Monthly Archives: November 2016

Amours 2:68

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En vain pour vous ce bouquet je compose,
En vain pour vous ma Deesse il est fait :
Vostre beauté est bouquet du bouquet,
La fleur des fleurs, la rose de la rose.
 
Vous et les fleurs differez d’une chose,
C’est que l’Hyver les fleurettes desfait,
Vostre Printemps en ses graces parfait,
Ne craint des ans nulle metamorphose.
 
Heureux bouquet, n’entre point au sejour
De ce beau sein, ce beau logis d’Amour,
Ne touche point ceste pomme jumelle :
 
Ton lustre gay d’ardeur se faniroit,
Et ta verdeur sans grace periroit,
Comme je suis fany pour l’amour d’elle.
 
 
 
                                                                            In vain for you do I put together this bouquet,
                                                                            In vain for you my goddess is it made :
                                                                            Your beauty is the bouquet among bouquets,
                                                                            The flower among flowers, the rose amongst roses.
 
                                                                            You and the flowers differ in one thing,
                                                                            Which is that winter destroys the flowers
                                                                            But your spring, perfect in its grace,
                                                                            Does not fear any change from the years.
 
                                                                            Fortunate bouquet, do not go to rest
                                                                            In that fair bosom, that fair home of Love,
                                                                            Do not touch those twin apples;
 
                                                                            Your lustre, gay and warm, will fade
                                                                            And your freshness will perish gracelessly,
                                                                            As I am faded for love of her.
 
 
 
A neatlt-tied bow to end the book: a bouquet of flowers which is really a bouquet of verse, a metaphor about flowers being outshone by Marie, which is really a self-deprecating remark that his own poetry cannot outshine her…

 
Blanchemain notes that Ronsard added this in 1578 – but includes it in his ‘1560’ edition, because it is after all a better envoi than the poems around it! He has a variant in line 3 – “Car vous serez le bouquet du bouquet” (‘For you will be the bouquet among bouquets’) – and a different ending. Here’s his final tercet, perhaps re-written through dissatisfaction with the repetitions of the last line, even though they reflect line 3:
 
 
Ton lustre gay se faniroit d’esmoy ;
Tu es, bouquet, digne de vivre, et moy
De mourir près des beautez de la belle.
 
                                                                            Your gay lustre will fade from irritation:
                                                                            You, my bouquet, are worthy of living, and I
                                                                            Of dying near my beauty’s beauties.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Amours 2:66

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Amour, voyant du Ciel un pescheur sur la mer,
Calla son aile bas sur le bord du navire :
Puis il dit au pescheur, Je te pri’ que je tire
Ton reth qu’au fond de l’eau le plomb fait abysmer.
 
Un Dauphin qui sçavoit le feu qui vient d’aimer,
Voyant Amour sur l’eau, à Tethys le va dire :
Tethys si quelque soin vous tient de nostre empire,
Secourez-le ou bien tost il s’en va consumer.
 
Tethys laissa de peur sa caverne profonde,
Haussa le chef sur l’eau et vit Amour sur l’onde.
Puis elle s’ecria : Mon mignon, mon nepveu,
 
Fuyez et ne bruslez mes ondes, je vous prie.
Ma tante, dit Amour, n’ayez peur de mon feu,
Je le perdis hier dans les yeux de Marie.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            Love, seeing from heaven a fisherman on the sea,
                                                                            Folded his wings, settling low on the boat’s side,
                                                                            Then said to the fisherman, “Please may I take
                                                                            Your net which lead-weights make sink deep in the sea ?”
 
                                                                            A dolphin which understood the fire which comes from loving,
                                                                            Seeing Love on the sea, went to tell Tethys :
                                                                            “Tethys, if you have any care for our kingdom,
                                                                            Come to its aid or it will very soon be consumed.”
 
                                                                            Tethys left her deep cavern in fear,
                                                                            Raised her above the water and saw Love on the waves.
                                                                            Then she cried, “my darling, my nephew,
 
                                                                            Run away, don’t burn up my waves, I beg you.”
                                                                            “Aunt,” said Love, “have no fear of my fire,
                                                                            I lost it yesterday in the eyes of Marie.”
 
 
 
An odd poem really – the desire for a net (to capture more victims?) being unexplained, and the poem running off into an extended fire metaphor.

 
Blanchemain offers the usual minor minor variants. The end of the second stanza is “Secourez-le ou bien tout il est prest d’enflammer” (‘Come to its aid or he’s all set to burn it up’), and the end of the third is “Puis elle s’ecria : Las ! Amour, mon nepveu…” (‘Then she cried, “Oh, Love, my nephew’…). Finally, the last stanza begins “Ne bruslez de vos feux mes ondes…” (‘Don’t burn up my waves with your fires…’).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

La Quenoille – – (Amours 2.67c)

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This poem is simply called “La Quenoille” (the distaff – the long tall bit on top of a spinning wheel on which the wool is wound as it’s spun); not a chanson officially, or an elegy, or anything else. Ronsard got quite annoyed when critics laughed at him for making so much of the gift of something so functional, a reaction which Belleau reflects in a footnote: ‘If all the ladies who laughed at the simple and inexpensive gift of the poet to a fair simple girl, wise and not lazy, were as skilled and useful as her, our age would have greater worth’. So there!  (Belleau uses, or invents, the word “prudfemme“, a match for “prudhomme“, which I’ve here rendered as ‘skilled and useful’.)  It’s relevant that the idea has classical roots, being from Theocritus,who gives a distaff as a present to the wife of Nicias, a doctor, his host and friend.

Quenoille, de Pallas la compagne et l’amie,
Cher present que je porte à ma chere Marie,
A fin de soulager l’ennuy qu’elle a de moy,
Disant quelque chanson en filant dessur toy,
Faisant piroüeter à son huis amusée
Tout le jour son roüet et sa grosse fusée.
 
Quenouille, je te meine où je suis arresté :
Je voudrois racheter par toy ma liberté.
Tu ne viendras és mains d’une mignonne oisive,
Qui ne fait qu’attifer sa perruque lascive,
Et qui perd tout son temps à mirer et farder
Sa face, à celle fin qu’on l’aille regarder :
Mais bien entre les mains d’une disposte fille
Qui devide qui coust, qui mesnage et qui file
Avecques ses deux sœurs pour tromper ses ennuis,
L’hyver devant le feu, l’esté devant son huis,
 
Aussi je ne voudrois que toy Quenouille faite
En nostre Vandomois (où le peuple regrette
Le jour qui passe en vain) allasses en Anjou
Pour demeurer oisive et te roüiller au clou.
Je te puis asseurer que sa main delicate
Filera doucement quelque drap d’escarlate,
Qui si fin et si souëf en sa laine sera,
Que pour un jour de feste un Roy le vestira.
 
Suy-moy donc, tu seras la plus que bien venue,
Quenouille, des deux bouts et greslette et menue,
Un peu grosse au milieu où la filace tient
Estreinte d’un riban qui de Montoire vient.
Aime-laine, aime-fil, aime-estain, maisonniere,
Longue, Palladienne, enflée, chansonniere,
Suy-moy, laisse Cousture, et allon à Bourgueil,
Où, Quenouille, on te doit recevoir d’un bon œil.
« Car le petit present qu’un loyal ami donne
« Passe des puissans Rois le sceptre et la couronne.
O distaff, companion and friend of Pallas,
Dear gift which I being to my dear Marie
To lessen the boredom she has of me,
Singing some song as she spins on you,
Amusedly making her wheel and big bobbin
Spin all day at her door.
 
Distaff, I take you to where I was caught:
I hope to buy back my freedom with you.
You won’t come into the hands of an idle dainty
Who does nothing but tweak her voluptuous hairdo,
And who spends all her time admitting herself, painting
Her face, with the aim that everyone should come and look at her;
Rather, into the hands of a shapely girl
Who knows what things cost, who manages, who spins
With her two sisters to beguile boredom,
In winter before the fire, in summer out of doors.
 
Also, I don’t want you, distaff made
In our Vendôme, where the people regret
Any day spent pointlessly, to go to Anjou
And remain idle and whirl round on a nail.
I can assure you that her delicate hand
Will gently spin a scarlet cloth
Which will be so fine and so soft in its threads
That a king would wear it on a feast-day.
 
So follow me, you will be more than welcome,
Distaff, with your two ends thin and slender,
A little fatter in the middle where it holds the tow
Gripped by a ribbon which comes from Montoire.
Wool-lover, thread-lover, yarn-lover, home-keeper,
Tall, Palladian, proud, song-maker,
Follow me, leave Cousture, let’s go to Bourgueil
Where, distaff, they should welcome you gladly,
“For the little gift which a loyal friend gives
Surpasses the sceptre and crown of powerful kings.”
 
 
Belleau offers us a profusion of footnotes, mostly on the 4th stanza:
 – Montoire, he tells us, is a town a short three leagues away, near the author’s place of birth;
 – in the following line, he tells us the three “aime-” compounds are “three words invented by the author. Estain is a kind of carded wool ready for spinning. Maisonniere, because the distaff does not leave its home;
 – then, in the next line, it is Palladian not for Palladio (the architectural reference comes later) but because “Pallas [Athene] invented the distaff” (see also line 1). (Note that, in the same line, “enflée” can mean both ‘proud’ and  ‘swollen’ or ‘fat’, as the distaff becomes when wool is wound onto it.)
 – Coustures is “a village in the Varemme at the bottom of Vendome, where the poet was born, at the foot of a south-facing crag in a place which is currently called La Poissoniere, the chateau belonging to the eldest of the house of Ronsard.” In his “Ronsard & the Pléiade” (1906), George Wyndham describes how he “visited his father’s castle, De la Poissonière, as a reverent pilgrim, some years ago. It stands beneath a low cliff of white rock overgrown with ivy, in the gentle scenery, elegiac rather than romantic, to which Ronsard’s verse ever returns. Above the low cliff are remnants of the Forêt de Gastine …”
 
There are, naturally, a few changes in the text as well: note how one of the changes Ronsard made was eliminating the imaginary infinitive “suivir” (not “suivre”) – a poetic licence he allowed himself in his early years but grew unhappy with in later life.

 

Quenoille, de Pallas la compagne et l’amie,
Cher present que je porte à ma chere ennemie,
Afin de soulager l’ennuy qu’elle a de moy,
Disant quelque chanson en filant dessur toy,
Faisant piroüeter à son huis amusée
Tout le jour son roüet et sa grosse fusée.
 
Sus ! quenouille, suis moy, je te meine servir
Celle que je ne puis m’engarder de suivir.
Tu ne viendras és mains d’une pucelle oisive,
Qui ne fait qu’attifer sa perruque lascive,
Et qui perd tout le jour à mirer et farder
Sa face, à celle fin qu’on l’aille regarder :
Mais bien entre les mains d’une disposte fille
Qui devide qui coust, qui mesnage et qui file
Avecques ses deux sœurs pour tromper ses ennuis,
L’hyver devant le feu, l’esté devant son huis,
 
Aussi je ne voudrois que toy, quenouille gente,
Qui es de Vendomois (où le peuple se vante
D’estre bon ménager), allasses en Anjou
Pour demeurer oisive et te roüiller au clou.
Je te puis asseurer que sa main delicate
Filera dougément quelque drap d’escarlate,
Qui si fin et si souëf en sa laine sera,
Que pour un jour de feste un Roy le vestira.
 
Suy-moy donc, tu seras la plus que bien venue,
Quenouille, des deux bouts et greslette et menue,
Un peu grosse au milieu où la filace tient
Estreinte d’un riban qui de Montoire vient.
Aime-laine, aime-fil, aime-estain, maisonniere,
Longue, Palladienne, enflée, chansonniere,
Suy-moy, laisse Cousture, et va droit à Bourgueil,
Où, Quenouille, on te doit recevoir d’un bon œil.
« Car le petit present qu’un loyal ami donne
« Passe des puissans Rois le sceptre et la couronne.
O distaff, companion and friend of Pallas,
Dear gift which I being to my dear enemy
To lessen the boredom she has of me,
Singing some song as she spins on you,
Amusedly making her wheel and big bobbin
Spin all day at her door.
 
Up, distaff, and follow me, I lead you to serve
Her whom I cannot keep myself from pursuing.
You won’t come into the hands of an idle lass
Who does nothing but tweak her voluptuous hairdo,
And who spends all day admitting herself, painting
Her face, with the aim that everyone should come and look at her;
Rather, into the hands of a shapely girl
Who knows what things cost, who manages, who spins
With her two sisters to beguile boredom,
In winter before the fire, in summer out of doors.
 
Also, I don’t want you, gentle distaff
Who are from Vendôme, where the people boast
Of being good housekeepers, to go to Anjou
And remain idle and whirl round on a nail.
I can assure you that her delicate hand
Will finely spin a scarlet cloth
Which will be so fine and so soft in its threads
That a king would wear it on a feast-day.
 
So follow me, you will be more than welcome,
Distaff, with your two ends thin and slender,
A little fatter in the middle where it holds the tow
Gripped by a ribbon which comes from Montoire.
Wool-lover, thread-lover, yarn-lover, home-keeper,
Tall, Palladian, proud, song-maker,
Follow me, leave Cousture, and go straight to Bourgueil
Where, distaff, they should welcome you gladly,
“For the little gift which a loyal friend gives
Surpasses the sceptre and crown of powerful kings.”
 
Note in the 3rd stanza the word “dougément”: Belleau explains that this means “subtly, with thin fine threads. Dougé is a word from Anjou and the Vendome, used by spinners who spin the thread thin and slender with their spindles. It appears from this that Marie was not from a grand or rich family – as we’ve said, for she was a hostelry-girl.”
 
 
 
 
 
 

Amours 2:65

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Bien que ton œil me face une dure ecarmouche,
Moy veincu de sa flame et luy tousjours veinqueur :
Bien que depuis trois ans sa cruelle rigueur
Me tienne prisonnier de ta beauté farouche :
 
Bien que son traict meurtrier jusqu’à l’ame me touche,
Si ne veux-je eschapper de si douce langueur,
Ne vivre sans avoir ton image en mon cœur,
Tes mains dedans ma playe, et ton nom en ma bouche.
 
Ce m’est extreme honneur de trespasser pour toy,
Qui passes de beauté la beauté la plus belle.
Un soudart pour garder son enseigne et sa foy,
 
Meurt bien sur le rempart d’une forte Rochelle.
Je mourray bien-heureux s’il te souvient de moy.
« La mort n’est pas grand mal, c’est chose naturelle.
 
 
 
                                                                            Although your eyes gave me a tough fight,
                                                                            And I am conqueredby their flame, and they always the conqueror ;
                                                                            Although for three years their cruel severity
                                                                            Has held me prisoner of their wild beauty ;
 
                                                                            Although their murderous wound has reached into my soul ;
                                                                            Yet I have no wish to escape such sweet pining,
                                                                            Nor to live without having your image in my heart,
                                                                            Your hands within my wound, your name on my lips.
 
                                                                            It is for me the greatest honour to die for you
                                                                            Who surpass in beauty the beauty of the most fair.
                                                                            A soldier, to preserve his standard and his trust,
 
                                                                            Dies well on the ramparts of strong La Rochelle ;
                                                                            I shall die happy if you remember me.
                                                                            “Death is no great ill, it is a natural thing.”
 
 
 
I think that the siege of La Rochelle is probably as well-known in England as France, and almost certainly was better-known by far in Ronsard’s time. Still, Belelau felt it necessary to footnote the reference, saying “he means the siege of La Rochelle which Henri, Duke of Anjou and later third King of that name, made against those of the pretended faith, 1572“. No prozes for guessing which side Belleau, like Ronsard, took in the religious debates of the day! Note, however, that despite his catholic sympathies it is the Protestant defender of the city who dies well, defending his standard on the walls. It would be unfair to put Ronsard down as an unthinking factionary; if anything, his discussions of the religious question see the other side as misguided and his aim is unity. It is only when he is attacked unthinkingly and maliciously that he replies scathingly.

 
Blanchemain offers a completely different sestet (and some other variants). It is, I think, obvious that the later La Rochelle version is a far better piece of work than the rather self-pitying and accusatory earlier version. Is it unreasonable, though, to admit that I always love the sound & shape of the word ‘incessament’?!
 
 
Bien que ton œil me face une dure écarmouche,
Moy restant le vaincu et luy tousjours veinqueur :
Bien que depuis trois ans sa cruelle rigueur
Me tienne prisonnier de ta beauté farouche :
 
Bien qu’Amour de son traict incessament me touche,
Si ne veux-je eschapper de si douce langueur,
Ne vivre sans avoir ton image en mon cœur,
Tes mains dedans ma playe, et ton nom en ma bouche.
 
Si tu veux me tuer, tû-moi, je le veux bien :
Ma mort te sera perte et à moy très grand bien,
Et l’œuvre qu’à ton los je veux mettre en lumière
 
Finira par ma mort, finissant mon emoi ;
Ainsi mort, je serai libre de peine, et toi,
Cruelle, de ton nom tu seras la meurdriére.
 
 
 
                                                                            Although your eyes gave me a tough fight,
                                                                            Me remaining the conquered, and they always the conqueror ;
                                                                            Although for three years their cruel severity
                                                                            Has held me prisoner of their wild beauty ;
 
                                                                            Although Love with his arrows incessantly stabs me,
                                                                            Yet I have no wish to escape such sweet pining,
                                                                            Nor to live without having your image in my heart,
                                                                            Your hands within my wound, your name on my lips.
 
                                                                            If you wish to kill me, kill me! I’m content with that.
                                                                            My death will be a loss to you, but a great gain to me,
                                                                            And the work which to your loss I plan to bring to light
 
                                                                            Will end with my death, ending my griefs;
                                                                            Dead like this, i shall be free of pain, and you,
                                                                            Cruel one, will be the murderer of your own name.
 
 
 
 
 

Amours 2:67

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Je mourrois de plaisir voyant par ces bocages
Les arbres enlacez de lierres espars,
Et la verde lambrunche errante en mille pars
Sur l’aubespin fleury pres des roses sauvages.
 
Je mourrois de plaisir oyant les doux ramages
Des Hupes, des Coqus, et des Ramiers rouhars
Dessur un arbre verd bec en bec fretillars,
Et des Tourtres aux bois voyant les mariages.
 
Je mourrois de plaisir voyant en ces beaux mois
Debusquer au matin le Chevreuil hors du bois,
Et de voir fretiller dans le Ciel l’Aloüette :
 
Je mourrois de plaisir où je languis transi
Absent de la beauté qu’en ce pré je souhaite.
« Un demy jour d’absence est un an de souci.
 
 
 
                                                                            I shall die of pleasure, seeing in these groves
                                                                            The trees wrapped in thick ivy,
                                                                            And the green creepers wandering a thousand ways
                                                                            On the flowering pine near the wild roses.
 
                                                                            I shall die of pleasure, hearing the sweet song
                                                                            Of hoopoes,cuckoos and cooing pigeons
                                                                            Fluttering beak to beak upon a green tree,
                                                                            And watching the marriages of the turtle-doves in the trees.
 
                                                                            I shall die of pleasure, seeing in those fair months
                                                                            A deer being flushed out of the woods in the morning,
                                                                            And seeing the lark fluttering in the sky;
 
                                                                            I shall die of pleasure where I languish, numb,
                                                                            Away from the beauty which I seek in this meadow.
                                                                            “One half-day of absence is a year of cares.”
 
 
 
You might like to input “rouhars” (line 6) into a search engine: virtually all the hits are this line of Ronsard. My trusty Larousse dictionary explains why: Ronsard invented the word! These days the French use the verb ‘roucouler’ to describe onomatopoeically the cooing of doves; Ronsard invented the adjective ‘rouhar(d)’.
 
It’s good to be reminded sometimes that, among all the love-faints, poetic miseries etc, there is never any question of Ronsard’s absolutely real love of nature. And here, it is nature which threatens to make him die of pleasure, not Marie – indeed her absence gives him worries and cares, but he doesn’t quite say that her presence would make him die of pleasure! In fact this ending is a bit of a mess …
 
Blanchemain offers minor variants and a different ending: hard to see why in line 11 the grammatically-parallel “voyant … voyant” was changed to the rather awkward grammar of Marty-Laveaux’s version, but harder to see why the slightly awkward grammar of Blanchemain’s effective ending was swapped for a grammatically-straightforward ending which lacks punch and clarity in the later version!
 
 
Je mourrois de plaisir voyant par ces bocages
Les arbres enlacez de lierres espars,
Et la verde lambrunche errante en mille pars
Es aubespins fleuris, pres des roses sauvages.
 
Je mourrois de plaisir oyant les doux ramages
Des Hupes, des Coqus, et des Ramiers rouhars
Dessur un arbre verd bec en bec fretillars,
Et des Tourtres aux bois voyant les mariages.
 
Je mourrois de plaisir voyant en ces beaux mois
Débusquer un matin le chevreuil hors du bois
Et voyant fretiller dans le ciel l’alouette ;
 
Je mourrois de Plaisir, où je meurs de soucy,
Ne voyant point les yeux d’une que je souhaite
Seule une heure en mes bras en ce bocage ici.
 
 
 
                                                                            I shall die of pleasure, seeing in these groves
                                                                            The trees wrapped in thick ivy,
                                                                            And the green creepers wandering a thousand ways
                                                                            Onto the flowering pines near the wild roses.
 
                                                                            I shall die of pleasure, hearing the sweet song
                                                                            Of hoopoes,cuckoos and cooing pigeons
                                                                            Fluttering beak to beak upon a green tree,
                                                                            And watching the marriages of the turtle-doves in the trees.
 
                                                                            I shall die of pleasure, seeing in those fair months
                                                                            A deer being flushed out of the woods one morning,
                                                                            And seeing the lark fluttering in the sky;
 
                                                                            I shall die of pleasure where I am dying of care,
                                                                            Seeing nothing of the eyes of her whom I wish for
                                                                            Just an hour in my arms here in this wood.
 
 
 
 
 
 

‘Calisto’ again

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For interest’s sake, and because the poems are a closely-linked pair, here are the poems by Baif and Calisto I mentioned here. Some sources say Baif’s came first, but the 1555 edition of “Francine” puts Baif’s poem as a response to Calisto’s (though printing Calisto’s as an appendix) – which makes sense to me, and that’s the order they are in here.
 
Calisto’s poem to Baif:
 
Je ne sçay si l’Amour, mon Baïf, te tourmente,
Au tant comme en tes vers tu te fais douloureux,
Pour te voir tant au vif peindre l’heur malheureux
Et l’heureux mal qu’on a d’une ardeur vehemente :
 
Je ne sçay si l’amour ta fureur douce augmente,
Dont tu ecris si bien tout le faict amoureux
Que le docte s’y plaist : et l’amant langoureux
En charme sa douleur, ou avec toy lamente.
 
Mais si l’amour tu sens n’estant que demy-tien,
Comme sont tous amans, et tu nous peins si bien
Les passions d’un cueur alaicté d’esperance :
 
Tu nous fais esperer, rapellant celle part
Que ton ame esgarée à Francine depart,
De te voir desvancer les premiers de la France.
 
 
 
                                                                            I know not if Love torments you, my Baif,
                                                                            As much as, in your verse, you present yourself as miserable,
                                                                            So that we see you, as if in real life, picturing the unfortunate fortune
                                                                            And fortunate misfortune which people in ardent love show:
 
                                                                            I know not if love increases your sweet madness,
                                                                            With which you write so well all the facts of love
                                                                            That learned men can be pleased with it, and the pining lover
                                                                            Charm away his sadness with it, or else lament with you.
 
                                                                            But if the love you feel is only half yours,
                                                                            Like all lovers are, you too paint for us so well
                                                                            The passions of a heart nourished on hope;
 
                                                                            You make us hope, recalling that place
                                                                            Where your soul, straying to Francine, has gone,
                                                                            That we’ll see you outstripping the foremost in France.
 
 
I think we can say that Calisto, whoever he was, was a more-than-competent amateur poet; though his poetry does involve some small torturing of French grammar and construction !
 
Here’s Baif’s response, reflecting back much of the phraseology of the original (but avoiding torturing the language):
 
Calliste, croy pour vray que l’Amour me tourmente,
Bien plus que je ne suis en ces vers douloureux.
Sans rien feindre au plus pres je pein l’heur malheureux
Avec l’heureux malheur d’une ardeur vehemente.
 
Croy pour vray que l’amour ma fureur folle augmente,
Qui me fait degorger ces soupirs amoureux,
Que le sage reprend, où l’amant langoureux
Rengrege sa douleur, et la mienne lamente,
 
Amour ne me permet non d’estre demi-mien,
Moins qu’à nul autre amant : et m’empesche si bien,
Que de me ravoir plus je per toute esperance.
 
Or puis que j’ay perdu celle meilleure part,
Que mon ame égaree à Francine depart,
Je me voy le dernier des derniers de la France.
 
 
 
                                                                            Callisto, believe it true that Love torments me,
                                                                            Much more sad than I seem in these verses.
                                                                            Feigning nothing, I paint my unfortunate fortune as closely as I can
                                                                            With the fortunate misfortune of my passionate ardour.
 
                                                                            Believe it true that love increases my foolish madness,
                                                                            Which makes me dig up these sighs of love
                                                                            That wise men can pick up, with which the pining lover
                                                                            Aggravates his sadness, and laments mine.
 
                                                                            But if the love you feel is only half yours,
                                                                            No less than any other lover; and so completely impedes me
                                                                            That I lose all hope of having myself back again.
 
                                                                            Since I have lost that better part
                                                                            As my soul, straying to Francine, has gone,
                                                                            I see myselfas the hindmost of the hindmost in France.
 
 
 
 
 

Amours 2:63

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Calliste, pour aimer je pense que je me meurs,
Je sens dedans mon sang la fiévre continue,
Qui de chaud qui de froid jamais ne diminue,
Ainçois de pis en pis rengrege mes douleurs.
 
Plus je vueil refroidir mes boüillantes chaleurs,
Plus Amour les r’allume : et plus je m’esvertue
De rechaufer mon froid, plus la froideur me tue,
Pour languir au meilleu de deux divers malheurs.
 
Un ardent appetit de jouyr de l’aimée
Tient tellement mon ame en pensers allumée,
Et ces pensers févreux me font resver si fort,
 
Que diete ne jus ny section de veine
Ne me sçauroyent guarir : car de la seule mort
Depend, et non d’ailleurs le secours de ma peine.
 
 
 
                                                                            Callisto, I think I am dying for love,
                                                                            I feel within my blood a continuous fever
                                                                            Which never lessens its heat and its cold,
                                                                            Even as my pain goes from worse to worse.
 
                                                                            The more I try to cool down my boiling fires,
                                                                            The more Love re-lights them; the more I strive
                                                                            To warm up my coldness, the more the cold kills me:
                                                                            I am fading away between two opposite troubles.
 
                                                                            A burning desire to enjoy my beloved
                                                                            Keeps my soul burning with such thoughts,
                                                                            And these feverish thoughts make me dream so strongly
 
                                                                            That neither diet nor drink nor cutting veins
                                                                            Can cure me: for on death alone
                                                                            And nothing else depends the relief for my pain.
 
 
After the last long note about dedicatees, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a lot less to say about ‘Callisto’. 🙂  In fact, almost nothing. Callisto is a nymph in Greek mythology (changed into the Great Bear, Ursa Major); but in French poetic circles, things are less clear. A short footnote by Belleau imparts the information, first, that we are talking about a man, not a woman: so let’s call him ‘Calisto’ (using Blanchemain’s spelling – below). Calisto was ‘very learned, well born and well-versed in several languages, (and) was killed in Paris in 1562.”  Beyond this, we have no biographical information at all: not even a reason why he died (though “fut tué” seems to make it clear that it was not a natural death). 
 
The only other contemporary references are in a pair of poems in Baif’s “Francine” (book 2), one to and one from ‘Calisto’, which tell us that Calisto was a poet – but not much more.  [More famously, Malherbe named the vicomtesse d’Auchy ‘Caliste’ and addressed poems to her, but she was not born till 1570 … ]
 
The poem itself is an attractive example of the usual poetic distresses of love! Blanchemain  has a few minor text variants in the first half, the first of them eliminating a clatter of ‘c’ sounds in the opening line, the others some of his ‘grammatical’ updates eliminating antique phraseology: I might particularly note line 2 where he eliminates a ‘poetic’ inversion of the word order.
 
 
Caliste, pour aimer je crois que je me meurs ;
Je sens de trop aimer la fiévre continue,
Qui de chaud qui de froid jamais ne diminue,
Ainçois de pis en pis rengrege mes douleurs.
 
Plus je veux refroidir mes boüillantes chaleurs, …
 
 
 
                                                                            Callisto, I believe I am dying for love,
                                                                            I feel from loving too much a continuous fever
                                                                            Which never lessens its heat and its cold,
                                                                            Even as my pain goes from worse to worse.
 
                                                                            The more I try to cool down my boiling fires, …