Helen 2:15

Je ne veux comparer tes beautez à la Lune :
La Lune est inconstante, et ton vouloir n’est qu’un.
Encor moins au Soleil : le Soleil est commun,
Commune est sa lumiere, et tu n’es pas commune.
Tu forces par vertu l’envie et la rancune.
Je ne suis, te louant, un flateur importun.
Tu sembles à toy-mesme, et n’as portrait aucun :
Tu es toute ton Dieu, ton Astre, et ta Fortune.
Ceux qui font de leur Dame à toy comparaison,
Sont ou presomptueux, ou perclus de raison :
D’esprit et de sçavoir de bien loin tu les passes :
Ou bien quelque Demon de ton corps s’est vestu,
Ou bien tu es portrait de la mesme Vertu,
Ou bien tu es Pallas, ou bien l’une des Graces.
                                                                            I do not wish to compare your beauties to the Moon :
                                                                            The Moon is inconstant, and your will is but one.
                                                                            Still less to the Sun : the Sun is commonplace,
                                                                            Commonplace is his light, but you are not commonplace.
                                                                            You overpower with your virtue both envy and resentment.
                                                                            In praising you, I am not just flattering again and again.
                                                                            You resemble only yourself, and have no image,
                                                                            You are your own god, your own star and good fortune.
                                                                            Those who make comparisons of their own lady to you
                                                                            Are either presumptuous or devoid of reason :
                                                                            In spirit and learning you far surpass them.
                                                                            I cannot tell if some spirit has clothed itself in your form,
                                                                            Or whether you are the image of Virtue herself,
                                                                            Or are Athena herself, or one of the Graces.
I have replaced ‘common’ in lines 3-4 with ‘commonplace’, to avoid the connotation common has in English as the opposite of ‘genteel’ rather than of ‘unusual’. I should also draw attention to ‘Demon’ in line 12: I’m sure Ronsard is thinking here of the Greek ‘daimon’ rather than a Biblical ‘demon’ – a neutral rather than a wicked spirit. Athena here represents wisdom.
Blanchemain’s early version is identical.


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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