If you are like me, when you see a footnote in an edition claiming that a poem is a translation of another one in another language, or an adaptation/response to one in the same language, you want more than the footnote – you want to see the original poem to appreciate the correspondences, the re-imaginings, the way in which the poet has adapted the original to make it a true poem in his own terms. That is what I have tried to do on various entries on this blog, providing the original text when I can rather than just (as in most editions) alerting you to the origin!

The ancients

Anacreon (582-485 BC)

One of the earliest Greek lyric poets. Ronsard spent the winter of 1544 studying him and other Greek poets with Jean Daurat (or Dorat) & Jean-Antoine de Baïf. In addition to Ronsard’s imitations in his own Odes, Remy Belleau produced an Anacreon translation in the mid-1550s.

Some of the Greek poems included in those early editions of Anacreon are now thought to be inauthentic, that is, to be imitations of Anacreon by other Greek poets; modern editors relegate them to the ‘Anacreonta’ or appendix to Anacreon.

Ronsard adapted many of Anacreon’s odes into his own. The following table sets out the correspondences where I have (so far) provided Anacreon’s originals as well; there are many others where I have not (yet?) taken the trouble to look at Anacreon’s original!

Ronsard
Ode 4:20
Ode 4:20
Anacreon
Ode 17 (=Anacreonta 4)
Ode 18 (=Anacreonta 5)

Theocritus (flourished around 270 BC)

The creator of pastoral poetry (bucolics, eclogues), he was probably Sicilian – born in Syracuse – a reminder that much ‘Greek’ poetry came from the colonies of  ‘greater Greece’ around the Mediterranean. A direct influence therefore on Virgil’s Eclogues and all pastoral poetry since.

Ronsard
Le Voyage de Tours
Theocritus
Idyll 3

Catullus (c84-54 BC)

Gaius Valerius Catullus was a late-Republican poet who took Hellenistic models of poetry and made them Roman. The content is personal rather than general, subjective and often explicit – so much so that only some of his poetry gets onto the syllabus! He influenced strongly the succeeding generations of love-poets in Rome, and although Horace and, even more, Ovid are more common models for renaissance love-poets, Catullus is where it began.

Ronsard
Chanson 2.61b
Catullus
poem 51

Vergil (70-19 BC)

Rome’s greatest poet, who re-invented Homer to create a Roman foundation myth in the Aeneid. Not prolific, his other works are the Georgics, an ‘epic’ about farming which draws on the other semi-mythical Greek originator, Hesiod; and the Eclogues (again based on Greek originals) which have been the source of endless Arcadian shepherd poetry ever since!

Ronsard
Amours 1.160
Vergil
Georgics 2.323-8

The ‘moderns’

Petrarch (1304-74)

Any sonneteer has to look back to Petrarch, the greatest early exponent of the form and perhaps its creator. Like Ronsard, of course, Petrarch wrote hundreds of sonnets; and Ronsard’s – like those of the many Italian ‘petrarchists’ – are often reminiscent of Petrarchan originals without being real translations, borrowing & re-using ideas, phrases or structures. In fact, what is noticeable about Ronsard’s indirect use of or references to Italian sources is that he follows the petrarchists rather than Petrarch: as in modern times good parody often shows us the key features of the parodied more succinctly than studying the ‘original’, so the petrarchists summarised the many influences of Petrarch on Italian poetry, and are a sort of ‘short cut’ to the key Petrarchan ideals!  (A more cynical presentation of the petrarchist influence is seen in Cécile Alduy – whom I found through Kate van Orden’s “Music Authorship & the Book” – who argues that with a ‘remarkable economy of means’ Ronsard’s circle re-cycled the same (old) metaphors, tropes and forms thus providing a large stock of poems suitable for reading in any order, or for dipping into …)

I have not often made the effort to show the Petrarchan ‘originals’; but here are some examples among the many.

Petrarch
Canzoniere 61
Canzoniere 134
Canzoniere 161
Canzoniere 192
Canzoniere 203
Canzoniere 261
Ronsard
Amours 1, 112
Amours 2.53
Amours 1, 178
Helen 2, 3
Amours 2, 49
Amours 1, 63

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533)

The great epic poet of Orlando Furioso, a source of metaphors, operas and ideas for centuries, and also a source for Pléiade poets – du Bellay derived 10 poems in L’Olive from settings in the epic.  But Ariosto also wrote shorter poems, madrigals and sonnets.

Ariosto
Sonnet 8
Ronsard
Amours 1, 173

Pietro Bembo (1470-1547)

One of the many humanists who wrote poetry and followed the ‘petrarchist’ tradition of sonneteering was the great scholar, humanist, politician and Cardinal(!) Pietro Bembo. Again, I’ve not chased down all references etc but here is a sample:

Bembo
Sonnet 7
Sonnet 9
Sonnet 38
Sonnet 39
Sonnet 44
Ronsard
Amours 1, 168
Amours 1, 208
Amours 1, 203
Amours 1, 151
Amours 1, 161

Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo (1496-??)

Another sixteenth-century ‘petrarchist’ steeped in the Greek and Latin of the ancients, and in Petrarch’s style. He published his ‘exposition’ on Petrarch’s Canzoniere in 1533, which was perhaps the most successful as well as the best 16th-century commentary, with 8 editions up to 1850. (He appears not to be related to the famous composer Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa.) His poems were collected in Rime e versi in lode dell’illustriss .… donna Giovanna Castriota Carafa  in 1585, though it is not clear if he was alive or dead at the time. Ronsard probably knew them from Rime diverse di molti eccellentiss. autori nuovamente raccolte (1546), which is the source I’ve used for those of his poems rendered by Ronsard in French:

Ronsard
Amours 1, 176
Amours 1, 178
Gesualdo
Rime diverse Sonnet 5
Rime diverse Sonnet 6

 Marullus (1458-1500)

Michael Tarchaniota Marullus was a favourite Neo-Latin poet of the late 15th century – so, he was writing 75 years or so before Ronsard and had acquired a sort of classic status. Today, sadly, he is nearly forgotten. Not quite forgotten, fortunately: there are digital copies of the 1509 edition of his Epigrammata et Hymni on Google books or at the Bayerische StaatsBibliothek; a modern edition and translation by Charles Fantazzi (mostly) available on Google books; and texts in TXT and DOC (as well as PDF) from at the excellent Carmina Latina site.

Ronsard translated – or, more often, re-imagined – a number of poems by Marullus in Amours 2, and apart from a few songs at the beginning, the chansons represent a ‘run’ of such translations dotted through the book. The poems come from the Epigrammata, and just as a later generation would be inspired mostly by Ronsard’s first book of Amours (this is where most of the musical settings come from, for instance) so Ronsard was inspired mostly by the freshness of Marullus’s first book of Epigrams.

Here is a set of links that show the Marullus Epigrams corresponding to Ronsard chansons in the Amours de Marie:  or the Ronsard chansons corresponding to the Marullus epigram. In each case the Latin epigram & its translation appear with the entry for the corresponding chanson.

Chanson
18a
18b
25a
25b
28a
28b
31a
38a
48a
49a
49b
59a
64a
Epigram
4.2
3.35
1.2
1.61
1.49
1.28
2.19
1.13
2.44
2.40
1.37
1.58
2.4
Epigram
1.2
1.13
1.28
1.37
1.49
1.58
1.61
2.4
2.19
2.40
2.44
3.35
4.2
Chanson
25a
38a
28b
49b
28a
59a
25b
64a
31a
49a
48a
18b
18a

 

Dante (1265-1321)

As a PS, you might also like to see a link with Dante helpfully identified by a reader of this blog on Sonnet 12 of the Marie set.

 

 

 

 
Advertisements

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Ronsard as translator: the Epigrams of Marullus « Oeuvres de Ronsard

  2. Pingback: Odes 5, 15 | Oeuvres de Ronsard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s