Amours 1.209

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L’Homme a la teste ou de plomb ou de bois,
S’il ne tressaut de crainte et de merveille,
Quand face à face il voit ma non-pareille,
Ou quand il oit les accords de sa voix :
 
Ou quand, pensive, aux jours des plus beaux mois
Amour tout seul seulette la conseille
Par les jardins, et d’une main vermeille
Faire un bouquet des fleurettes de chois :
 
Ou quand l’Esté, lors que le chaud s’avale,
Au soir à l’huis l’apperçoit qu’elle egale
La soye à l’or d’un pouce ingenieux :
 
Puis de ses doigts qui les roses effacent,
Toucher son Luth, et d’un tour de ses yeux
Piller les cueurs de mille hommes qui passent.
 
 
 
                                                                            A man has a head made of lead or wood
                                                                            If he does not start from fear and wonder
                                                                            When he sees face to face my unequalled lady
                                                                            Or when he hears the harmony of her voice ;
 
                                                                            Or when, pensive in the fairest months,
                                                                            Love and Love alone advises her alone
                                                                            In the gardens, and with a rosy hand
                                                                            Makes a bouquet from the choicest blooms ;
 
                                                                            Or when in the summer, when the heat abates
                                                                            In the evening, he notices her by the door as she makes
                                                                            Silk like gold with her clever fingers ;
 
                                                                            Then with her fingers which are pinker than roses
                                                                            Playing her lute, and with a glance of her eyes
                                                                            Stealing the hearts of a thousand passing men. 
 
 
 
 
Here’s another side of Ronsard, the poet who can bounce from the ridiculous to the sublime in the blink of an eye. This opening is hardly the stuff great poems are meant to be made of – but how arresting it is, and how smoothly it segues into the beautifully-made and very visual images of Cassandre.
 
Blanchemain’s earlier version has a slightly less arresting opening, a slightly less ‘ridiculous’ point from which to transition; and the image that follows is a little less sure.
 
 
L’homme est vraiment ou de plomb ou de bois,
S’il ne tressaut de crainte et de merveille,
Quand face à face il void ma non-pareille,
Ou quand il oyt les accords de sa voix ;
 
Ou quand, pensive, aux jours des plus beaux mois,
La voit à part (comme un qui se conseille)
Tracer les prés, et d’une main vermeille
Tirer de rang les fleurettes de choix ;
 
Ou quand, l’esté, lorsque le chaud s’avale,
Au soir, à l’huys il la void qu’elle egale
La soye à l’or d’un pouce ingenieux ;
 
Puis de ses doits, qui les roses effacent,
Toucher son luth, et d’un tour de ses yeux
Piller les cœurs de mille hommes qui passent.  
 
 
 
                                                                            A man is truly made of lead or wood
                                                                            If he does not start from fear and wonder
                                                                            When he sees face to face my unequalled lady
                                                                            Or when he hears the harmony of her voice ;
 
                                                                            Or when he sees her alone, pensive,
                                                                            In the fairest months, as if taking counsel with herself,
                                                                            Crossing the meadows and with her rosy hand
                                                                            Picking from their rows the choicest blooms ;
 
                                                                            Or when in the summer, when the heat abates
                                                                            In the evening, he sees her by the door as she makes
                                                                            Silk like gold with her clever fingers ;
 
                                                                            Then with her fingers which are pinker than roses
                                                                            Playing her lute, and with a glance of her eyes
                                                                            Stealing the hearts of a thousand passing men. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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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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