Helen 2:4

Tandis que vous dancez et ballez à vostre aise,
Et masquez vostre face ainsi que vostre cœur,
Passionné d’amour, je me plains en langueur,
Ores froid comme neige, ores chaud comme braise.
Le Carnaval vous plaist : je n’ay rien qui me plaise
Sinon de souspirer contre vostre rigueur,
Vous appeller ingrate, et blasmer la longueur
Du temps que je vous sers sans que mon mal s’appaise.
Maistresse, croyez moy je ne fais que pleurer,
Lamenter, souspirer et me desesperer :
Je desire la mort et rien ne me console.
Si mon front si mes yeux ne vous en sont tesmoins,
Ma plainte vous en serve, et permettez au moins
Qu’aussi bien que le cœur je perde la parole.
                                                                            While you dance and sway at your ease
                                                                            And mask your face as you do your heart,
                                                                            I weep in melancholy, fired by love,
                                                                            Now cold as snow, now hot as a fire.
                                                                            The Carnival pleases you ; I have nothing which pleases me
                                                                            But sighing against your harshness,
                                                                            Calling you ungrateful, and complaining at the length
                                                                            Of time I’ve served you without lessening my ills.
                                                                            Mistress, believe me, I do nothing but weep,
                                                                            Lament, sigh and despair;
                                                                            I wish for death and nothing consoles me.
                                                                            If my brow, if my eyes are not your witnesses of this,
                                                                            My weeping may serve for you; but permit at least
                                                                            That, as well as my heart, I may lose my word.
I think that last line effectively means, “I can cancel my vow to you” – but I’m not sure.
An otherwise entirely conventional lover’s lament, but the reference to carnival places it at a specific moment and in a specific context: both unknown now, but still giving it a touching-point with real life.
Blanchemain’s version differs only in line 6, “Sinon ce souspirer…” (‘But this sighing against your harshness’), a use of the infinitive as a sort of noun which he obviously felt later didn’t offer the right example of correct French.


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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