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, …
 
 
 
 
 
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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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