Amours 2:50

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Si vous pensez qu’Avril et sa belle verdure
De vostre fiévre quarte effacent la langueur,
Vous estes bien trompee, il faut guarir mon cœur
Du chaud mal dont il meurt, duquel vous n’avez cure.
 
Il faut premier guarir l’ancienne pointure
Que vos yeux en mon sang me font par leur rigueur,
Et en me guarissant vous reprendrez vigueur
Du mal que vous souffrez, et du mal que j’endure.
 
La fiévre qui vous ard, ne vient d’autre raison,
Sinon de moy, qui feis aux Dieux une oraison,
Pour me contre-venger, de vous faire malade.
 
Vous souffrez à bon droict. Quoy ? voulez-vous guarir,
Et si ne voulez pas vos amis secourir,
Que vous guaririez bien seulement d’une œillade ?
 
 
 
 
                                                                            If you think that April and her fair greenery
                                                                            Can wipe away the weakness of your quartan fever,
                                                                            You are very mistaken. You need to cure my heart
                                                                            From the hot pains that are killing it, for which you have no care.
 
                                                                            You need first to cure the ancient wound
                                                                            That your eyes made in my blood by their harshness,
                                                                            And in curing me you will regain strength
                                                                            From the illness you’re suffering, and the ills I endure.
 
                                                                            The fever which burns you comes from no other cause
                                                                            Than from me, as I make my prayers to the gods
                                                                            To revenge myself against you by making you ill.
 
                                                                            You suffer for good cause. Why? You want to get well
                                                                            But don’t want to help your friends
                                                                            Whom you could cure just with a glance?
 
 
 
 
To me this seems a strangely ill-assorted poem: the various streams of thought are connected, but the direction keeps changing and throwing the reader off balance.  The octet hangs together, but then we go from the usual ‘you are unfair to me’, to a radically-different ‘I’m being as bad to you’ in the sestet, and then a rather unrepentant ‘you suffer for good cause’…  It’s good to see Ronsard on the front foot – the best defence is a good offence, they say – but it feels a bit awkward.
 
Blanchemain offers a number of variants, in the version below. Some of these are the sort we see often – the exclamation in line 12 disappears in his later version; note too how (uncharacteristically) an early reference to the one (Christian) God becomes a later ‘classicising’ reference to the gods – it’s more often the other way round with the older, more pious Ronsard switching towards Christian references (as for instance the ‘lover’ in line 11 becomes ‘friends’, avoiding any risk to Marie’s reputation!). Some variants are almost inexplicable – why April instead of May ?!  Here, in fact, I think it’s Ronsard’s poetic eye breaking the line into 3 units not 2:  the s’s linking the first third, then the short a’s of “Avril” and “sa”, then the e’s of “belle verd-“; instead of the -ez/-ay sound in the first half (an awkward ‘rhyme’), and then the e’s in the second half.
 
I rather like the way “premier” in line 3 becomes “guarir”, the former ambiguous to read aloud (2 or 3 syllables), the latter simply and clearly 2 syllables. Is it possible that Ronsard changed half the next line just to make a seemingly-minor clarification like that? I think it is; partly because the new line 4 isn’t all that good! There’s a similar awkwardness about the ‘wound in his blood’ in tha later version (how do you wound blood?) – but the French avoids the awkward mid- and end-rhyme of “coeur/rigueur”.
 
 
 
Si vous pensez que may et sa belle verdure
De vostre fiévre quarte effacent la langueur,
Vous estes bien trompee, il faut premier mon cœur
Guarir du mal qu’il sent, duquel vous n’avez cure.
 
Il faut premier guarir l’ancienne pointure
Que vos yeux dans le cœur me font par leur rigueur,
Et en me guarissant vous reprendrez vigueur
Du mal que vous souffrez, et du mal que j’endure.
 
Le mal que vous avez ne vient d’autre raison ;
Pour ce je fis à Dieu une juste oraison,
Pour me venger de vous, de vous faire malade.
 
Hé ! vraiment c’est bien dit. Quoy ! voulez-vous guarir,
Et si ne voulez pas vostre amant secourir,
Que vous guaririez bien seulement d’une œillade !
 
 
 
 
                                                                            If you think that May and her fair greenery
                                                                            Can wipe away the weakness of your quartan fever,
                                                                            You are very mistaken. You need first to cure
                                                                            My heart of the pain it feels, for which you have no care.
 
                                                                            You need first to cure the ancient wound
                                                                            That your eyes made in my heart by their harshness,
                                                                            And in curing me you will regain strength
                                                                            From the illness you’re suffering, and the ills I endure.
 
                                                                            The pain you have comes from no other cause:
                                                                            For this have I made to God a just prayer
                                                                            To avenge me against you by making you ill. 
 
                                                                            Oh, truly that’s well-said. Why? You want to get well
                                                                            But don’t want to help your lover
                                                                            Whom you could cure just with a glance?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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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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