Escaping one day the knot of its scarfScattered over the breast which I adore. Oh, my heart! In vain I tried to recall it, As it flew among it just like a little bird Which enwraps itself in leaves inside a bush Winging from branch to branch at its pleasure. Then, look, ten fair ivory fingers Gathering up the golden blond strands Bound it in their nets, a captive slave. I would have cried out, but the fear I had Froze my senses, my lungs and my voice ; And yet they stole my heart from me. Note however the change in line 7: “S’en feuillant” is a marvellous Ronsardian coinage – ‘enwrapping in leaves’ – which he replaces with the more mundane “S’en volant” in old age only because he has by then rejected such showy enthusiasms of his youth. This is one of Ronsard’s translations from the Italian: as Muret says in his edition, “the fiction of this sonnet is taken from Bembo’s sonnet … “. Yet, to be truthful, Ronsard does much more than take ‘the fiction’ (the imagery) of this sonnet from Bembo, it is in fact a genuine translation, very closely following the original – and yet at the same time very much a poem by Ronsard. This is the true art of translation – and it is a job for true poets. (If I, once again, emphasise that my only aim in providing an English version of Ronsard is to make his meaning accessible, losing much of the poetry and feel of the original, I’d also like to point out that here Ronsard’s close translation of Bembo also results in a different ‘feel’. The new poem is a French poem, not a translation of an Italian one: the two have a different feel, because of the different languages and different objectives of the writers. Bembo’s is a little stiff, almost ‘mannerist’ rather than ‘humanist’ in its careful use of poetical topoi and the way it seems to encourage the reader to stand back and admire the workmanship. Ronsard does this too at one level, but his great achievement is to write poetry that operates within such closely-defined images and forms, yet is at the same time more immediate and engaging and ‘real’.) Bembo – ‘Rime’ 9 Di que’ bei crin, che tanto più sempre amo, Quanto maggior mio mal nasce da loro, Sciolto era il nodo, che del bel tesoro M’asconde quel, ch’io più di mirar bramo ; E ‘l cor, che ‘ndarno or, lasso, a me richiamo, Volò subitamente in quel dolce oro, E fe’ come augellin tra verde alloro, Ch’a suo diletto va di ramo in ramo. Quando ecco due man belle oltre misura, Raccogliendo le treccie al collo sparse, Strinservi dentro lui, che v’era involto. Gridai ben io, ma le voci fe’ scarse Il sangue, che gelò per la paura : Intanto il cor mi fu legato e tolto. Of those fair tresses that ever I love more and more, (How much greater from them grows my pain!) The knot was loosed, which hid from me the part Of that fair treasure, which I desire more than sight; And my heart, which indeed in vain – alas – I recall Flew suddenly into that sweet gold And behaved like a little bird in a green bay-tree Which hops at its pleasure from branch to branch. Then, behold! Two hands, fair beyond measure, Gathering the braids scattered on her neck Bundled it up what was mine within them. I groaned indeed, but my voice was feeble – My blood, which froze in fear, made it so. Meanwhile, my heart was tied up and taken.