Amours 1.183

Standard
Au fond d’un val esmaillé tout au rond
De mille fleurs, de loin j’avisay celle,
Dont la beauté dedans mon cœur se cele,
Et les douleurs m’apparoissent au front :
 
De bois touffus voyant le lieu profond,
J’armay mon cœur d’asseurance nouvelle,
Pour luy chanter les maux que j’ay pour elle,
Et les tourmens que ses beaux yeux me font.
 
En cent façons desja ma foible langue
Estudioit sa premiere harangue,
Pour soulager de mes peines le faix :
 
Quand un Centaure envieux de ma vie,
L’ayant en croppe, au galop l’a ravie,
Me laissant seul et mes cris imparfais.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            At the bottom of a vale dotted all round
                                                                            With a thousand flowers, from far off I saw her,
                                                                            The one whose beauty conceals itself in my heart
                                                                            While sadness appears on my brow:
 
                                                                            Seeing the spot deep in bushy woods
                                                                            I armed my heart with new confidence
                                                                            To sing her the ills I suffer for her
                                                                            And the torments her fair eyes give me.
 
                                                                            In a hundred ways already my feeble tongue
                                                                            Was trying out its first lecture
                                                                            To soften the burden of my troubles,
 
                                                                            When a Centaur, jealous of my life,
                                                                            Took her off at the gallop, sitting on his back,
                                                                            And left me alone and my cries unfinished.
 
 
 
A tragi-comic mood from Ronsard today: he builds up the expectation as he summons his courage to sing of love, or at least announce himself to his lady – who is then swept away by another, leaving our poet rather comically stranded. And it’s a mythological ‘other’, as well, consistent with the heightened tone of the poem b ut not perhaps with everyday reality. Is Ronsard relating a mini-myth, or telling us a poetic version of a true story? He leaves us in doubt. Muret didn’t seem to see the joke, or at least wanted to rationalise it, and explained that the ‘centaur’ in the final tercet is what Ronsard calls ‘the one who carries off his lady on his crupper’, i.e. just an ordinary rival on horseback, rather than a mythological one. I prefer Ronsard’s amused ambiguity to Muret’s prosaic rationalising…
 
Blanchemain offers a number of minor variants, mostly showing that in the later version above Ronsard was doing the usual things: replacing exclamations etc which are only there for metrical reasons, and so improving the poetry; or looking for different vocabulary; or (perhaps) looking for a more learned effect. I’d put the change in line 1 in that category: the later “Au fond,…” has the ‘merit’ of providing an internal rhyme (with “rond” at the end of the line) and alliteration with the “fleurs” at the beginning of line 2; but I have to say I prefer “Au coeur”…!
 
 
Au cœur d’un val esmaillé tout au rond
De mille fleurs, de loin j’avisay celle
Dont la beauté dedans mon cœur se cele,
Et les douleurs m’apparoissent au front.
 
Des bois touffus voyant le lieu profond,
J’armay mon cœur d’asseurance nouvelle
Pour luy chanter les maux que j’ay pour elle
Et les tourmens que ses beaux yeux me font.
 
En cent façons desja, desja ma langue
Avant-pensoit l’amoureuse harangue,
Jà soulageant de mes peines le faix,
 
Quand un Centaure, envieux de ma vie,
L’ayant en croppe, au galop l’a ravie,
Me laissant seul et mes cris imparfaits.
 
 
                                                                            At the heart of a vale dotted all round
                                                                            With a thousand flowers, from far off I saw her,
                                                                            The one whose beauty conceals itself in my heart
                                                                            While sadness appears on my brow:
 
                                                                            Seeing the spot deep in the bushy woods
                                                                            I armed my heart with new confidence
                                                                            To sing her the ills I suffer for her
                                                                            And the torments her fair eyes give me.
 
                                                                            In a hundred ways already now my tongue
                                                                            Was planning out its lecture of love,
                                                                            Already softening the burden of my troubles,
 
                                                                            When a Centaur, jealous of my life,
                                                                            Took her off at the gallop, sitting on his back,
                                                                            And left me alone and my cries unfinished.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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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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