‘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.
 
 
 
 
 
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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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