Category Archives: Odes retranchées

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

Odelette à sa maitresse

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Today, a ‘little ode’ Ronsard wrote, chiding his mistress, around 1555. Originally in the Meslanges, this was ‘retranchée’ to a Ronsardian appendix in later editions.

Je veux aymer ardentement :
Aussi veus-je qu’egallement
On m’ayme d’une amour ardente :
Toute amitié froidement lente
Qui peut dissimuler son bien
Ou taire son mal, ne vaut rien,
Car faire en amours bonne mine,
De n’aymer point, c’est le vray sine.
 
Les amants si frois en esté
Admirateurs de chasteté,
Et qui morfondus petrarquisent,
Sont toujours sots, car ils ne prisent
Amour qui de sa nature est
Ardent et prompt, et à qui plest
De faire qu’une amitié dure
Quand elle tient de sa nature.
 
 
                                                                             I hope to love ardently ;
                                                                            And I hope too that equally
                                                                            She’ll love me with ardent love.
                                                                            Every affair which is cold and slow,
                                                                            Which can hide the good things
                                                                            Or be silent about the bad, is worth nothing;
                                                                            For putting on a good face in love
                                                                            Is the true sign of loving not at all.
 
                                                                            Those lovers, so cold in summer,
                                                                            Admirers of chastity,
                                                                            Who feeling dejected make Petrarchan rhymes,
                                                                            They’re always fools, for they do not prize
                                                                            Love, who by nature is
                                                                            Ardent and eager, and who is happy
                                                                            To make affairs long-lasting
                                                                            When they are of his kind.
 
 
Ronsard invents the word (or re-uses his previously-invented word) ‘to Petrarch-ise’, implying of course inferior copyists rather than those who, like Ronsard, can imitate Petrarch’s quality as well as style!
 
Blanchemain’s version has only one minor variant: “Ces” for “Les” at the start of the second stanza. Oddly, Blanchemain prints it among the “Oeuvres inédites” (unpublished works) with a footnote explaining it was published in the second (1555) edition of the ‘Meslanges’…?!
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Ode retranch. 4

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O Pucelle plus tendre
Qu’un beau bouton vermeil
Que le rosier engendre
Au lever du soleil,
D’une part verdissant
De l’autre rougissant !
 
Plus fort que le lierre
Qui se gripe à l’entour
Du chesne aimé, qu’il serre
Enlassé de maint tour,
Courbant ses bras épars
Sus luy de toutes parts,
 
Serrez mon col, maistresse,
De vos deux bras pliez ;
D’un neud qui tienne et presse
Doucement me liez ;
Un baiser mutuel
Nous soit perpetuel.
 
Ny le temps, ny l’envie
D’autre amour desirer
Ne pourra point ma vie
De vos lèvres tirer ;
Ains serrez demourrons,
Et baisant nous mourrons.
 
En mesme an et mesme heure,
Et en mesme saison,
Irons voir la demeure
De la palle maison,
Et les champs ordonnez
Aux amans fortunez.
 
Amour par les fleurettes
Du printemps eternel
Voirra nos amourettes
Sous le bois maternel ;
Là nous sçaurons combien
Les amans ont de bien.
 
Le long des belles plaines
Et parmy les prez vers,
Les rives sonnent pleines
De maints accords divers ;
L’un joue, et l’autre au son
Danse d’une chanson.
 
Là le beau ciel décueuvre
Tousjours un front benin,
Sur les fleurs la couleuvre
Ne vomit son venin,
Et tousjours les oyseaux
Chantent sur les rameaux ;
 
Tousjours les vens y sonnent
Je ne sçay quoy de doux,
Et les lauriers y donnent
Tousjours ombrages moux ;
Tousjours les belles fleurs
Y gardent leurs couleurs.
 
Parmy le grand espace
De ce verger heureux,
Nous aurons tous deux place
Entre les amoureux,
Et comme eux sans soucy
Nous aimerons aussi.
 
Nulle amie ancienne
Ne se dépitera,
Quand de la place sienne
Pour nous deux s’ostera,
Non celles dont les yeux
Prirent le cœur des dieux.
O maid more tender
Than a fair crimson bud
To which the rosebush gives birth
At the rising of the sun,
Partly growing fresh and youthful,
Partly blushing redder!
 
Stronger than the ivy
Which climbs around
Its beloved oak, which it hugs
Wound in many a twist,
Curving its wide-spread arms
Above it on all sides,
 
Embrace my neck, mistress,
With your two bent arms;
In a knot which holds and squeezes
Sweetly bind me;
May our shared kiss
Be everlasting.
 
Neither time, nor the longing
To enjoy some other love
Can in any way pull my life
Back from your lips;
So let’s stay embracing
And we’ll die kissing.
 
In the same year, the same hour,
The same season,
We’ll go and see the dwellings
Of that pale house,
And the fields ordained
For happy lovers.
 
Love with the flowers
Of eternal springtime
Will see our love-dalliance
In our maternal woods;
There we shall discover how many
Good things lovers enjoy.
 
Along the fair plains
And among the green meadows,
The rivers play their music, full
Of many varied harmonies;
One plays, and the other
Dances to the sound of the song.
 
There the fair sky constantly
Shows a mild brow;
The grass-snake does not vomit
His venom on the flowers;
The birds are always
Singing in the branches;
 
The winds there are always making
Some sweet sound;
The laurels there always give
Their moist shade;
The beautiful flowers there always
Retain their colours.
 
Amid the great space
Of this happy orchard
We shall both take our place
Among the lovers,
And like them without a care
We too shall make love.
 
No ancient lover
Will be vexed
When from her spot
For us two she will remove herself,
Not even those whose eyes
Captured the hearts of the gods.

 

 
 
 
 
 

Odelette (Odes retranch. 74)

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Tay-toy, babillarde arondelle,
Ou bien je plumeray ton aile,
Si je t’empoigne, et d’un cousteau
Je te couperay ta languette,
Qui matin san repos caquette,
Et m’estourdit tout le cerveau.
 
Je te preste ma cheminée
Pour chanter, toute la journée,
De soir, de nuict, quand tu voudras ;
Mais au matin ne me resveille
Et ne m’oste, quand je sommeille,
Ma Cassandre d’entre les bras
 
 
 
 
                                                                            Hush, you chattering swallow,
                                                                            Or else I’ll pluck your wings
                                                                            If I can catch you, and with a knife
                                                                            I’ll cut out your little tongue
                                                                            Which every morning without a break cackles
                                                                            And stuns my brain completely.
 
                                                                            I’ll lend you my chimney
                                                                            To sing all day long,
                                                                            At eve, at night, whenever you want;
                                                                            But in the morning, don’t wake me
                                                                            And don’t, while I’m asleep, take
                                                                            My Cassandre from my arms.

 

 

 

 Ronsard can be at his best in his shorter poems – charming, light, breezy, humorous. Here’s a winner!
 
 
 
 
 

Odes retranch. 36

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Venus est par cent mille noms,
Et par cent mille autres surnoms,
Des pauvres amans outragée :
L’un la dit plus dure que fer,
L’autre la surnomme un enfer
Et l’autre la nomme enragée ;
 
L’un appelle soucis et pleurs,
L’autre tristesses et douleurs,
Et l’autre la desesperée.
Mais moy, pour ce qu’elle a tousjours
Esté propice à mes amours,
Je la surnomme la sucrée.
 
 
 
                                                                        Venus is insulted by a hundred thousand names,
                                                                        And a hundred thousand other epithets
                                                                        By poor lovers:
                                                                        One says she is harder than iron,
                                                                        Another describes her as hell,
                                                                        Another calls her enraged.
 
                                                                        One calls her trouble and tears,
                                                                        Another sadness and pain,
                                                                        Another the despair-bringer.
                                                                        But I, since she has always
                                                                        Been favourable to my affairs,
                                                                        I call her the sugar-sweet.

 

 

 

Ode 58 – To his Muse

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A SA MUSE
 
Grossi-toy, ma Muse Françoise,
Et enfante un vers resonant,
Qui bruye d’une telle noise
Qu’un fleuve debordé tonant,
 
Alors qu’il saccage et emmeine,
Pillant de son flot, sans mercy,
Le thresor de la riche plaine,
Le bœuf et le bouvier aussi.
 
Et fay voir aux yeux de la France
Un vers qui soit industrieux,
Foudroyant la vieille ignorance
De nos peres peu curieux.
 
Ne suy ny le sens, ny la rime,
Ny l’art du moderne ignorant,
Bien que le vulgaire l’estime,
Et en béant l’aille adorant.
 
Sus donque l’Envie surmonte,
Coupe la teste à ce serpent,
Par tel chemin au ciel on monte,
Et le nom au monde s’épend.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                              TO HIS MUSE
 
                                                                             Grow great, my French Muse,
                                                                             And give birth to resounding poetry
                                                                             Which roars with rage like that
                                                                             Of a thunderous river overflowing its banks,
 
                                                                             As it ransacks and plunders,
                                                                             Mercilessly pillaging with its flood
                                                                             The treasure of the rich fields,
                                                                             The cow and the cowman too.
 
                                                                             And bring before the eyes of France
                                                                             A verse which can be useful,
                                                                             Shattering the old ignorance
                                                                             Of our fathers with their small curiosity.
 
                                                                             Do not aim at the sense or rhyme
                                                                             Or art of the ignorant moderns,
                                                                             Although the common folk value them,
                                                                             And open-mouthed give them their adoration.
 
                                                                             Up then and defeat Envy,
                                                                             Cut off that serpent’s head,
                                                                             That is the way to reach the heavens
                                                                             And make your name known in the world.
 
 
 
One minor variant in Marty-Laveaux’s edition, in line 3 where he has
 
Qui brusle d’une telle noise
 
                                                                             Which burns with rage like that
 
 
As my daughter has been translating Baudelaire, I dedicate the penultimate verse to her! Incidentally, only the second poem by Ronsard I’ve posted which begins with a ‘G’…!
 
 
 

Ode à Marguerite

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This is no.2 in Blanchemain’s set of the “Odes retranchées”; it heads up Marty-Laveaux’s set as no.1.

Marguerite is both a lady’s name and the flower we know as daisy. So I have used Daisy as the name in the translation.

En mon coeur n’est ecrite
La rose ny autre fleur ;
C’est toy, blanche Marguerite,
Par qui j’ay cette couleur.
 
N’es-tu celle dont les yeux
    Ont surpris
Par un regard gracieux
    Mes espris ?
Puis que ta sœur de haut pris,
Ta sœur, pucelle d’elite,
N’est cause de ma douleur,
C’est donc par toy, Marguerite,
Que j’ay pris ceste couleur.
 
Ma couleur palle nasquit,
    Quand mon cœur
Pour maistresse te requit :
    Mais rigueur
D’une amoureuse langueur
Soudain paya mon merite,
Me donnant ceste paleur
Pour t’aimer trop, Marguerite,
Et ta vermeille couleur.
 
Quel charme pourroit casser
    Mon ennuy
Et ma couleur effacer
    Avec luy ?
De l’amour que tant je suy
La jouissance subite
Seule osteroit le malheur
Que me donna Marguerite,
Par qui j’ay cette couleur.
In my heart is engraved
No rose, nor other flower ;
You, pale Daisy, are the one
By whom I’ve got this colour.
 
Aren’t you she whose eyes
    Surprised
With a gracious glance
    My heart?
For your sister, highly-prized,
Your sister, chosen maid,
Is not the cause of my sadness,
It’s because of you, Daisy,
That I acquired this colour.
 
My pale colour began from
    When my heart
Begged you as mistress;
    But severity
With a lover’s carelessness
Suddenly gave me my reward,
Giving me this pallor
From loving you too much, Daisy,
And your rosy colour.
 
What charm could destroy
     My pain
And wipe away my colour
     With it?
The sudden joy
Of the love which I pursue so hard
Alone can remove the misfortune
Which Daisy gives me,
By whom I’ve got this colour.
 
 
Marty-Laveaux’s version contains a number of differences. As there are minor changes throughout, it’s perhaps easiest to print the whole poem again:
 
En mon coeur n’est point escrite
La rose, ny autre fleur,
C’est toy, belle Marguerite,
Par qui j’ay cette couleur.
 
N’es-tu celle dont les yeux
    Ont surpris
Par un regard gracieux
    Mes espris ?
Puis que ta sœur de haut pris
Ta sœur pucelle d’elite
N’est cause de ma douleur,
C’est donc pour toy, Marguerite,
Que je pris ceste couleur.
 
Un soir ma fiévre nasquit,
    Quand mon cœur
Pour Maistresse te requit :
    Mais rigueur
D’une amoureuse langueur
Soudain paya mon merite,
Me donnant ceste paleur
Pour t’aimer trop, Marguerite,
Et ta vermeille couleur.
 
Hé ! quel charme pourroit bien
    Consumer
Le souci qui s’est fait mien
    Pour aimer ?
De mon tourment si amer
La jouïssance subite
Seule osteroit le malheur
Que me donna Marguerite
Par qui j’ay cette couleur.
In my heart is nowhere engraved
The rose, nor other flower ;
You, pale Daisy, are the one
By whom I’ve got this colour.
 
Aren’t you she whose eyes
Surprised
With a gracious glance
My heart?
For your sister, highly-prized,
Your sister, chosen maid,
Is not the cause of my sadness,
It’s for you, Daisy,
That I acquire this colour.
 
One eve my fever began
When my heart
Begged you as mistress;
But severity
With a lover’s carelessness
Suddenly gave me my reward,
Giving me this paleness
From loving you too much, Daisy,
And your rosy colour.
 
Ah, what charm could indeed
Consume
The worry which has become mine
Over love?
From my bitter torment
Sudden joy
Alone can remove the misfortune
Which Daisy gives me,
By whom I’ve got this colour.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ode (1)

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Je suis homme né pour mourir ;
Je suis bien seur que du trespas
Je ne me sçaurois secourir
Que poudre je n’aille là bas.
 
Je cognois bien les ans que j’ay,
Mais ceux qui me doivent venir,
Bons ou mauvais, je ne les sçay,
Ny quand mon âge doit finir.
 
Pour-ce fuyez-vous-en, esmoy,
Qui rongez mon cœur à tous coups,
Fuyez-vous-en bien loin de moy.
Je n’ay que faire avecque vous.
 
Au moins, avant que trespasser,
Que je paisse à mon aise un jour
Jouer, sauter, rire et dancer
Avecque Bacchus et Amour.
 
 
                                                           I am a man born to die;
                                                           I’m quite sure that from death
                                                           I cannot save myself
                                                           From going below as dust.
 
                                                           I know exactly how old I am,
                                                           But the years which should still come to me,
                                                           Good or bad,I know not,
                                                           Nor when my time will end.
 
                                                           Therefore begone, care,
                                                           You who gnaw my heart at every opportunity,
                                                           Begone far from me,
                                                           I have nothing to do with you.
 
                                                           At least before dying
                                                           Let me spend a day at my ease
                                                           Playing, leaping, laughing, dancing
                                                           With Bacchus and Love.
 
 
 
Blanchemain puts at the front of his edition of the ‘Odes retranchées’ this poem. It starts so strongly, and that opening line cries out to be quoted regularly and often! I wonder why Ronsard removed it from later editions?  Perhaps it is because the last stanza is relatively weak and unfocused – but only relatively.