Amours 2:57

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Si j’avois un haineux qui machinast ma mort,
Pour me contre-venger d’un si fier adversaire,
Je voudrois qu’il aimast les yeux de ma contraire,
Qui si fiers contre moy me font si doux effort.
 
Ceste punition, tant son regard est fort,
Luy seroit un enfer et se voudroit desfaire :
Ny le mesme plaisir ne luy sçauroit plus plaire,
Seulement au trespas seroit son reconfort.
 
Le regard monstrueux de la Meduse antique
N’est rien au pris du sien que fable Poëtique :
Meduse seulement tournoit l’homme en rocher :
 
Mais ceste-ci en-roche, en-eauë, en-fouë, en-glace
Ceux qui de ses regars osent bien approcher.
De quel monstre, Lecteur, at-elle pris sa race ?
 
 
 
                                                                             If I had someone who hated me and plotted my death,
                                                                             To avenge myself on so bold an adversary
                                                                             I would like him to fall in love with my contrary lady’s eyes
                                                                             Which, so bold against me, make on me so sweet an effect.
 
                                                                             This punishment, so powerful is her gaze,
                                                                             Would be hell for him and he would want to release himself ;
                                                                             Nor could the same pleasures please him any more,
                                                                             Only in death would there be comfort for him.
 
                                                                             The monstrous gaze of ancient Medusa
                                                                             Is nothing compared to hers but a poetic fable:
                                                                             Medusa only turned men into rocks,
 
                                                                             But this lady turns to rock, to water, to fire, to ice
                                                                             Those who dare to come near her glance.
                                                                             From which monster, o Reader, is she descended?
 
 
From one Greek image to another, much more familiar one. Our commentators tell us that each of the verbs in line 12 is a Ronsardian innovation – though perhaps only the third (‘turn into fire’) is unusual. In the last line of the Marty-Laveux version above, “a-t-elle” (as we would spell it today) is apparently also an innovation by Ronsard, to avoid the hiatus in “a-elle”: it’s so much a part of the language now, it’s hard to realise someone invented it – and yet here is it’s first appearance.
 
Blanchemain’s version is rather different in detail throughout: you can see why he would (for instance) have re-worked “du sien n’est rien” in line 10; the reference to hell in line 6 is (perhaps) a rare moment of the later Ronsard being more vivid than the younger; and the later last line is much more effective!
 
 
Si j’avois un haineux qui me voulust la mort,
Pour me venger de luy je ne voudrois luy faire
Que regarder les yeux de ma douce contraire,
Qui, si fiers contre moy, me font si doux effort.
 
Ceste punition, tant son regard est fort,
Luy seroit une horreur, et se voudroit défaire ;
Ny le mesme plaisir ne luy sçauroit plus plaire,
Seulement au trespas seroit son reconfort.
 
Le regard monstrueux de la Meduse antique
Au prix du sien n’est rien que fable poëtique :
Meduse seulement tournoit l’homme en rocher :
 
Mais ceste-cy en-roche, en-eauë, en-glace, en-foue,
Ceux qui de ses regards osent bien approcher,
Et si en les tuant la mignonne se joue.
 
 
 
                                                                             If I had someone who hated me, who wanted me dead,
                                                                             To avenge myself on him I’d only want to make him
                                                                             Gaze upon my sweet, contrary lady’s eyes
                                                                             Which, so bold against me, make on me so sweet an effect.
 
                                                                             This punishment, so powerful is her gaze,
                                                                             Would be a horror for him and he would want to release himself ;
                                                                             Nor could the same pleasures please him any more,
                                                                             Only in death would there be comfort for him.
 
                                                                             The monstrous gaze of ancient Medusa
                                                                             Compared with hers is nothing but a poetic fable:
                                                                             Medusa only turned men into rocks,
 
                                                                             But this lady turns to rock, to water, to ice, to fire
                                                                             Those who dare to come near her glance,
                                                                             And yet, as she kills them, the darling enjoys herself.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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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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