Chanson (2:64a)

Standard
Harsoir, Marie, en prenant maugré toy
Un doux baiser acoudé sur ta couche,
Sans y penser je laissay dans ta bouche
L’ame en baisant qui s’enfuit de moy.
 
Comme j’estois sur le poinct de mourir,
Et que mon ame amusée à te suivre,
Ne revenoit mon corps faire revivre,
Je renvoyay mon cœur pour la querir.
 
Mais mon cœur pris de ton œil blandissant
Aima trop mieux estre chez toy (Madame)
Que retourner, et non-plus qu’à mon ame
Ne luy chalut de mon corps perissant.
 
Lors si je n’eusse en te baisant ravy
De ton haleine une vapeur ardente,
Qui depuis seule (en lieu de l’ame absente
Et de mon cœur) de vie m’a servy :
 
Voulant harsoir mon tourment appaiser,
Par qui sans ame et sans cœur je demeure,
Je fusse mort entre tes bras à l’heure
Que maugré toy je te pris un baiser.
 
 
 
                                                                            Yestereve, Marie, in taking despite you
                                                                            A sweet kiss while leaning on your couch,
                                                                            Without thinking of it I left in your mouth
                                                                            My soul, which as we kissed ran away from me.
 
                                                                            As I was on the point of dying,
                                                                            And since my soul, amused to be following you,
                                                                            Would not return to make my body live again,
                                                                            I sent my heart off to seek it.
 
                                                                            But my heart, captured by your flattering eyes,
                                                                            Liked being with you too much, my lady,
                                                                            To return, and no more than my soul
                                                                            Did it care about my dying body.
 
                                                                            So – if I had not as I kissed you seized
                                                                            From your breath a burning vapour
                                                                            Which since then has alone, in place of my absent soul
                                                                            And my heart, served to keep me alive –
 
                                                                            Wishing yestereve to soften my torment,
                                                                            In which soul-less and heart-less I linger,
                                                                            I would have died in your arms at the moment
                                                                            When, despite you, I took from you a kiss.
 
 
 
One of those extended metaphors so beloved by love poets! In fact this one goes back directly to Marullus (see below), but you don’t need to know that to enjoy the poem. What you do need is the willingness to engage with the rather artificial extension of the metaphor! Given that, we can agree that Ronsard does the job very well.
 
Of course, this poem changed over time, though these are mostly ‘tweaks’ to address small poetic or grammatical points the later Ronsard was unhappy with.  The change that most surprises me is that in the later, not earlier, version Ronsard resorts to the ‘olde Frensche’ form (as we might say, though I’m sure his is genuine not faked) of “harsoir”. Normally, Ronsard tidies up such artificialities and makes sure he’s not being deliberately ‘poetical’ in this way; I suspect he might have been trying to avoid “que je pris”? Anyhow, I’ve used ‘yestereve’ above as a parallel ‘olde Englische’ form 🙂   Here’s Blanchemain’s text of the earlier version:
 
 
 
Hier au soir que je pris maugré toy
Un doux baiser, accoudé sur ta couche,
Sans y penser, je laissay dans ta bouche
Mon ame, hélas! qui s’enfuit de moy.
 
Me voyant prest sur l’heure de mourir,
Et que mon ame, amusée à te suivre,
Ne revenoit mon corps faire revivre,
Je t’envoyay mon cœur pour la querir.
 
Mais mon cœur, pris de ton œil blandissant,
Aima trop mieux estre chez-toy, Madame,
Que retourner, et non plus qu’à mon ame
Ne luy chaloit de mon corps perissant.
 
Lors, si je n’eusse en te baisant ravy
De ton haleine une chaleur ardente,
Qui depuis seule (en lieu de l’ame absente
Et de mon cœur) de vie m’a servy,
 
Voulant hier mon tourment appaiser,
Par qui sans ame et sans cœur je demeure,
Je fusse mort entre tes bras à l’heure
Que maugré toy je te pris un baiser.
 
 
 
                                                                            Yesterday at evening when I took despite you
                                                                            A sweet kiss while leaning on your couch,
                                                                            Without thinking of it I left in your mouth
                                                                            My soul, alas, which ran away from me.
 
                                                                            Seeing me immediately dying,
                                                                            And that my soul, amused to be following you,
                                                                            Would not return to make my body live again,
                                                                            I will send you my heart to seek it.
 
                                                                            But my heart, captured by your flattering eyes,
                                                                            Liked being with you too much, my lady,
                                                                            To return, and no more than my soul
                                                                            Did it care about my dying body.
 
                                                                            So – if I had not as I kissed you seized
                                                                            From your breath a burning warmth
                                                                            Which since then has alone, in place of my absent soul
                                                                            And my heart, served to keep me alive –
 
                                                                            Wishing yesterday to soften my torment,
                                                                            In which soul-less and heart-less I linger,
                                                                            I would have died in your arms at the moment
                                                                            When, despite you, I took from you a kiss.
 
 
As I mentioned, this is based on one of the epigrams by Marullus. As a Latinist I have to register my excitement at seeing a bizarre word like “quantulacumque” – the sort of word you come across once or twice in a lifetime!! Note that the neat recapitulation of the beginning which Ronsard gives us ins itself a neat translation of the Marullan original.
 
 
Suaviolum invitae rapio dum, casta Neaera,
imprudens vestris liqui animam in labiis,
exanimusque diu, cum nec per se ipsa rediret
et mora letalis quantulacumque foret,
misi cor quaesitum animam ; sed cor quoque blandis
captum oculis nunquam deinde mihi rediit.
Quod nisi suaviolo flammam quoque, casta Neaera,
hausissem, quae me sustinet exanimum,
ille dies misero, mihi crede, supremus amanti
luxisset, rapui cum tibi suaviolum.
 
 
 
                                                                            When I stole a kiss from you, chaste Neaera, unwilling as you were,
                                                                            I foolishly left my soul on your lips;
                                                                            And soul-less for a while, since it would not return by itself
                                                                            And the delay, however small, would have been fatal,
                                                                            I sent out my heart to seek my soul; but my heart too, caught
                                                                            By your falttering eyes, never came back to me.
                                                                            If I had not drunk in with the kiss, chaste Neaera,
                                                                            A flame as well which supports me while I am soul-less,
                                                                            That day would have shone upon your wretched lover, believe me,
                                                                            As his very last, when I stole that kiss from you.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Advertisements

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')

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s