Amours 1.216

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Amour, que j’aime à baiser les beaux yeux
De ma maistresse, et à tordre en ma bouche
De ses cheveux l’or fin qui s’escarmouche
Dessus son front astré comme les cieux !
 
C’est à mon gré le meilleur de son mieux
Que son bel œil, qui jusqu’au cœur me touche,
Dont le beau nœud d’un Scythe plus farouche
Rendroit le cœur courtois et gracieux.
 
Son beau poil d’or, et ses sourcis encore
De leurs beautez font vergoingner l’Aurore,
Quand au matin elle embellit le jour.
 
Dedans son œil une vertu demeure,
Qui va jurant par les fleches d’Amour
De me guarir : mais je ne m’en asseure.
 
 
 
                                                                            Love, how I love kissing the beautiful eyes
                                                                            Of my mistress, and twisting in my mouth
                                                                            The fine gold of her hair which skirmishes
                                                                            Over her brow, starry like the heavens!
 
                                                                            In my opinion, the best of her best
                                                                            Is her fair eye, which touches me deep in my heart,
                                                                            And her fair Scythian knot, still wilder,
                                                                            Makes my heart courteous and graceful.
 
                                                                            Her fair golden hair, her eyebrows too
                                                                            With their beauties make the Dawn blush
                                                                            When in the morning she beautifies the day.
 
                                                                            Within her eye lives a power
                                                                            Which keeps swearing by Love’s arrows
                                                                            To cure me; but I won’t rely on it.
 
 
 
Again, Ronsard takes tropes he’s ued and re-used many times, and makes something fresh and vibrant out of them. I do like this poem, and the ending especially wraps up a marvellous complex of feelings both positive and negative about the condition of love in just a few words.
 
 Although the earlier version shares a recognisable set of ideas with this later version, in detail it is a different poem! (Fortunately, the different opening words signal there’s change to watch out for.) Note how some re-punctuation around line 7’s Scythian completely shifts the meaning.
 
 
Mon Dieu, que j’aime à baiser les beaux yeux
De ma maistresse, et à tordre en ma bouche
De ses cheveux l’or fin qui s’escarmouche
Si gayement dessus deux petits cieux !
 
C’est à mon gré ce qui lui sied le mieux
Que ce bel œil, qui jusqu’au cœur me touche,
Et ce beau poil, qui d’un Scythe farouche
Prendroit le cœur en ses plis gracieux.
 
Ses longs cheveux, et ses sourcis encore
De leurs beautez font vergongner l’Aurore,
Quand plus crineuse elle embellit le ciel,
 
Et dans cet œil je ne sais quoi demeure
Qui me peut faire en amour à toute heure
Le sucre fiel et le riagas miel. 
 
 
                                                                            My god, how I love kissing the beautiful eyes
                                                                            Of my mistress, and twisting in my mouth
                                                                            The fine gold of her hair which skirmishes
                                                                            So gaily above those two small heavens.
 
                                                                            In my opinion, the things which suit her best,
                                                                            Are that fair eye, which touches me deep in my heart,
                                                                            And that beautiful hair, which would seize the heart
                                                                            Of a wild Scythian in its graceful folds.
 
                                                                            Her long hair, her eyebrows too
                                                                            With their beauties make the Dawn blush
                                                                            When with hair spread wide she beautifies the sky.
 
                                                                            And in that eye lives some unknown
                                                                            Bitter sugar and honey-sweet poison
                                                                            Which can make me be in love all the time. 
 
 
Blanchemain also offers us another complete re-write of the final tercet, from 1587 (Marty-Laveaux’s is the 1584 text), which shows that Ronsard never really felt any of his poems, even the delightfully-good ones, were a finished statement:
 
En son œil vole une image vestue
D’aile et de traits : je croy que c’est Amour,
Je le cognois, il me blesse, il me tue. 
 
                                                                            In her eye floats an image clothed
                                                                            With wings and barbs; I believe it is Love,
                                                                            I recognise him – he wounds me, he kills me.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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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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