A couple of weeks ago I mentioned Marie’s eye condition: this is the poem which Belleau annotates, as I mentioned there, with an explanation of the name ‘Sinope’; and also the one in which Ronsard offers the most explicit of links between Marie and Sinope – unless of course you believe that the Sinope poems were addressed to another lady, and then simply transferred to the Marie set. He does not, after all, explicitly name Marie… Belleau’s footnote in full: ‘Marie had trouble with her eyes, and as the poet watched her intently the illness in those afflicted eyes entering his own made them ill too. And so he called Marie Sinope, which is to say ‘losing the eyes’.’Like the last poem I posted, Blanchemain’s earlier version varies only in two places, and one of them is the first line! In his version, Marie/Sinope’s eyes have been ‘struck’ with illness rather than the more precise ‘weeping’ in the later version: “Vos yeux estoient blessez d’une humeur enflammée“. The other change, in line 11, is mostly about sound and rhythm, inverting some of the words: “A couvert mon sang en larmes et en pluye” (‘Has covered my blood with tears and weeping’); but the change from a rather odd ‘covering’ image to the sharper ‘converted’ may have been Ronsard’s initial spur to change.
Vos yeux estoient moiteux d’une humeur enflammee, Qui m’ont gasté les miens d’une semblable humeur, Et pource que vos yeux aux miens ont fait douleur, Je vous ay d’un nom Grec Sinope surnommee : Mais cest’ humeur mauvaise au cœur est devallee, Et là comme maistresse a pris force et vigueur, Gastant mon pauvre sang d’une blesme langueur, Qui ja par tout le corps lente s’est escoulee. Mon cœur environné de ce mortel danger, En voulant resister au malheur estranger, A mon sang converty en larmes et en pluye : Afin que par les yeux autheurs de mon souci Mon malheur fust noyé, ou que par eux aussi Fuyant devant le feu j’espuisasse ma vie. Your eyes were weeping with an inflammation And they have spoiled mine with a similar infection, And since your eyes have made mine ill I’ve surnamed you with the Greek name Sinope. But this illness has hurtled down to my heart, And there like its mistress gained strength and vigour, Spoiling my poor blood with a pallid inertia Which has now slowly flowed through all my body. My heart, besieged by this mortal danger And wanting to resist the foreign illness, Has converted my blood into tears and weeping; So that through my eyes, the creators of my trouble, My illness might be drowned, or through them too, Fleeing before the fire, I might extinguish my life.