Interlude (2)

Standard

Continuing the brief series of multi-variant poems, let’s look at no.2 in the 1st book of Amours…. Here there are fewer variant versions, and it’s noticeable that the poem had a 25-year run before Ronsard began adjusting! Quite what made him begin then is – well, your theory is as good as mine. Note that he reversed some of the 1578 changes in 1584 (marked in blue).  Again, there are some ‘posthumous’ variants from the edition Ronsard was working on when he died.

1552
 
Nature ornant la dame qui devoyt
De sa douceur forcer les plus rebelles,
Luy fit present des beautez les plus belles,
Que des mille ans en espargne elle avoyt.
 
Tout ce qu’Amour avarement couvoyt,
De beau, de chaste, et d’honneur soubz ses ailles,
Emmiella les graces immortelles
De son bel oeil qui les dieux emouvoyt.
 
Du ciel à peine elle estoyt descendue,
Quand je la vi, quand mon ame ésperdue
En devint folle: et d’un si poignant trait,
 
Le fier destin l’engrava dans mon ame,
Que vif ne mort, jamais d’une aultre dame
Empraint au cuoeur je n’auray le portraict.
 
 
 
Nature, adorning the lady who ought
By her sweetness to compel the most mutinous,
Made her a gift of the most lovely of beautiful features
Which she had been keeping in her closet for a thousand years.
 
Everything which Cupid avariciously brewed
Of beauty, chastity and honour beneath his wings
Sweetened the immortal grace
Of her beautiful eyes, which moved the gods themselves.
 
Scarcely had she come down from heaven
When I saw her, when my desperate soul
Became crazy for her: and with such a sharp wound
 
Did proud Fate engrave her on my soul
That living or dead, I shall never have the portrait
Of any other lady imprinted on my heart.
1578
 
Nature ornant Cassandre, qui devoyt
De sa douceur forcer les plus rebelles,
Luy fit present des beautez les plus belles,
Que des mille ans en espargne elle avoyt
 
De tous les biens qu’Amour-oiseau couvoyt,
Au plus beau Ciel cherement sous ses ailles,
Il enrichit les graces immortelles
De l’œil son Nyc [=nid], qui les dieux emouvoyt.
 
Du ciel à peine elle estoyt descendue,
Quand je la vi, quand mon ame ésperdue
Perdit raison, et d’un si poignant trait,
 
Le fier destin la poussa dans mes veines,
Qu’autres plaisirs je ne sens que mes peines,
Ny autre bien qu’adorer son portrait.
 
 
 
Nature, adorning Cassandre who ought
By her sweetness to compel the most mutinous,
Made her a gift of the most lovely of beautiful features
Which she had been keeping in her closet for a thousand years.
 
With all the good things which the Love-bird brewed,
So dear to him, under his wings in beautiful Heaven
He enriched the immortal grace
Of his nest, her eyes, which moved the gods themselves.
 
Scarcely had she come down from heaven
When I saw her, when my desperate soul
Lost its reason: and with such a sharp blow
 
Did proud Fate drive her into my veins
That other pleasures than my pains I feel not,
Nor any good but worshipping her portrait.
 
1584
 
Nature ornant Cassandre, qui devoyt
De sa douceur forcer les plus rebelles,
La composa de cent beautez nouvelles,
Que des mille ans en espargne elle avoyt
 
De tous les biens qu’Amour-oiseau couvoyt,
Au plus beau Ciel cherement sous ses ailles,
Elle enrichit les graces immortelles
De son bel oeil qui les dieux emouvoyt.
 
Du ciel à peine elle estoyt descendue,
Quand je la vi, quand mon ame ésperdue
En devint folle: et d’un si poignant trait,
 
Amour coula ses beautez en mes veines,
Qu’autres plaisirs je ne sens que mes peines,
Ny autre bien qu’adorer son portrait.
 
 
 
Nature, adorning Cassandre who ought
By her sweetness to compel the most mutinous,
Composed her of a hundred novel beauties
Which she had been keeping in her closet for a thousand years.
 
With all the good things which the Love-bird brewed,
So dear to him, under his wings in beautiful Heaven
She enriched the immortal grace
Of her fair eyes, which moved the gods themselves.
 
Scarcely had she come down from heaven
When I saw her, when my desperate soul
Became crazy for her: and with such a sharp blow
 
Did Love pour her beauties into my veins
That other pleasures than my pains I feel not,
Nor any good but worshipping her portrait.
1587
 
Nature ornant Cassandre, qui devoyt
De sa douceur forcer les plus rebelles,
La composa de cent beautez nouvelles,
Que des mille ans en espargne elle avoyt
 
De tous les biens qu’Amour au Ciel couvoyt,
Comme un tresor cherement sous ses ailles,
Elle enrichit les graces immortelles
De son bel oeil qui les dieux emouvoyt.
 
Du ciel à peine elle estoyt descendue,
Quand je la vi, quand mon ame ésperdue
En devint folle: et d’un si poignant trait,
 
Amour coula ses beautez en mes veines,
Qu’autres plaisirs je ne sens que mes peines,
Ny autre bien qu’adorer son portrait.
 
 
 
Nature, adorning Cassandre who ought
By her sweetness to compel the most mutinous,
Composed her of a hundred novel beauties
Which she had been keeping in her closet for a thousand years.
 
With all the good things which Love in heaven brewed,
So dear to him, under his wings like a treasure,
She enriched the immortal grace
Of her fair eyes, which moved the gods themselves.
 
Scarcely had she come down from heaven
When I saw her, when my desperate soul
Became crazy for her: and with such a sharp blow
 
Did Love pour her beauties into my veins
That other pleasures than my pains I feel not,
Nor any good but worshipping her portrait.
 

(These explorations of poems 1 & 2  were inspired by the work of Louis Terreaux, in « Ronsard Correcteur de Ses Œuvres » (1968).)

 

 

 

 

 

 
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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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