Amours 1.191

Bien que les champs, les fleuves et les lieux,
Les monts, les bois, que j’ay laissez derriere,
Me tiennent loin de ma douce guerriere,
Astre fatal d’où s’escoule mon mieux :
Quelque Démon par le congé des Cieux,
Qui presidoit à mon ardeur premiere,
Conduit tousjours d’une aisle coustumiere
Sa belle image au sejour de mes yeux.
Toutes les nuicts impatient de haste,
Entre mes bras je rembrasse et retaste
Son vain portrait en cent formes trompeur :
Mais quand il voit que content je sommeille,
Rompant mon bien s’envole, et me resveille
Seul en mon lict plein de honte et de peur.
                                                                            Although the fields, rivers and places,
                                                                            Hills and woods that I have left behind
                                                                            Keep me far from my sweet warrior,
                                                                            The deadly star from whom all that’s best for me flows;
                                                                            By heaven’s leave some demon
                                                                            Who presided over my initial ardour
                                                                            Still leads with his accustomed wing
                                                                            Her fair image to its lodging in my eyes.
                                                                            Every night, impatient with eagerness,
                                                                            Within my arms I embrace again, touch again,
                                                                            Her empty image in a hundred deceptive forms;
                                                                            But when he sees that I sleep contentedly,
                                                                            Shattering my happiness he flies off, and I wake
                                                                            Alone in my bed, full of shame and fear.
A lovely poem; the final line, though, just raises a little question mark in my mind. Fear of what? And what is it that Ronsard is ‘ashamed’ of in his contented dreams? With a modern sensibility it’s easy to think of physical reactions to his dreams which might embarrass him, even make him afraid of his own ardour. But is sixteenth-century Ronsard saying that, or just being embarrassed/fearful at falling for the dream’s deception?
In the earlier version Blanchemain prints, the final tercet adds (much more conventional) ‘regret’ to his feelings but clarifies nothing:
Mais quand il void que content je sommeille,
Moquant mes bras, il s’enfuit et m’eveille,
Plein de regret, de vergogne et de peur. 
                                                                            But when he sees that I sleep contentedly,
                                                                            Mocking my arms he flees and awakens me
                                                                            Filled with regret, shame and fear.
(And so we complete the first 200 sonnets of Amours 1: an updated complete text so far will be available shortly.)

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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