Interlude (3)

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To conclude this brief series, a poem from book 2 of the Amours: no. 42. This first appeared as one of the ‘Sinope’ poems in 1559, but even with fewer years to work on it, Ronsard generated a multitude of versions. Here is emendation with a vengeance! There’s also an intriguing textual puzzle in the version Blanchemain offers, in which there are two variants I haven’t (yet) found in a Ronsard edition, and another which seems to have come from a very late text…

1559
 
Si j’estois Jupiter, Sinope, vous seriez
Mon espouse Junon : si j’estois roy des ondes,
Vous seriez ma Tethys, royne des eaux profondes,
Et pour vostre maison la grand mer vous auriez :
 
Si la terre estoit mienne, avec moy vous tiendriez
L’empire sous vos mains, dame des terres rondes,
Et de sur une coche en belles tresses blondes,
Par le peuple en honneur deesse vous iriez.
 
Mais je ne le suis pas, et puis vous ennuyez
D’aymer les bonnets rons, gras troupeau de l’Eglise.
Ah ! vous ne sçavez pas l’honneur que vous fuiez,
 
Ny les biens qui cachez dedans ce bonnet sont.
Si l’amour dans le monde a sa demeure prise,
Il ne la prit jamais que dans un bonnet rond.
 
 
 
 
If I were Jupiter, Sinope, you would be
My wife Juno ; if I were king of the waves,
You would be my Tethys, queen of the deep waters
And would have as your home the great sea ;
 
If the earth were mine, you would hold with me
Power in your hands, lady, over the round world,
And on a coach, with your beautiful blonde hair,
You would go like a goddess, honoured by the people.
 
But I am not that, and then you’re bored
with loving the round-bonneted troop of Churchmen.
Ah, you know not the honour you flee
 
Nor the good things which are hidden inside this bonnet.
If love had made his home in this world,
He’d never have made it other than in a round bonnet.
 
1560
 
Si j’estois Jupiter, Sinope, vous seriez
Mon espouse Junon : si j’estois roy des ondes,
Vous seriez ma Tethys, royne des eaux profondes,
Et pour vostre maison la grand mer vous auriez :
 
Si la terre estoit mienne, avec moy vous tiendriez
L’empire sous vos mains, dame des terres rondes,,
Et de sur une coche en belles tresses blondes,
Par le peuple en honneur deesse vous iriez.
 
Mais je ne le suis pas, et si ne le puis estre :
Pour telles dignités le ciel ne m’a fait naistre ;
Mais je voudrois avoir changé mon bonnet rond,
 
Et vous avoir chez moi pour ma chère espousée ;
Tout ainsi que la neige au chaut soleil se fond,
Je me fondrois en vous d’une douce rousée.
 
 
 
 
If I were Jupiter, Sinope, you would be
My wife Juno ; if I were king of the waves,
You would be my Tethys, queen of the deep waters
And would have as your home the great sea ;
 
If the earth were mine, you would hold with me
Power in your hands, lady, over the round world,
And on a coach, with your beautiful blonde hair,
You would go like a goddess, honoured by the people.
 
But I am not that, nor can I become that :
For such honours heaven did not have me born.
But I wish I could have exchanged my round bonnet
 
And had you in my home as my dear wife ;
Just as the snow melts in the hot sunshine,
So I would melt into you like the soft dew.
 
Belleau (ed Buon 1571)
 
Si j’estois Jupiter, Sinope, vous seriez
Mon espouse Junon : si j’estois roy des ondes,
Vous seriez ma Tethys, royne des eaux profondes,
Et pour vostre maison la grand mer vous auriez :
 
Si la terre estoit mienne, avec moy vous tiendriez
L’empire sous vos mains, dame des terres rondes,,
Et dessus une coche en belles tresses blondes,
Par le peuple en honneur deesse vous iriez.
 
Mais je ne suis pas Dieu, et si ne le puis estre :
Pour telles dignités le ciel ne m’a fait naistre ;
Mais je voudrois avoir changé de bonnet rond,
 
Et vous avoir chez moi pour ma chère espousée ;
Tout ainsi que la neige au chaut soleil se fond,
Je me fondrois en vous d’une douce rousée.
 
 
 
If I were Jupiter, Sinope, you would be
My wife Juno ; if I were king of the waves,
You would be my Tethys, queen of the deep waters
And would have as your home the great sea ;
 
If the earth were mine, you would hold with me
Power in your hands, lady, over the round world,
And upon a coach, with your beautiful blonde hair,
You would go like a goddess, honoured by the people.
 
But I am not a god, nor can I become one :
For such honours heaven did not have me born.
But I wish I could have exchanged my round bonnet
 
And had you in my home as my dear wife ;
Just as the snow melts in the hot sunshine,
So I would melt into you like the soft dew.
 
1578
 
Si j’estois Jupiter, Marie, vous seriez
Mon espouse Junon : si j’estois Roy des ondes,
Vous seriez ma Tethys, Roine des eaux profondes,
Et pour vostre maison les ondes vous auriez.
 
Si la terre estoit mienne, avec moy vous tiendriez
L’empire sous vos mains, dame des terres rondes,
Et dessus un beau Coche en belles tresses blondes
Par le peuple en honneur Deesse vous iriez.
 
Mais je ne suis pas Dieu, et si ne le puis estre :
Le ciel pour vous servir seulement m’a fait naistre,
De vous seule je prens mon sort avantureux.
 
Vous estes tout mon bien, mon mal, et ma fortune.
S’il vous plaist de m’aimer, je deviendray Neptune,
Tout Dieu, tout Jupiter, tout riche et tout heureux.
 
 
 
If I were Jupiter, Marie, you would be
My wife Juno ; if I were king of the waves,
You would be my Tethys, queen of the deep waters
And would have the waves as your home ;
 
If the earth were mine, you would hold with me
Power in your hands, lady, over the round world,
And upon a beautiful coach, with your beautiful blonde hair,
You would go like a goddess, honoured by the people.
 
But I am not a god, nor can I become one :
Heaven had me born only to serve you,
From you alone I receive my venturesome fate.
 
You are all my good, my ills, my fortune.
If it pleases you to love me, I shall become Neptune,
A god entire, Jupiter entire, entirely rich, and entirely happy.
 
 
1584
 
Si j’estois Jupiter, Marie, vous seriez
Mon espouse Junon : si j’estois Roy des ondes,
Vous seriez ma Tethys, Roine des eaux profondes,
Et pour vostre maison les ondes vous auriez.
 
Si la terre estoit mienne, avec moy vous tiendriez
L’empire sous vos mains, dame des terres rondes,
Et dessus un beau Coche en belles tresses blondes
Par le peuple en honneur Deesse vous iriez.
 
Mais je ne suis pas Dieu, et si ne le puis estre :
Le ciel pour vous servir seulement m’a fait naistre,
De vous seule je prens mon sort avantureux.
 
Vous estes tout mon bien, mon mal, et ma fortune.
S’il vous plaist de m’aimer, je deviendray Neptune,
Tout Jupiter tout Roy tout riche et tout heureux.
 
 
 
 
If I were Jupiter, Marie, you would be
My wife Juno ; if I were king of the waves,
You would be my Tethys, queen of the deep waters
And would have as your home the waves ;
 
If the earth were mine, you would hold with me
Power in your hands, lady, over the round world,
And upon a fine coach, with your beautiful blonde hair,
You would go like a goddess, honoured by the people.
 
But I am not a god, nor can I become one :
Heaven had me born only to serve you,
From you alone I receive my venturesome fate.
 
You are all my good, my ills, my fortune.
If it pleases you to love me, I shall become Neptune,
Jupiter entire, King entire, entirely rich, and entirely happy.
 
1587
 
Si j’estois Jupiter, Maistresse, vous seriez
Mon espouse Junon : si j’estois Roy des ondes,
Vous seriez ma Tethys, Roine des eaux profondes,
Et pour vostre palais les ondes vous auriez.
 
Si le Monde estoit mien, avec moy vous tiendriez
L’empire de la terre aux mammelles fecondes,
Et dessus un beau Coche en belles tresses blondes
Par le peuple en honneur Deesse vous iriez.
 
Mais je ne suis pas Dieu, et si ne le puis estre :
Le ciel pour vous servir seulement m’a fait naistre,
De vous seule je prens mon sort avantureux.
 
Vous estes tout mon bien, mon mal, et ma fortune.
S’il vous plaist de m’aimer, je deviendray Neptune,
Tout Jupiter tout Roy tout riche et tout heureux.
 
 
 
 
If I were Jupiter, mistress, you would be
My wife Juno ; if I were king of the waves,
You would be my Tethys, queen of the deep waters
And would have as your palace the waves ;
 
If the world were mine, you would hold with me
Power over the earth with its fertile breasts,
And upon a fine coach, with your beautiful blonde hair,
You would go like a goddess, honoured by the people.
 
But I am not a god, nor can I become one :
Heaven had me born only to serve you,
From you alone I receive my venturesome fate.
 
You are all my good, my ills, my fortune.
If it pleases you to love me, I shall become Neptune,
Jupiter entire, King entire, entirely rich, and entirely happy.
 
And Blanchemain’s version? He appears to use the 1571 (rather than 1560) text as his basis, but with a number of oddities:  “mon bonnet” in line 11 pre-dates the minor change in 1571, but line 6 is otherwise found only in the latest, posthumous text!  And I have not (yet) found “Ocean” (line 4) or “soft” (line 13) in any early edition.
 
Si j’estois Jupiter, Sinope, vous seriez
Mon espouse Junon : si j’estois roy des ondes,
Vous seriez ma Tethys, royne des eaux profondes,
Et pour vostre maison l’Océan vous auriez :
 
Si la terre estoit mienne, avec moy vous tiendriez
L’empire de la terre aux mammelles fecondes,
Et, dessus une coche en belles tresses blondes,
Par le peuple en honneur deesse vous iriez.
 
Mais je ne suis pas Dieu, et si ne le puis estre :
Pour telles dignités le ciel ne m’a fait naistre ;
Mais je voudrois avoir changé mon bonnet rond,
 
Et vous avoir chez moi pour ma chère espousée ;
Tout ainsi que la neige au doux soleil se fond,
Je me fondrois en vous d’une douce rousée.
 
If I were Jupiter, Sinope, you would be
My wife Juno ; if I were king of the waves,
You would be my Tethys, queen of the deep waters
And would have as your home the Ocean ;
 
If the earth were mine, you would hold with me
Power over the earth with its fertile breasts,
And upon a coach, with your beautiful blonde hair,
You would go like a goddess, honoured by the people.
 
But I am not a god, nor can I become one :
For such honours heaven did not have me born.
But I wish I could have exchanged my round priest’s hat
 
And had you in my home as my dear wife ;
Just as the snow melts in the soft sunshine,
So I would melt into you like the soft dew.

 

(The exploration of this poem was inspired by the work of R A Sayce in « Ronsard the Poet » ed Terence Cave.)

 

 

 

 

 

 
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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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