Amours 1.224

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Bien que ton trait, Amour, soit rigoureux,
Et toy remply de fraude et de malice,
Assez, Amour, en te faisant service,
Suyvant ton camp, j’ay vescu bien-heureux.
 
Ceste beauté qui me fait langoureux,
Non, mais qui veut qu’en vain je ne languisse,
En la baisant me dit que je tondisse
De son poil d’or un lien amoureux.
 
J’euz tant d’honneur, que de son ciseau mesme
Je le tranchay. Voyez l’amour extresme,
Voyez, Amans, la grandeur de mon bien.
 
Jamais ne soit, qu’en mes vers je n’honore
Et le ciseau, et les cheveux encore,
L’un mon ministre, et l’autre mon lien.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            Though your wound, Love, is harsh
                                                                            And you are full of trickery and malice,
                                                                            I have lived happily enough, Love, in doing you
                                                                            Service and following your train.
 
                                                                            That beauty who makes me pine –
                                                                            Or rather wishes me to pine in vain –
                                                                            As I kissed her told me I could clip
                                                                            From her golden locks a lover’s band.
 
                                                                            I cut it off with her own scissors –
                                                                            So honoured was I. See this extreme love,
                                                                            See, lovers, her great goodness.
 
                                                                            May I never forget to honour in my verse
                                                                            Both the scissors and the hair also,
                                                                            One my helper, the other my bond.
 
 
Simplicity rather than complexity from Ronsard here. Yet the poem is the result of considerable work and re-working. Indeed some of that re-working has obscured the flow of thought: in this late version, there is a sort of disjuncture between the opening and the remainder – somehow, the second quatrain does not seem to link obviously with the first. We must, I think, take it as saying “I’ve lived happily enough for a  long time … For instance, just now something good happened”?  The earlier version, below, joins the quatrains together simply with ‘because’ (“I’ve lived happily enough for a  long time – because just now something good happened”) but that really doesn’t make too much sense. Furthermore, the timeline reads oddly in this version too, precisely because it doesn’t say ‘just now something good happened’ – rather it says “I’ve lived happily enough for a  long time … [For instance], [at some unspecified point] one good thing happened”; this at least is a loss compared with the earlier version which places the event firmly in time (“last night”).
 
Overall, it’s just a slightly weaker connection than usual in Ronsard’s poetic thought.  That said, of course, the overall effect of the poem remains striking, partly because of its apparent simplicity and apparent artlessness.
 
Blanchemain’s version has minor variants throughout, occasionally better than the later adjustments:
 
 
Bien que ton trait, Amour, soit rigoureux,
Et toy remply de fraude et de malice,
Assez, Amour, en te faisant service,
Plus qu’on ne croit j’ay vescu bien-heureux :
 
Car la beauté qui me fait langoureux,
Non, mais qui veut qu’en vain je ne languisse,
Hier au soir me dit que je tondisse
De son poil d’or un lien amoureux.
 
J’eu tant d’honneur, que de son ciseau mesme
Je le tranchay. Voyez l’amour extresme,
Voyez, Amans, la grandeur de mon bien !
 
Jamais ne soit, qu’en mes vers je n’honore
Ce doux ciseau, et ce beau poil encore,
Qui mon cœur presse en un si doux lien !
 
 
                                                                                       Though your wound, Love, is harsh
                                                                                       And you are full of trickery and malice,
                                                                                       I have lived happily enough, Love, in doing you
                                                                                       Service, more than anyone might believe.
 
                                                                                       For the beauty who makes me pine –
                                                                                       Or rather wishes me to pine in vain –
                                                                                       Last evening told me I could clip
                                                                                       From her golden locks a lover’s band.
 
                                                                                       I cut it off with her own scissors –
                                                                                       So honoured was I. See this extreme love,
                                                                                       See, lovers, her great goodness.
 
                                                                                       May I never forget to honour in my verse
                                                                                       Those sweet scissors and those fair locks also,
                                                                                       Which hold my heart in so sweet a bond.
  
 
I’ve already mentioned the changes in the second quatrain, one an improvement, the other less so. I suspect ‘hier soir’ disappeared because the older Ronsard found it too colloquial! The ending also shows the older Ronsard setting up his paired image over two lines – which, though longer, is in some ways less insistent than the repetition in the older line 13, and at the same time tidies up the rather odd thought that scissors might create, rather than dissolve, a bond.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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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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