Amours 1: “To his book”

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It would be silly to leave the 1st book of Amours without including the 2 dedicatory sonnets Ronsard included at the front of the book. The first of these is his “Sonnet to his book” (in Blanchemain’s edition headed “The Author to his Book”).

 

Va Livre, va, desboucle la barriere,
Lasche la bride, et asseure ta peur,
Ne doute point par un chemin si seur
D’un pied venteux em-poudrer la carriere :
 
Vole bien tost, j’entens desja derriere
De mes suivans l’envieuse roideur
Opiniastre à devancer l’ardeur
Qui me poussoit en ma course premiere.
 
Mais non, arreste, et demeure en ton rang,
Bien que mon cœur bouillonne d’un beau sang,
Fort de genoux, d’haleine encore bonne :
 
Livre cesson d’acquerir plus de bien,
Sans nous fascher si la belle couronne
Du Laurier serre autre front que le mien.
 
 
 
 
.                                                                            Go, my book, unlock the gate,
.                                                                            Loose the reins, calm your fears,
.                                                                            Don’t be concerned, on so safe a road,
.                                                                            To make your journey dusty with wind-like feet ;
 
.                                                                           Fly quickly, I hear already behind us
.                                                                            The envious persistence of my pursuers,
.                                                                            Eager to outstrip the ardour
.                                                                            Which urged me first on this course.
 
.                                                                            But no – stop, stay in your place,
.                                                                            Though my heart seethes and my blood is up,
.                                                                            My knees are strong, my wind still good ;
 
.                                                                            My book, let’s not gather any more honours,
.                                                                            And stop worrying whether the fair crown
.                                                                            Of laurel will press upon brows other than mine.
 
 
Typically honest, bold, proud – and at the same time disarmingly charming – Ronsard points out that he already has plenty of fame & awards: so, no need to worry whether this book will gather more, just let it go and let others judge…  (The laurel crown is of course the traditional classical prize for a victor; I was delighted to find recently that students in Italy still get a laurel crown to wear at their graduation!!)
 
Also typically, Blanchemain’s version is considerably different: Ronsard re-worked his dedicatory epistles as much as any other verse he wrote.
 
 
Va Livre, va, desboucle la carrière,
Lasche la bride, et asseure ta peur ;
En cependant que le chemin est seur,
D’un pied venteux empoudre la carriere :
 
Vole bien tost, j’entens desja derriere
De mes suivans l’envieuse roideur
Opiniastre à devancer l’ardeur
Qui m’esperonne en ma course premiere.
 
Mais non, demeure, et n’avance en ton rang,
Bien que je sois eschauffé d’un beau sang,
Fort de genoux, d’haleine encore bonne :
 
Livre cessons d’acquerir plus de bien,
Sans nous fascher si la belle couronne
De Laurier serre autre front que le mien.
 
 
.                                                                            Go, my book, off on your journey,
.                                                                            Loose the reins, calm your fears,
.                                                                            And while the road is safe,
.                                                                            Make your journey dusty with wind-like feet ;
 
.                                                                            Fly quickly, I hear already behind us
.                                                                            The envious persistence of my pursuers,
.                                                                            Eager to outstrip the ardour
.                                                                            Which spurred me first on this course.
 
.                                                                            But no – stay, don’t march forward,
.                                                                            Though I am on fire with my blood up,
.                                                                            My knees are strong, my wind still good ;
 
.                                                                            My book, let’s not gather any more honours,
.                                                                            And stop worrying whether the fair crown
.                                                                            Of laurel will press upon brows other than mine.
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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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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