui n’a point de pareil,
Ou soit pour sagement les Estrangers semondre,
Ou soit pour cautement à leurs paquets respondre ;
Car soit en stile bas, ou en stile hautain,
Les Graces du François s’escoulent de ta main.
 
Nul homme ne se vante estre heureux en la prose,
Que pour certain exemple aux yeux ne se propose
Tes escrits et ton stile, et pour exerciter
Sa main, il ne travaille à te contre-imiter.
 
On dit que Geryon, qui tripla les conquestes
De la masse d’Hercule, avoit au chef trois testes :
Tu en as plus de mille, aumoins mille cerveaux
Que tu empesches tous à mille faits nouveaux.
Car soit que le Soleil abandonne la source
De son hoste Ocean, et appreste à la course
Son char à qui l’Aurore a de sa belle main
Attellé les chevaux, et rangez sous le frain :
Ou soit qu’en plein midy ses rayons il nous darde,
Et à plomb dessous luy toutes choses regarde :
Ou soit qu’en devalant plein de soif et d’ahan
Il s’aille rebaigner és flots de l’Ocean,
Et que son char en garde aux Dieux marins il baille,
Ton esprit n’a repos qui sans cesse travaille
Et ta langue, et ta main : l’esprit en inventant,
La main en escrivant, et la langue en dictant
Quelque lettre à tes clercs, ou tout seul tu dechiffres
Dedans ta chambre à part les enigmes des chiffres
Que te baille un courrier nouvellement venu,
A fin que le secret du Roy ne soit cognu.
 
Icy un Alleman des nouvelles t’apporte,
Icy un Espagnol se tient devant ta porte ;
L’Anglois, l’Italien, et l’Ecossois aussi
Font la presse à ton huis et te donnent souci :
L’un cecy, l’un cela diversement demande :
Puis il te faut signer ce que le Roy commande,
Qui selon les effets de divers argumens
Te baille en moins d’un jour mille commandemens,
De petits, de moyens et de grand importance.
 
Encor’ as-tu le soing des grands tresors de France :
Tailles, tributs, empruns, decimes et impos,
Ne laissent ton esprit un quart d’heure en repos,
Qui se plaist d’achever mille choses contraires,
Et plus est vigoureux, tant plus il a d’affaires.
Or ainsi qu’un poisson se nourrist en son eau,
Et une Salemandre au brasier d’un fourneau,
Tu te plais en ta peine, et ta verde vieillesse
Se nourrist du travail qui jamais ne te laisse.
 
Quand tu vas au matin aux affaires du Roy,
Une tourbe de gens fremist toute apres toy,
Qui deçà qui delà tes costez environnent,
Et tous divers propos à tes oreilles sonnent :
L’un te baille un placet, l’un te va conduisant
Pour luy faire donner au Roy quelque present,
L’autre (qui a de prés ton oreille approchée)
Demande si sa letter a esté despeschée :
L’un est fasché d’attendre, et n’a repos aucun
Que tousjours ne te suive et te soit importun :
L’autre plus gracieux te fait la reverence,
Et l’autre te requiert l’avoir en souvenance :
Bref la foulle te presse, et demeine un grand bruit
Tout à l’entour de toy, comme un torrent qui fuit
Bouillonnant par le fond des pierreuses valées,
Quand dessous le Printemps les neiges sont coulées.
 
Tu n’as si tost disné, qu’il ne te faille aller
Au Conseil, pour ouyr des affaires parler :
Puis au coucher du Roy, puis selon ta coustume
Presque toute la nuict veiller avec la plume.
Et pource nostre Roy d’un favorable accueil
Te prise et te cherist, et te porte bon œil,
Comme à celuy qui prend en France plus de peine :
Si fait Montmorency, et Charles de Lorraine :
Non seuls, mais tout le peuple, et ceux qui ont l’esprit
De sçavoir discerner combien vaut ton escrit :
Et moy par-dessus tous, qui de plus pres admire
Ta vertu qui me fait ceste lettre t’escrire.
Quand un homme s’esleve aupres de ces grands Dieux,
Mesprisant les petits, devient audacieux,
Et s’enflant tout le cœur d’arrogance et de gloire,
Se mocque de chacun, et si ne veut plus croire
Qu’il soit homme sujet à supporter l’assault
De Fortune qui doit luy doner un beau sault :
Mais certes à la fin une horrible tempeste
De la fureur d’un Roy luy saccage la teste :
Et plus il se vouloit aux Princes égaler,
Et plus avec risée on le fait devaler,
Par la tourbe incognuë, à fin qu’il soit exemple
D’un orgueil foudroyé, à l’œil qui le contemple.
 
Mais toy, qui as l’esprit net d’envie et d’orgueil,
Qui fais aux vertueux un honneste recueil,
Qui te sçais moderer en la fortune bonne,
Qui es homme de bien, qui n’offenses personne,
De jour en jour tu vois augmenter ton bon-heur,
Tu vois continuer ta gloire et ton honneur,
Loin de l’ambition, de fraude et de feintise :
Et c’est l’occasion pour laquelle te prise
Le peuple qui tousjours ne cesse d’espier
Les vices des Seigneurs, et de les descrier,
« Et se plaist en cela ; car de la chose faite
« Par les grands, bien ou mal, le peuple est la trompette ;
Et toutefois il t’aime, et dit que nostre Roy
N’a point de serviteur plus diligent que toy.
 
Tu ne rouilles ton cœur de l’execrable vice
De ceste orde furie et harpie Avarice,
Qui les tresors du monde attire dans sa main :
Car puis qu’il faut mourir ou ce soir ou demain,
Que sert d’amonceller tant d’escus en un coffre ?
Las ! puis que la Nature ingrate ne nous offre
Que l’usufruict du bien, que sert de desirer
Tant de possessions, que sert de deschirer
Le ventre de la terre, et hautement construire
Un Palais orgueilleux de marbre et de porfire ?
Où peut estre (ô folie !) il ne logera pas
Par la mort prevenu : où apres le trespas
Quelque prodigue enfant de cest avare pere,
Jeune, fol, desbauché, en fera bonne chere,
Vendra, jou’ra, perdra, et despendra le bien
Par son pere amassé, qui ne luy couste rien ?
« Car tout l’avoir mondain, quelque chose qu’on face
« Jamais ferme n’arreste à la troisiesme race :
« Ains fuit comme la bale, alors qu’au mois d’Esté
« Le grain bien loin du van parmy l’aire est jetté.
Mais sur tout, mon du Thier, jaloux je porte envie
A ceste liberté nourrice de ta vie,
Aux bons mots que tu dis, à ton esprit naïf,
Si prompt et si gentil, si gaillard et si vif,
Qui doctement adonne aux vers sa fantaisie,
Te faisant amoureux de nostre Poësie.
 
Tu n’es pas seulement Poëte tresparfait,
Mais si en nostre langue un gentil esprit fait
Epigramme ou Sonet, Epistre ou Elegie,
Tu luy as tout soudain ta faveur eslargie,
Et sans le decevoir tu le mets en honneur
Aupres d’un Cardinal, d’un Prince, ou d’un Seigneur,
Cela ne peut sortir que d’un noble courage,
Et d’un homme bien nay ; j’en ay pour tesmoignage
Et Salel, et tous ceux qui par les ans passez
Se sont pres du feu Roy par la Muse avancez.
 
Or je ne veux souffrir que les vistes carrieres
Des ans, perdent le bien que tu me fis n’agueres :
Et si ne veux souffrir qu’un acte grand et beau
Que tu fis à deux Grecs, aille sous le tombeau,
Deux pauvres estrangers, qui bannis de la Grece,
Avoient prins à la Cour de France leur addresse,
Incognus, sans appuy, pleins de soin et d’esmoy,
Pensans avoir support ou d’un Prince, ou d’un Roy.
Mais ce fut au contraire. Ô Princes, quelle honte
D’un peuple si sacré (helas !) ne faire conte !
Ils estoyent delaissez presque à mourir de fain,
Honteux de mendier le miserable pain,
Quand à l’extrémité portant un tresor rare,
S’addresserent à toy : c’estoit du vieil Pindare
Un livret incognu, et un livre nouveau
Du gentil Simonide esveillé du tombeau.
Toy lors, comme courtois, benin et debonnaire,
Ne fis tant seulement depescher leur affaire,
Mais tu recompensas avec beaucoup d’escus
Ces livres, qui avoyent tant de siecles veincus,
Et qui portoyent au front de la marge pour guide
Ce grand nom de Pindare et du grand Simonide,
Desquels tu as orné le sumptueux chasteau
De Beau-regard, ton œuvre, et l’en as fait plus beau
Que si des Asiens les terres despouillées
En don t’eussent baillé leurs medailles rouillées.
 
Pourquoy vay-je contant, moy François, les bienfaits
Qu’à ces Grecs estrangers, liberal, tu as faits,
Et je ne conte pas ceste faveur honneste
Que je receu du Roy n’aguere à ta requeste ?
Si je la celebrois, le vulgaire menteur,
Babillard et causeur m’appelleroit flateur,
Et diroit que tousjours ma Muse est favorable
Vers ceux qui m’ont receu d’un visage amiable,
Comme toy, mon du Thier, à qui certes je suis
Deteur de tant de bien que payer ne te puis,
Si pour estre payé tu ne prens ceste Muse
Que j’envoye chez toy pour faire mon excuse.
Tu ne la mettras pas (s’il te plaist) à mespris :
La Muse fut jadis vers les Rois en grand pris :
Des peuples elle fut autre-fois adorée,
Et de toy par sus tous maintenant honorée.
 
Elle avecques Phœbus hardiment ose entrer
Dedans ton cabinet, à fin de te montrer
Ces vers mal-façonnez qu’humblement je te donne,
Et (avecques les vers) le cœur et la personne.
 
 
 
 
He who pays honour to Kings, pays honour to God.
Princes and Kings hold the highest place
After the deity; and he who reveres also
The servants of a King, honours the King himself.
It is true my dear du Thier, that a man like you
Is harder to celebrate than a King;
For the glory of Kings is a fertile subject,
And barely troubles a noble pen
Or a lively hope, if it has received such good fortune,
To make any effort if it is to sing their greatness.
 
On so fertile a theme, in abundance comes
Idea upon idea, which the Muse takes up
As in winter the streams which flow from a mountain
Rush on, running into the sea endlessly;
But to praise a lesser man, you need skill
Lest his virtue appear to be vice.
 
 
So it is, my dear du Thier, that the greatest honours
Which are shared in France by our greatest Lords,
Are also shared by you, and if I dared say it
To you alone ought we rightly ascribe them,
As in-born in yourself; but these gods of the Court
Clutch at my throat and quickly make me shut up!
 
 
 
As you often see in mines under ground,
Whether silver or iron mines, great pillars of stone
Which you can see hold up the mine with their arms
And labour hard, yet do not labour;
And there are other pillars which, far from the light, stand
Within corners far off, which hold up the whole mass of stone;
So great Lords, whether in war or peace,
High in worth, seem to carry the mass
Of France’s affairs on their wide shoulders,
And yet it is you who bears the burden of them.
 
 
 
 
If there arrives a packet from Italy, or further afield,
Maybe Corsica or Greece, or the ends of the Levant,
They will neatly open it, but you will have to take it
To your study afterwards to reply to the letter.
For just as the heavens maintain only one Sun,
France has only one du Thier who has no equal,
Whether for wisely dealing with foreigners
Or for cunningly replying to their packets;
For both in the low style and the high,
The grace of good French flows from your hand.
 
No man boasts of being happy in prose
Who does not set before his eyes as a clear example
Your writings and your style, and while exercising
His handwriting, does not work to imitate you.
 
They say that Geryon, who tripled the conquests
Of Hercules with his massive [body], was topped by three heads;
You have more than a thousand, or at least a thousand brains
All of which you engage in a thousand novel acts.
For whether the sun is leaving the origin
Of his home the Ocean, and hastening to its course
His chariot to which Aurora with her own fair hand
Harnessed the horses, drawn up beneath the reins;
Or whether at midday he is firing his rays upon us
And seeing everything [lying] directly beneath him;
Or whether stooping to drink, thirsty and worn out,
He is off to bathe again in the waves of the Ocean,
And handing his chariot to the care of the sea-gods,
Your mind has no rest, working ceaselessly,
Like your tongue, and your hand; the mind in inventing,
The hand in writing, the tongue in dictating
Some letter to your clerks; or you decipher, alone
And apart in your room, the riddles of the codes
Which some new-come messenger has handed over,
That the secrets of the King may not be known.
 
Here a German brings you news,
Here a Spaniard stands before your door;
English, Italian and Scots also
Crowd at your door and give you trouble;
One here, one there makes various requests;
Then you must sign what the King commands,
He who, weighing the effects of various arguments,
Hands you in under a day a thousand commandments
Of small, middling and great importance.
 
As well, you have charge of the great treasures of France:
Duties, tributes, loans, tithes and taxes
Do not leave a quarter-hour of rest for your mind
Which delights in completing a thousand different things,
And the more vigorous it is the more business it has.
Indeed. just as a fish is fed by the water it swims in,
And a salamander by the heat of a furnace,
You are happy in your work, and your youthful old age
Is fed on the work which never leaves you.
 
When you go in the morning to the King’s business
A mob of people bustle along after you
Hemming you in on this side and that
And calling into your ears all sorts of plans;
One hands you a petition, another tries to get you
To let him make some present to the King,
Another, approaching close to your ear,
Asks if his letter has been hurried forward;
One is angry at waiting, and never rests from
Always following you and making demands;
Another more graciously makes his bow to you,
And another begs you to keep him in mind;
In brief, the crowd presses on you and makes a great noise
All around you, like a torrent rushing
Bubbling through the bottom of stony valleys
When in Spring the snows have melted.
 
You have barely dined when you must go
To the Council, to hear them talk about business;
Then to the King’s bed-time, then as is your custom
You stay awake almost all night with your pen.
And so our King gives you a favourable
Greeting and cherishes you, and looks well on you,
As on he who makes the greatest efforts in France;
So does Montmorency, and Charles of Lorraine;
Nor them alone, but all the people, and those who have minds
Which can understand how much your writing is worth;
And myself above all, who from close by admire
Your virtue, which makes me write you this letter.
When a man raises himself up to these great gods,
Despising the little folk, becoming over-bold,
His heart puffed up with arrogance and glory,
He scorns everyone yet cannot believe
That he is a man, subject to the attacks
Of Fortune which may yet give him a nasty surprise;
In the end, for sure, a terrible storm
Of the King’s anger will ravage his head;
And the more he considers himself the equal of princes,
The more he’ll be made to swallow the laughter
Of the nameless throng, that he might be an example
Of pride struck down, to any eye that considers him.
 
 
 
But you, who have a mind free of envy and pride,
Who make a noble object of contemplation for the virtuous,
Who know how to act moderately when fortune is good,
Who are a noble man, who attacks no-one,
From day to day you find your happiness increased,
Your glory and honour prolonged,
Far from ambition, fraud and deception;
And that’s the reason why the people
Prize you, the people who never cease spying out
The vices of Lords, and identifying them,
And enjoy that: for “Of the things done
By the great, good or bad, the people is the clarion”;
And still they love you, and say that our King
Has no servant more diligent than you.
 
 
Your heart is not blighted by execrable vice
Of that filthy, mad and rapacious Avarice
Which draws the treasures of the whole world into its hand;
For since one must die, maybe tonight or tomorrow,
What’s the use of piling up so much cash in a chest?
Ah, since ungrateful Nature offers us only
The use while we live of her goods, why desire
So many possessions, why tear open
The earth’s belly, and loftily build
A proud Palace of marble and porphyry,
In which perhaps (o folly!) you will not live,
Taken first by death, and in which after your death
Some spendthrift child of the miserly father –
Young, foolish, debauched – will drink well,
Will spend, play, lose and fritter away the goods
Heaped up by his father, which cost him nothing?
For “all worldly goods, whatever you make,
Never remains to the third generation;
It slips away like chaff, when in summer months
The grain is thrown through the air, far from the winnowing basket.”
But above all, my dear du Thier, I jealously desire
That freedom, the nursemaid of your life,
The fine words you speak, your uncomplicated spirit
So quick and noble, so jolly and lively,
Which learnedly gifts your verse with its imagination
Making you like that Poetry of ours.
 
You are not only a most perfect Poet,
But if in our tongue a noble spirit writes
An epigram or sonnet, epistle or elegy,
You immediately extend your favour to him
And without deceiving him put him in a position of honour
Close to a Cardinal, a Prince or a Lord;
That cannot come from anything but a noble courage,
And a well-born man; as witness of this I have
Salel, and all those who in past years
Were close to the late King, advanced by their Muse.
 
 
I do not want to allow the brief passage
Of a few years to forget the good that you’ve done me lately;
But also I do not want to allow a great and beautiful act
To pass into the grave, which you did for two Greeks,
Two poor strangers who, banished from Greece,
Brought to the French Court their plea,
Unknown and without influence, full of care and concern,
Hoping to gain support from a Prince or a King.
But they got the opposite. O princes, what shame
For a people so blessed, alas, to pay no attention!
They were left practically to die of hunger,
Shamefully to beg for their wretched bread,
When in their extremity bringing a rare treasure
They addressed themselves to you: it was an unknown book
Of old Pindar, and a new book
Of noble Simonides awoken from the tomb.
You then, like a courteous, benign and good-natured man,
Not only made sure to hasten on their business
But also repaid them with plenty of money
For those books, which had outlasted so many centuries
And which bore on their front edge as guide
The great name of Pindar and great Simonides,
With which you have adorned the sumptuous house
At Beau-Regard, your own work, and with them made it more beautiful
Than if the despoiled lands of the Asians
Had given you as a gift their blighted decorations.
 
Why am I pleased, me a Frenchman, at the good deeds
Which you did for these Greek visitors liberally,
And yet don’t value that generous favour
Which I received from the King lately at your request?
If I celebrated that, the vulgar liar,
Gossiper and chatterer would call me a flatterer
And say that my Muse is always favourable
To those who have received me with friendly face
Like you, my dear du Thier, to whom I am certainly
A debtor for so many benefits I cannot repay you –
Unless to be paid you accept this Muse
Whom I am sending you to make my excuses.
You will not scorn her, please;
That Muse was previously greatly prized by Kings,
And by nations she was in past times adored,
And is by you above all honoured now.
 
She with Phoebus bravely dares enter
Your study, in order to show you
These poorly-formed verses which humbly I give you,
And, with the verses, my heart and person.
 
 
A huge panegyric today. Though the sentiments are as fawning as usual in this genre of poetry, the poetry itself is wonderfully muscular and flexible.
 
Inevitably there are a few classical references, but Ronsard carefully explains them as he goes.  I could add that Geryon was a three-headed monster slain by Hercules, but Ronsard has already made that clear. (Blanchemain adds that this stanza was suppressed, but only in posthumous editions.) Pindar and Simonides? No-one seems to be able to identify the ‘poor Greeks’ bringing gifts, nor therefore the gifts they brought. Pindar and Simonides were both highly-regarded in Hellenistic Greece as lyric poets, though their works survive in fragments so to some extent we need to accept their judgement: new manuscripts of theirs would indeed be highly-prized by scholars.
 
In the stanza before the Greeks bearing gifts, Ronsard calls to witness ‘Salel’: this is Hugues Salel, abbé de Saint-Cheron. He is known for undertaking the first translation of the Iliad into French – sadly incomplete, but finished by Amadis Jamyn – at the request of François I (who is the ‘late king’ referred to a line or two later).
 
Inevitably there are a few variants between editions. Here are Blanchemain’s, which are (as you can see) minor:
 
In the first stanza,
 
Il est vray, mon Du Thier, qu’un seigneur comme toy
Donne plus de travail à celebrer qu’un Roy;
Car la gloire des Roys en sujet est fertille,
Et ne travaille guère une plume gentille,
Ny un esprit gaillard, s’il a reçeu tant d’heur
Que de ne s’effrayer de chanter leur grandeur
 
 
                                                                                         It is true my dear du Thier, that a lord like you
                                                                                         Is harder to celebrate than a King;
                                                                                         For the glory of Kings is a fertile subject,
                                                                                         And barely troubles a noble pen
                                                                                         Or a lively mind, if it has received such good fortune,
                                                                                         To have any fear if it is to sing their greatness.
 
 
In the Geryon stanza:
 
Il s’aille rebaigner aux flots de l’océan
Et que son char en garde aux Dieux marins il baille,
Ton esprit n’a repos, qui sans cesse travaille
Et ta langue et ta main : l’esprit en inventant,
La main en escrivant, et la langue en dictant
Quelque lettre à tes clercs ; ou secret tu dechiffres
Dedans ta chambre à part les enigmes de chiffres …
 
 
                                                                                         He is off to bathe again in the waves of the Ocean,
                                                                                         And handing his chariot to the care of the sea-gods,
                                                                                         Your mind has no rest, working ceaselessly,
                                                                                         Like your tongue, and your hand; the mind in inventing,
                                                                                         The hand in writing, the tongue in dictating
                                                                                         Some letter to your clerks; or you decipher, hidden
                                                                                         And apart in your room, the riddles of codes …
 
A couple of stanzas later,
 
Ainsi comme un poisson se nourrit en son eau,
Et une salemandre au brasier d’un fourneau,
Tu te plais en ta peine …
 
                                                                                         So as a fish is fed by the water it swims in,
                                                                                         And a salamander by the heat of a furnace,
                                                                                         You are happy in your work …
 
 
A couple of stanzas further on, in the stanza about Council meetings after dinner,
 
Quand un homme s’éléve auprés de ces grands Dieux,
Il devient bien souvent superbe, audacieux, …
 
                                                                                         When a man raises himself up to these great gods,
                                                                                         He very often becomes proud, over-bold, …
 
 
Then, at the end of the stanza about the Greeks bringing Pindar and Simonides,
 
Toy lors comme Courtois, benin et debonnaire,
Tu ne fis seulement dépescher leur affaire ;
Mais tu recompensas avec beaucoup d’escus
Ces livres qui avoient tant de siecles vaincus,
Et qui portoient au front de la marge pour guide
Ce grand nom de Pindare, et du grand Simonide,
Desquels tu as orné le somptueux chasteau
De Beauregard, ton œuvre, et l’en as fait plus beau
Que si Rome fouillant ses terres despouillées
En don t’eust envoyé ses medailles rouillées.
 
 
                                                                                        You then, like a courteous, benign and good-natured man,
                                                                                        Not only made sure to hasten on their business
                                                                                        But also repaid them with plenty of money
                                                                                        For those books, which had outlasted so many centuries
                                                                                        And which bore on their front edge as guide
                                                                                        The great name of Pindar and great Simonides,
                                                                                        With which you have adorned the sumptuous house
                                                                                        At Beau-Regard, your own work, and with them made it more beautiful
                                                                                        Than if Rome, ransacking its despoiled lands
                                                                                        Had sent you as a gift their blighted decorations.
 
 
And then finally in the penultimate stanza,
 
Debteur de tant de bien que payer ne le puis …
 
                                                                                        A debtor for so many benefits I cannot repay them …
 
 
 
 [ PS  my 500th post! ]
 
 
 
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