Amours 2:55

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J’avois cent fois juré de jamais ne revoir
(O serment d’amoureux !) l’angelique visage
Qui depuis quinze mois en peine et en servage
Emprisonne mon cœur, et je ne puis r’avoir.
 
J’en avois fait serment : mais je n’ay le pouvoir
D’estre seigneur de moy : tant mon traistre courage
Violenté d’amour et conduit par usage,
Y reconduit mes pieds abusé d’un espoir.
 
Le destin, Pardaillan, est une forte chose :
« L’homme dedans son cœur ses affaires dispose,
« Le ciel faisant tourner ses desseins au rebours.
 
Je sçay bien que je fais ce que je ne doy faire,
Je sçay bien que je suy de trop folles amours :
Mais quoy, puis que le Ciel delibere au contraire ?
 
 
 
 
                                                                            I had a hundred times sworn never to see again
                                                                            (O, the vows of lovers!) the angelic face
                                                                            Which for fifteen months of pain and servitude
                                                                            Has imprisoned my heart, and I cannot have her again :
 
                                                                            I’ve made an oath. But I do not have the strength
                                                                            To master myself, so much does my traitorous courage,
                                                                            Assaulted by love and led by usage,
                                                                            Lead my feet back there, misled by hope.
 
                                                                            Fate, Pardaillan, is a powerful thing :
                                                                            “Man disposes his affairs within his heart,
                                                                            Heaven [goes] turning his plans upside down.”
 
                                                                            I know I’m doing exactly what I shouldn’t,
                                                                            I know I’m following too mad a love ;
                                                                            So what, since heaven has made different plans ?
 
 
 
Apart from telling us that he has been in love with Marie for 15 months, this poem adds little to our knowledge of the affair: and if we note (with Belleau) that it is based on a Greek original (an incomplete poem by Callimachus) that need not mean that even that detail is invented.
 
We’ve met Pardaillan before, in the previous poem of the set.
 
Blanchemain offers a number of variants, which are set out below. Note that in the second quatrain Ronsard re-wrote much of the text while retaining not just the rhyme-scheme but the rhyme words! The change in line 3 is (probably) one of those Ronsard made to eliminate novel or unusual words in favour of plainer French. The little proverb in lines 10-11 has, in this earlier version, a clearer grammar which the later version (above), with its participle, loses – but the later version clearly sounds better as poetry. (I cheated in my translation, introducing a verb in the present tense to match that in the first half!)
 
 
J’avois cent fois juré de jamais ne revoir
(O serment d’amoureux !) l’angelique visage
Qui depuis quinze mois en penible servage
Emprisonne mon cœur, et je ne puis r’avoir.
 
J’en avois fait serment : mais je n’ay le pouvoir
D’estre seigneur de moy : car mon forcé courage,
Bien que soit maugré moy, surmonté de l’usage
D’Amour, tousjours m’y mène, abusé d’un espoir.
 
Le destin, Pardaillan, est une forte chose :
L’homme dedans son cœur ses affaires dispose,
Mais le Ciel fait tourner ses desseins au rebours.
 
Je sçay bien que je fais ce que je ne doy faire,
Je sçay bien que je suy de trop folles amours :
Mais quoy, puis que le Ciel delibere au contraire ?
 
 
 
 
                                                                            I had a hundred times sworn never to see again
                                                                            (O, the vows of lovers!) the angelic face
                                                                            Which for fifteen months of painful servitude
                                                                            Has imprisoned my heart, and I cannot have her again :
 
                                                                            I’ve made an oath. But I do not have the strength
                                                                            To master myself; because my forced courage,
                                                                            Although it is unlike me, overcome by the usages
                                                                            Of Love, always leads me back there, misled by hope.
 
                                                                            Fate, Pardaillan, is a powerful thing :
                                                                            Man disposes his affairs within his heart,
                                                                            But heaven turns his plans upside down.
                                                                           
                                                                            I know I’m doing exactly what I shouldn’t,
                                                                            I know I’m following too mad a love ;
                                                                            So what, since heaven has made different plans ?
 
 
 
 
 
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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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