Ma Dame, je ne meurs abandonné d’espoir : La playe est jusqu’à l’oz : je ne suis celuy mesme Que j’estois l’autre jour, tant la douleur extréme Forçant la patience, a dessus moy pouvoir. Je ne puis ny toucher gouster n’ouïr ny voir : J’ay perdu tous mes Sens, je suis une ombre blesme : Mon corps n’est qu’un tombeau. Malheureux est qui aime, Malheurueux qui se laisse à l’Amour decevoir ! Devenez un Achille aux playes qu’avez faites, Un Telefe je suis, lequel s’en va perir : Monstrez moy par pitié vos puissances parfaites, Et d’un remede prompt daignez moy secourir. Si vostre serviteur cruelle vous desfaites, Vous n’aurez le Laurier pour l’avoir fait mourir. My Lady, I am dying abandoned by hope. My wound is to the bone. I am not even he Whom I was the other day, my extreme sorrow Beyond bearing has such power over me. I cannot touch, taste, hear or see : I have lost all my senses, I am a pallid shade ; My body is just a tomb. Unhappy he who loves, Unhappy he who allows himself to be deceived by love ! Become an Achilles through the wounds you have given : I am your Telephus, who is going to die of them. Pity me and show your perfect power, Deign to help me with a prompt remedy. If you cruelly destroy your servant, You will not gain laurels for having killed him. That last couplet is rather fun: a twist on the usual ‘killing me’ line, pointing out that no-one gets honoured for killing their own servant … The poem as a whole is interesting partly for showing how far our modern perception of the classics is from that of the past: Achilles we share, but Telephus? The Trojan War is familiar to us, and the part of Achilles in it; and we are familiar with the ‘core’ Greek tragedies. But that the story of Telephus was a major preoccupation of the tragedians we are largely unaware – all three wrote (now lost) plays on the theme. And that familiarity with the tale extended to the renaissance, and not just in France: Shakespeare references Telephus in Henry VI part two. So who was Telephus? The son of Heracles , he was wounded by Achilles in a preliminary to the Trojan War ; the wound would not heal, but the Delphic Oracle told him “your assailant will heal you”, a line which obsessed the Greeks and Romans. It turned out that he was to be healed by Achilles’ spear, not by Achilles himself, and the weapon that hurts & heals became a popular theme with Roman poets – Horace, Ovid, Propertius and others all use it, often in this context of love poetry. Shakespeare’s use [Henry VI, Part 2, act 5.1.100–101] is witness to wider usage: “Whose smile and frown, like to Achilles’ spear / Is able with the change to kill and cure”. (Wagner fans will readily see the similarities with the theme of the Holy Spear in ‘Parsifal’ which hurts and heals Amfortas.) [For much more on the topic, see the vast Wikipedia article – an indication of the Telephus story’s lasting popularity through the centuries.] Ronsard’s classicism of course runs deep: I like the second stanza whose details map onto the Virgilian underworld depicted in the Aeneid.