Category Archives: Amours retranchées

poems from the Recueil des Pièces retranchées des Amours, poems which Ronsard withdrew in later editions.

Amours retranch. 44

A pas mornes et lente seulet je me promeine,
Nonchalant de moy-mesme, et quelque part que j’aille
Un penser importun me livre la bataille,
Et ma fiere ennemie au devant me rameine.
Penser ! un peu de treve, hé permets que ma peine
Se soulage un petit, et tousjours ne me baille
Argument de pleurer pour une qui travaille
Sans relasche mon cœur, tant elle est inhumaine.
Or si tu ne le fais, je te tromperay bien,
Je t’asseure, Penser, que tu perdras ta place
Bien-tost, car je mourray pour abatre ton fort :
Puis quand je seray mort, plus ne sentiray rien
(Tu m’auras beau navrer) que ta rigueur me face,
Ma Dame, ny Amour, car rien ne sent un mort.
                                                                            With grieving and slow steps I wander alone,
                                                                            Caring nothing for myself, and wherever I go
                                                                            A nagging thought propels me to battle
                                                                            And my proud foe drags me to the fore.
                                                                            O thoughts, a short truce! Allow my pain
                                                                            To find a little relief, do not always open for me
                                                                            Cause for tears, for one who troubles
                                                                            My heart without slackening, so inhuman is she.
                                                                            If you will not, I shall really outwit you;
                                                                            I assure you, my thoughts, that you’ll lose your place
                                                                            Very soon, for I shall die to destroy your fortress;
                                                                            Then, when I am dead, I shall feel nothing more
                                                                            That your harshness does to me (you’ll have saddened me in vain)
                                                                            My Lady, nor Love: for a dead man feels nothing.
This isn’t one of Ronsard’s great poems; but still worth a look. The idea is a bit obvious, the metaphors not strong, and the phrase-structure gets a bit tortured by the needs of the metre – especially in the wholesale reorganisation of the sentence in the last tercet, which would in prose terms read ‘when I am dead, I shall feel no more of the harsh things you, my Lady, or Love himself, do to me; you’ll have made me sad in vain; for a dead man feels nothing’.
Note that it’s in 12-syllable Alexandrines, one of the rarer forms for Ronsard’s sonnets.

Amours retranch. 31

Gentil Barbier, enfant de Podalire,
Je te supply, saigne bien ma Maistresse,
Et qu’en ce mois, en saignant, elle laisse
Le sang gelé dont elle me martire.
Encore un peu dans la palette tire
De ce sang froid, ains cette glace espesse,
Afin qu’apres en sa place renaisse
Un sang plus chaud qui de m’aimer l’inspire.
Ha ! comme il sort: c’estoit ce sang si noir
Que je n’ay peu de mon chant émouvoir
En souspirant pour elle mainte année.
Ha ! c’est assez, cesse, gentil Barbier,
Ha je me pasme ! et mon ame estonnée
S’évanoüist, en voyant son meurtrier.
                                                                            Noble barber, child of Podalirius,
                                                                            I beg you bleed my Mistress well,
                                                                            That in this month as she is bled she might lose
                                                                            That frozen blood with which she tortures me.
                                                                            Draw still a little more into your bowl
                                                                            Of that cold blood, or rather that slow-moving ice,
                                                                            So that afterwards in its place may be re-born
                                                                            A hotter blood which will inspire her to love me.
                                                                            Ah, how it flows ; it was that blood so dark
                                                                            Which I could not move with my singing
                                                                            As I sighed for her for so many years.
                                                                            Ah, that’s enough, stop, noble barber,
                                                                            Ah, I swoon ! and my amazed soul
                                                                            Faints as it sees its murderer.
We don’t bleed poeple these days so the image here will be unfamiliar to many. The use of leeches (or simple cutting) to draw off blood was managed by barbers acting as surgeons – the title ‘barber-surgeon’ was common – because doctors didn’t do things like touching and cutting, they left that to the less-qualified surgeons. (Note how the situation has been reversed in modern times, and surgeons get the higher professional ranking. But surgeons are still generally ‘Mr’ while doctors are ‘Dr’.) And it was for many rich people a routine thing, like going to the gym or the physio today. Hence, Ronsard’s muse is having a monthly ‘blood-letting’; it would be going too far to link this with the monthly bleeding she’d be doing anyway.
Podalirius was one of the doctor-sons of Aesculapius (we met his other son Machaon recently).
Blanchemain offers minor variants in line 6 only:  “De son sang froid, ains de sa glace espesse” (‘Of her cold blood, or rather her slow-moving ice’).

Amours retranch. 41

Dame, je meurs pour vous, je meurs pour vous, Madame,
Dame, je meurs pour vous, et si ne vous en chaut:
Je sens pour vous au Coeur un brasier si treschaut,
Que pour le refroidir, je veux bien rendre l’ame.
Vous aurez pour jamais un scandaleux diffame
Si vous me meurdrissez sans vous faire un defaut.
Ha que voulez-vous dire? est-ce ainsi comme il faut
Par une cruauté vous honnorer d’un blasme ?
Non, vous ne me pouvez reprocher que je sois
Un effronté menteur: car mon teint et ma vois,
Et mon chef ja grison vous servent d’asseurance,
Et mes yeux trop enflez, et mon coeur plein d’émoy.
Hé que feray-je plus! puis que nulle creance
Il ne vous plaist donner aux témoins de ma foy.
                                                                            My Lady, I am dying for you, I am dying for you my Lady,
                                                                            My Lady I am dying for you, and yet you do not care:
                                                                            I feel for you in my heart a furnace so hot
                                                                            That to cool it down I would happily hand over my soul.
                                                                            You will forever have scandalous infamy
                                                                            If you murder me though I’ve done you no wrong.
                                                                            Ah, what are you trying to say? Is it thus as it should be,
                                                                            Honouring you with blame for your cruelty?
                                                                            No, you cannot reproach me that I am
                                                                            Some brazen liar: for my colour and my voice,
                                                                            And my already-grey hairs give you assurance,
                                                                            As do my eyes all puffy, and my heart full of anguish.
                                                                            Oh, what more can I do? For no trust
                                                                            Are you pleased to place in the testimony of my loyalty.
Not a great (or even a very good) poem today, I’m afraid. A reminder that even the best can sometimes end up falling back on formulas… From the weakness of the repeat in the opening line, via the string of half-line ‘formulas’ in the middle… In some ways it reminds me of that little game Mozart put together: ‘here’s a string of short (musical) phrases, throw a die and put them together in the random sequence it indicates’!  At last: one of the withdrawn poems that fully deserves its fate 🙂

Amours retranch. 35

Dame, je ne vous puis offrir à mon depart
Sinon mon pauvre coeur, prenez-le je vous prie
Si vous ne le prenez, autre nouvelle amie
(J’en jure par vos yeux) jamais n’y aura part.
Je le sens déjà bien, comme joyeux il part
Hors de mon estomach, peu soigneux de ma vie,
Pour vous aller servir, et rien ne le convie
D’y aller (ce dit-il) que vostre doux regard.
Or si vous le chassez, je ne veux qu’il revienne
Dedans mon estomach en sa place ancienne,
Comme celuy qui hait ce qui vous desplaira.
Il m’aura beau conter sa peine et son malaise,
Car bien qu’il soit à moy, plus mien il ne sera,
Pour ne voir rien chez-moy (Dame) qui vous desplaise.
                                                                            My Lady, I can offer you as I leave
                                                                            Only my poor heart; take it I beg you.
                                                                            If you do not take it, another new beloved
                                                                            Will never (I swear it by your eyes) share it.
                                                                            I can already feel it strongly, as it joyously leaves
                                                                            From my breast, caring little for my life,
                                                                            To go and serve you, and nothing urges it
                                                                            To go there (so it says) but your sweet glance.
                                                                            Now if you chase it away, I want only for it to come back
                                                                            Into my breast in its old place
                                                                            As one who hates whatever will displease you.
                                                                            It will in vain have told me of its pain and unhappiness
                                                                            For although it is mine it won’t be any more
                                                                            On seeing nothing here, my Lady, which might displease you.
In his efforts to describe a paradox (in the sestet), Ronsard ends up rather confused – in my view. Enough, at least, to have withdrawn the poem later. What he means is more or less clear: ‘my heart can come back, but only to take up watch for anything displeasing to you; it will remain yours, and as it will see nothing here to displease you it won’t need to change its loyalty’.
No variants to report from Blanchemain.

Amours retranch. 33

D’une belle Marie, en une autre Marie,
Belleau, je suis tombé, et dire ne te puis
De laquelle des deux plus amoureux je suis,
Car j’en aime bien l’une, et l’autre est bien m’amie.
Plus mon affection en amour est demie
Et plus ceste moitié me consomme d’ennuis,
Car au lieu d’une à part, deux au coup j’en poursuis,
Et pour en aimer une, une autre je n’oublie.
« Or tousjours l’amitié plus est enracinée,
« Plus long-temps elle est ferme et plus est obstinée
« A souffrir de l’amour l’orage vehement.
« Hé ! sçais-tu pas, Belleau, que deux ancres jettées,
« Quand les vents ont plus fort les ondes agitées,
« Tiennent mieux une nef, qu’une ancre seulement?
                                                                            From one fair Marie to another Marie,
                                                                            Belleau, have I fallen [in love], and I cannot say
                                                                            With which of the two I am more in love,
                                                                            For I love one of them indeed, and the other is indeed my beloved.
                                                                            The more my affection is halved in love
                                                                            The more that half consumes me with pain,
                                                                            For instead of one alone, two at a time I’m chasing,
                                                                            And while making love to one of them I can’t forget the other.
                                                                            “Love is always more deeply rooted
                                                                            The longer it is fixed and the more it persists
                                                                            In suffering the violent storm of love.
                                                                            Ah, don’t you know, Belleau, that two anchors thrown out
                                                                            When the winds have strongly stirred the waves
                                                                            Hold a ship better than one anchor alone.”
Today, Ronsard in playful mood. And a reminder how common the name ‘Marie’ was in the 16th century!  The opening is a little awkward in the translation: I’m trying to catch the way the meaning shifts subtly after the end of line 1, as the meaning of “de” is influenced not by “en” (‘from … to’) but by “tombé” (“tombé de” = ‘fall in love with‘). It is clear  from lines 3 onwards that Ronsard isn’t saying he’s fallen out of love with one, as the opening line might imply; rather, that he’s in love with both.
Marty-Laveaux marks the whole sestet with quote marks – though it’s not obvious how this section is direct speech any more than the octet before it; had he marked only the first tercet that could (just) have been quoting a proverb, but the final tercet clearly isn’t. Blanchemain (as usual) sidesteps the question by not using quote marks at all  …

Amours retranch. 40

Ne me dy plus, Imbert, que je chante d’Amour,
Ce traistre, ce méchant: comment pourroy-je faire
Que mon esprit voulust louer son adversaire,
Qui ne donne à ma peine un moment de sejour!
S’il m’avoit fait, Imbert, seulement un bon tour,
Je l’en remercirois, mais il ne se veut plaire
Qu’à rengreger mon mal, et pour mieux me défaire,
Me met devant les yeux ma Dame nuit et jour.
Bien que Tantale soit miserable là-bas,
Je le passe en mal-heur: car s’il ne mange pas
Le fruict qui pend sur luy, toutesfois il le touche,
Et le baise, et s’en joüe: et moy bien que je sois
Aupres de mon Plaisir, seulement de la bouche,
Ny des mains tant soit peu, toucher ne l’oserois.
                                                                            Tell me no more, Imbert, that I should sing of Love,
                                                                            That traitor, that wicked one. How could I make
                                                                            My spirit desire to praise his opponent,
                                                                            Who gives to my pain not a moment of rest!
                                                                            If [Love] had done me, Imbert, a single good turn
                                                                            I would thank him, but he prefers not to please
                                                                            But to aggravate my ills; and to destroy me more easily
                                                                            He puts my Lady before my eyes night and day.
                                                                            Though Tantalus is wretched down below,
                                                                            I surpass him in misfortune; for if he cannot eat
                                                                            The fruit which hangs over him, he can still touch it
                                                                            And kiss it and enjoy it; but I, although I am
                                                                            Right beside my Pleasure, I’d not dare even to touch
                                                                            Her mouth nor, however little, her hands.
Although a footnote assures us that Imbert was a classical scholar, familiar with Latin & Greek poetry, there’s nothing here that would put his skills to the test! The reference to Tantalus is not recondite, and indeed Ronsard even explains it (lines 10-11). I suspect this rather weak metaphor is the reason the poem got cut.
Who was Imbert?  Gérard Marie Imbert was born at Condom-en-Armagnac in 1530, and was later a student with Ronsard & Baif at the collège de Coqueret where the Pleiade first began to come together.  He was the author of a book of sonnets (Sonnets exotériques) published in 1578.




A ce malheur qui jour et nuit me poingt
Et qui ravit ma jeune liberté,
Dois-je tousjours obeïr en ce poinct,
Ne recevant que toute cruauté ?
       Je sens
       Mes sens
    Et mon mal redoubler.
Cest or frizé, et le lys de son teint,
Sous un Soleil doublement esclaircy,
Ont tellement mes moüelles attaint,
Que je me voy déja presque transi.
    Son œil ardant,
       En moy
       Du feu,
    Me brusle peu à peu.
Je cognois bien, mais helas ! c’est trop tard,
Que le meurtrier de ma franche raison,
S’est escoulé par l’huys de mon regard,
Pour me brasser ceste amere poison :
    Je n’eus qu’ennuis
       Le jour
       Au cœur
    M’inspira sa rigueur.
Et nonobstant (cruelle) que je meurs,
En observant une saincte amitié,
Il ne te chaut de toutes mes clameurs,
Qui te devroient inciter à pitié.
    Vien donc, Archer
       Le pas,
    Me guider au trespas !
Ny mes esprits honteusement discrets,
Ny le travail que j’ay pour t’adorer,
Larmes, souspirs et mes aspres regrets
Ne te sçauroient, (Dame) trop inspirer,
    Si quelquefois,
       Tu vois
       A l’œil
       Le dueil
       Que j’ay,
    Pour l’amoureux essay.
Quelqu’un sera de la proye preneur,
Que j’ay long-temps par cy-devant chassé,
Sans meriter joüira de cet heur,
Qui a si fort mon esprit harassé.
    C’est trop servy,
       Du mal
       Je veux
    Concevoir autres vœux.
Quelque lourdaut, ou quelque gros valet,
Seul à l’escart de mon heur joüissant,
Luy tastera son ventre rondelet,
Et de son sein le pourpre rougissant.
    De nuict, de jour,
       Me fait
       Ce fait
    Et me sert d’un Enfer.
Or je voy bien qu’il me convient mourir
Sans esperer aucun allegement,
Puis qu’à ma mort tu prens si grand plaisir,
Ce m’est grand heur et grand contentement,
    Me submettant,
       Qu’à tort
       La Mort
    Me ravit par despit.
This pain which stabs me day and night
And which steals away the freedom of my youth,
Must I always obey it on this point
Though receiving only cruelty?
       I sense
       My senses
    And my pain redoubled.
These golden curls, and the lilies of her complexion,
Beneath a sun shining doubly-clear
Have struck me to the core so far
That I feel myself almost dead.
    Her burning eye,
       At me
       The pain
       Of fire
    Burns me little by little.
I realise, but oh too late,
That the murderer of my cool reason
Has escaped through the portal of my eyes
To brew for me this bitter poison.
    I have had only worries
       The day
       Into my heart
    Breathed her harshness.
And though I may die, cruel one,
Preserving this holy friendship
All my cries will not bother you
Though they should move you to pity.
    Come then, Archer-god
       So dear to me,
       Your speed,
    To guide me to death.
Neither my shy and modest spirits,
Nor the trouble it causes me to love you,
Not tears, sighs and bitter regrets –
None of these, my lady, will be able to move you as much
    As if sometimes
       You see
       In my eyes
       The pain
       Which I gain
    Through love’s trial.
Some other hunter it will be who takes
The prey that I’ve been coursing up to now;
Without deserving, he’ll enjoy that pleasure
Which has so fiercely tortured my soul.
    It’s no use;
       By fatal
       I will
    Pursue other vows of love.
Some dolt or gross servant
Alone, apart, mocking my fortune,
Will caress her rounded belly
And the blushing crimson of her breast.
    By night and day
       Makes me
       This truth
    And makes my life a hell.
I clearly see that I ought to die
Without a hope of lessened pain;
Since my death gives you such great pleasure,
Then it will be a great happiness and great pleasure
    Submitting myself,
       In spite
    Steals my spirit.
Appended by Marty-Laveaux to what he calls an “Autre recueil de sonnets” (‘Another collection of sonnets’), although as you may note it is not a sonnet, this is yet another piece culled from the main texts by Ronsard.  Blanchemain’s text is identical. This was another poem which inspired contemporary composers.