Amours 1.219

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Depuis le jour que captif je souspire,
Comme un serpent l’an s’est tourné sept fois :
(Sous astre tel je pris l’haim) toutesfois
Plus qu’au premier ma fiévre me martire.
 
Quand je soulois en mon estude lire
Du Florentin les lamentables vois,
Comme incredule alors je ne pouvois
En le mocquant, me contenir de rire.
 
Je ne pensoy, tant novice j’estoy,
Qu’homme eust senti ce que je ne sentoy,
Et par mon fait les autres je jugeoye.
 
Mais l’Archerot qui de moy se facha,
Pour me punir un tel traict me cacha
Dedans le cœur, qu’onque puis je n’eus joye.
 
 
 
                                                                            Since the day I sighed in captivity
                                                                            The year has turned, like a serpent, seven times :
                                                                            Beneath such a star I hooked myself. Yet
                                                                            More than at first my fever tortures me.
 
                                                                            When I used to read in my study
                                                                            The Florentine’s lamenting voice,
                                                                            Like a disbeliever then I could not,
                                                                            Mocking him, restrain my laughter.
 
                                                                            I did not think, such a novice was I,
                                                                            That man could have felt what I did not feel,
                                                                            And by my actions I judged others.
 
                                                                            But the little Archer, angry with me,
                                                                            To punish me buried such a wound
                                                                            Within my heart that since then I’ve had no happiness.
 
 
 
Perhaps this is the nearest Ronsard gets to admitting that he set out complaining about the fashion for frivolous love sonnets, and writing classical odes instead, but then ended up writing this collection of over 200 to establish himself!
 
The ‘Florentine’ of line 6 is of course Petrarch, born in Arezzo but brought up just outside Florence.
 
In revising his earlier version, Ronsard very neatly made one change in each ‘stanza’ [though to be fair one is really only a minor change in the mood of a verb]. All are only changes of detail, though each is a small but valuable improvement. So here’s the whole poem again in that earlier version:
 
 
Depuis le jour que captif je souspire,
L’an dedans soi s’est tourné sept fois :
(Sous astre tel je pris l’haim) toutesfois
Plus qu’au premier ma fiévre me martire.
 
Quand je soulois en ma jeunesse lire
Du Florentin les lamentables vois,
Comme incredule alors je ne pouvois
En Ie mocquant, me contenir de rire.
 
Je ne pensois, tant novice j’estoy,
Qu’homme eust senti ce que je ne sentoy,
Et par mon fait les autres je jugeoye.
 
Mais l’Archerot qui de moy se facha,
Pour me punir un tel soin me cacha
Dedans le cœur, qu’onque puis je n’eus joye.
 
 
 
                                                                            Since the day I sighed in captivity
                                                                            The year upon itself has turned seven times :
                                                                            Beneath such a star I hooked myself. Yet
                                                                            More than at first my fever tortures me.
 
                                                                            When I used to read in my youth
                                                                            The Florentine’s lamenting voice,
                                                                            Like a disbeliever then I could not,
                                                                            Mocking him, restrain my laughter.
 
                                                                            I did not think, such a novice was I,
                                                                            That man could have felt what I did not feel,
                                                                            And by my actions I judged others.
 
                                                                            But the little Archer, angry with me,
                                                                            To punish me buried such care
                                                                            Within my heart that since then I’ve had no happiness.
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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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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