Category Archives: Sonnets

All poems, from whatever publication, in sonnet form.

Helen 2:7

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Ha que ta Loy fut bonne, et digne d’estre apprise,
Grand Moise, grand Prophete, et grand Minos de Dieu,
Qui sage commandas au vague peuple Hebrieu,
Que la liberté fust apres sept ans remise !
 
Je voudrois grand Guerrier, que celle que j’ay prise
Pour Dame, et qui se sied de mon cœur au milieu,
Voulust qu’en mon endroit ton ordonnance eust lieu,
Et qu’au bout de sept ans m’eust remis en franchise.
 
Sept ans sont ja passez qu’en servage je suis ;
Servir encor sept ans de bon cœur je la puis,
Pourveu qu’au bout du temps de son cœur je jouïsse.
 
Mais ceste Grecque Helene ayant peu de souci
Des statuts des Hebrieux, d’un courage endurci
Contre les loix de Dieu n’affranchit mon service.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            Ah, how good and worth being learned is your Law,
                                                                            Great Moses, great prophet, great judge from God,
                                                                            Who wisely instructed the wandering Hebrew people
                                                                            That liberty would be given back to them after seven years.
 
                                                                            I wish, great warrior, that she whom I’ve chosen
                                                                            As my Lady, and who sits in the midst of my heart,
                                                                            Would agree that your command applied in my case,
                                                                            And at the end of seven years had given me back my freedom.
 
                                                                            Seven years have now passed while I’ve been in servitude;
                                                                            I could happily serve another seven years
                                                                            Provided that, at the end of that time, I’d won her heart.
 
                                                                            But this Greek Helen has little regard for
                                                                            The statutes of the Hebrews, and with hardened courage
                                                                            Contravening the laws of God she does not free me from my service.
 
 
 
It’s quite unusual for Ronsard to build a poem around Biblical rather than classical stories: so much so that we might wonder if there was a special reason to demonstrate his orthodoxy. Of course, the religious wars in France were rumbling on for much of his adult life, and there is a great quantity of poetry and prose by Ronsard defending the Catholic side against its Protestant attackers. But to link the poems to Helen with this background seems faintly absurd.
 
The story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt is well-known (from phrases like “Let my people go!”, “the Promised Land”, to films like “The Ten Commandments”). What is also well-known is that, after offending God at Mt Sinai when Moses was receiving the Ten Commandmnets, the tribes of Israel were condemned to wander in the desert for 40 years before entering the Promised Land. How odd, then, that Ronsard should choose the ‘magic’ number 7 instead. It is of course the number of perfection in Catholic numerology: so perhaps Ronsard is contrasting that perfection with the imperfection of his love? It may even be that 7 years really did fit his relationship with Helen – but we saw in poem 5 that he also claimed it was 5 years… (Again being faintly absurd, is it relevant that in poem 5 it’s 5 years; and in poem 7 it’s 7 years…?)
 
Other incidental notes: in line 2, note that Moses is indeed a ‘Judge’, the first of the Biblical judges (there is of course a whole book about his successors); but perhaps this is also a reference to classical mythologies, where Minos rules in the Underworld as ‘judge’ of the dead, with the suggestion here that helen will pay for her misdemeanours one way or another!
 
Blanchemain’s authorised text contaions only one variant:  at the beginning of line 13, the younger Ronsard has “De la loy des Hebrieux”, repeating ‘law’ from line 1 instead of finding a synonym as his older self did. But Blanchemain also footnotes another, larger, variant in lines 3-4:
 
 
Qui, grand legislateur, commandas à l’Hebrieu
Qu’après sept ans passez liberté fust acquise.
                                                                            The great legislator who instructed the Hebrew [people]
                                                                            That after seven years had passed their freedom would be gained.
 
This offers an alternative view of the Biblical ‘7 years’: no longer ‘wandering’ in the desert, Moses might here be talking to the Israelites at the beginning of his campaign for freedom, before the plagues of Egypt. But it must be said there is (as far as I know) no suggestion elsewhere that the 10 plagues of Egypt spanned 7 years …
 
 
 
 
 
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Helen 2:5

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N’oubliez, mon Helene, aujourd’huy qu’il faut prendre
Des cendres sur le front, qu’il n’en faut point chercher
Autre part qu’en mon cœur que vous faites seicher,
Vous riant du plaisir de le tourner en cendre.
 
Quel pardon pensez vous des Celestes attendre?
Le meurtre de vos yeux ne se sçauroit cacher :
Leurs rayons m’ont tué, ne pouvant estancher
La playe qu’en mon sang leur beauté fait descendre.
 
La douleur me consume, ayez de moy pitié.
Vous n’aurez de ma mort ny profit ny louange :
Cinq ans meritent bien quelque peu d’amitié.
 
Vostre volonté passe et la mienne ne change.
Amour qui voit mon cœur voit vostre mauvaistié :
Il tient l’arc en la main, gardez qu’il ne se vange.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            Don’t forget, my Helen, that today we’re supposed to put
                                                                            Ashes on our brow – ashes you need seek nowhere
                                                                            Else but in my heart which you’ve dried out,
                                                                            Laughing at the pleasure of turning it to ashes.
 
                                                                            What pardon do you think to gain from those in heaven ?
                                                                            The murder in your eyes cannot hide itself ;
                                                                            Their rays have killed me, being unable to staunch
                                                                            The wound which their beauty brought down into my blood.
 
                                                                            Sadness consumes me, have pity on me.
                                                                            You’ll gain from my death neither profit nor praise;
                                                                            Five years deserve some small amount of pity.
 
                                                                            Your desire passes away, but mine does not change.
                                                                            Love who sees my heart sees your wickedness;
                                                                            He holds his bow in his hand, watch out that he doesn’t take revenge.
 
 
Easter seems an appropriate time, even if Ash Wednesday is long past, for this one!
 
As usual Ronsard takes the germ of an idea (ashes) and elaborates it into another poetic exploration of the ashes of a lover’s heart. (Note that here it is five years of pining;  a couple of poems later (in sonnet 7), it is seven years… It might be a sign of the poems being written over a period, but more likely it’s poetic licence on Ronsard’s part.)
 
No variants to report in Blanchemain’s version.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Helen 2:4

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Tandis que vous dancez et ballez à vostre aise,
Et masquez vostre face ainsi que vostre cœur,
Passionné d’amour, je me plains en langueur,
Ores froid comme neige, ores chaud comme braise.
 
Le Carnaval vous plaist : je n’ay rien qui me plaise
Sinon de souspirer contre vostre rigueur,
Vous appeller ingrate, et blasmer la longueur
Du temps que je vous sers sans que mon mal s’appaise.
 
Maistresse, croyez moy je ne fais que pleurer,
Lamenter, souspirer et me desesperer :
Je desire la mort et rien ne me console.
 
Si mon front si mes yeux ne vous en sont tesmoins,
Ma plainte vous en serve, et permettez au moins
Qu’aussi bien que le cœur je perde la parole.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            While you dance and sway at your ease
                                                                            And mask your face as you do your heart,
                                                                            I weep in melancholy, fired by love,
                                                                            Now cold as snow, now hot as a fire.
 
                                                                            The Carnival pleases you ; I have nothing which pleases me
                                                                            But sighing against your harshness,
                                                                            Calling you ungrateful, and complaining at the length
                                                                            Of time I’ve served you without lessening my ills.
 
                                                                            Mistress, believe me, I do nothing but weep,
                                                                            Lament, sigh and despair;
                                                                            I wish for death and nothing consoles me.
 
                                                                            If my brow, if my eyes are not your witnesses of this,
                                                                            My weeping may serve for you; but permit at least
                                                                            That, as well as my heart, I may lose my word.
 
 
I think that last line effectively means, “I can cancel my vow to you” – but I’m not sure.
 
An otherwise entirely conventional lover’s lament, but the reference to carnival places it at a specific moment and in a specific context: both unknown now, but still giving it a touching-point with real life.
 
Blanchemain’s version differs only in line 6, “Sinon ce souspirer…” (‘But this sighing against your harshness’), a use of the infinitive as a sort of noun which he obviously felt later didn’t offer the right example of correct French.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Helen 2:2

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A fin qu’à tout jamais de siecle en siecle vive
La parfaite amitié que Ronsard vous portoit,
Comme vostre beauté la raison luy ostoit,
Comme vous enchaisnez sa liberté captive :
 
A fin que d’âge en âge à noz neveux arrive,
Que toute dans mon sang vostre figure estoit,
Et que rien sinon vous mon cœur ne souhaitoit,
Je vous fais un present de ceste Sempervive.
 
Elle vit longuement en sa jeune verdeur :
Long temps apres la mort je vous feray revivre,
Tant peut le docte soin d’un gentil serviteur,
 
Qui veut en vous servant toutes vertus ensuivre.
Vous vivrez (croyez-moy) comme Laure en grandeur,
Au moins tant que vivront les plumes et le livre.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            That for ever, from age to age, may live on
                                                                            The perfect love which Ronsard bears you,
                                                                            Since your beauty has stolen his reason,
                                                                            Since you keep in chains his captive liberty ;
 
                                                                            That from age to age to our descendants may be known
                                                                            How your picture was everywhere in my blood,
                                                                            And how my heart desired nothing but you,
                                                                            I make you a gift of this sempervivum
 
                                                                            It lives long in its youthful freshness :
                                                                            A long time after death I shall make you live again,
                                                                            So far as the learned care of a noble servant
 
                                                                            Who wishes in serving you to follow all the virtues.
                                                                            You shall live, believe me, like Laura in greatness,
                                                                            At least as long as live pens and books.
 
 
 

An ordinary offering – a succulent houseplant – generates the conceit of ‘ever-living’ through the memorial of poetry; and suddenly we are back in the world of Petrarch and Laura. As we give up pens and books for online messaging and e-books, it would be nice to think Ronsard will survive the changeover 🙂

Nicolas Richelet, early editor of the Helen poems, offers this footnote on the sempervivum:  “A kind of simple which takes its name from its nature. It is not without cause that he makes this present, sempervivum is also used to make someone fall in love. That’s why in ancient times it was attached to house doors, to chase away all hatred and hostility.”
 
(This use of sempervivum was apparently unknown to Culpepper, whose Herbal says ‘Our ordinary Houseleek is good for all inward heats, as well as outward, and in the eyes or other parts of the body: a posset made of the juice is singularly good in all hot agues, for it cooleth and tempereth the blood and spirits and quencheth the thirst; and is also good to stay all defluction or sharp and salt rheums in the eyes, the juice being dropped into them. If the juice be dropped into the ears, it easeth pain…. It cooleth and restraineth all hot inflammations, St. Anthony’s fire (Erysipelas), scaldings and burnings, the shingles, fretting ulcers, ringworms and the like; and much easeth the pain and the gout.’ – from Wikipedia.)
 
Blanchemain has only two variants, plus a third hidden in a footnote. In line 4 he has a chnage of tense, “Comme vous enchaisniez … ” (‘Since you have kept in chains …’); and in line 13 “Vous vivrez et croistrez …” (‘You shall live and increase like Laura in greatness’), which is perhaps better in meaning but has none of the rhythmic complexity of the revised version. The footnote offers a variant of the opening, “A fin qu’en renaissant …” (‘That through being reborn from age to age may live on …’), which offers two slightly different ways of reading the opening: being reborn from age to age, in order to live on; or living on from age to age through being reborn.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Helen – book 2 – sonnet 1

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Let’s now turn to the last of the three main sonnet-sequences, and work towards completing the Helen series…

Soit qu’un sage amoureux ou soit qu’un sot me lise,
Il ne doit s’esbahir voyant mon chef grison,
Si je chante d’amour : tousjours un vieil tison
Cache un germe de feu sous une cendre grise.
 
Le bois verd à grand’ peine en le souflant s’attise,
Le sec sans le soufler brusle en toute saison.
La Lune se gaigna d’une blanche toison,
Et son vieillard Tithon l’Aurore ne mesprise.
 
Lecteur, je ne veux estre escolier de Platon,
Qui la vertu nous presche, et ne fait pas de mesme :
Ny volontaire Icare, ou lourdaut Phaëthon,
 
Perdus pour attenter une sotise extreme :
Mais sans me contrefaire ou Voleur ou Charton,
De mon gré je me noye et me brusle moy-mesme.
 
 
 
                                                                            Whether a wise lover or whether a fool reads me,
                                                                            He ought not to be astonished, seeing my grey hairs,
                                                                            That I’m singing of love; ancient embers always
                                                                            Hide the germ of a fire beneath the grey ash.
 
                                                                            Green wood is kindled with great difficulty, by blowing on it,
                                                                            But dry wood burns at any time without blowing;
                                                                            The moon has got herself a white fleece,
                                                                            And Dawn does not despise her old Tithonus.
 
                                                                            Reader, I do not wish to be a scholar of Plato
                                                                            Who preaches us virtue but does not do as he says;
                                                                            Nor willingly [to be] Icarus, or clumsy Phaethon,
 
                                                                            Destroyed by attempting their extreme folly;
                                                                            But without pretending to be that thief or carter,
                                                                            I’d willingly give myself to drowning or burning.
 
 
 
Beginning the second book of helen poems, Ronsard cannot avoid admitting his age and potentially foolish behaviour! But, in an image I don’t recall him using earlier, he compares how well ‘old’ and ‘young’ wood burns …
 
The classical references are fairly simple ones:  Aurora and her aged lover Tithonus; Icarus who flew too near the sun, Phaethon who lost control of Apollo’s sun-chariot and was killed. Note however that Ronsard re-characterises both myths (line 13):  Icarus did not steal the wings he used, but foolishly mis-used what he’d been given; and there’s no particular sense that Phaethon was unable to drive skilfully (like a ‘carter’), only that the sun-god’s horses were too much for him.
 
Blanchemain has one variant in his text (line 4, “Cache un germe de feu dessous la cendre grise”) not affecting the meaning, and offers a variant of line 10 in a footnote: “Qui, pour trop contempler, a tousjours le teint blesme” (‘Who from too much studying always has a pallid look’). Frankly, that version of line 10 is much more apposite – fitting the context of the outward appearances which the rest of the poem discusses – than the later variant which is only loosely picked up by the denigratory ‘thief and carter’ of line 13; presumably it was the explosion of sharp ‘t’ sounds that Ronsard sought to avoid.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Interlude (5)

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Another quick set of variants across editions. I’m including this one partly because it graphically demonstrates also that you can’t trust modern editors: neither of my two ‘standards’, Blanchemain and Marty-Laveaux, actually print the text which appears in the edition they say they are using…

1552
 
Thiard, chacun disoit à mon commencement,
Que j’estoi trop obscur au simple populaire :
Aujourd’hui, chacun dit que je suis au contraire,
Et que je me dements parlant trop bassement.
 
Toi, qui as enduré presqu’un pareil torment,
Di moi, je te suppli, di moi que doi-je faire ?
Di moi, si tu le sçais, comme doi-je complaire
A ce monstre testu, divers en jugement ?
 
Quand j’escri haultement, il ne veult pas me lire,
Quand j’escri basement, il ne fait qu’en médire :
De quel estroit lien tiendrai-je, ou de quels clous,
 
Ce monstrueux Prothé, qui se change à tous cous ?
Paix, paix, je t’enten bien : il le faut laisser dire,
Et nous rire de lui, comme il se rit de nous.
 
 
 
Thiard, everyone said when I began
That I was too obscure for the simple man in the street;
Today, everyone says that I am the opposite,
And that I’ve gone mad for speaking in too low a style.
 
You who have endured much the same torture,
Tell me, I beg, tell me what must I do?
Tell me, if you know, how I should please
This many-headed monster, with such varied opinions?
 
When I write in a high style, they don’t want to read me;
When I write in a low style, they just abuse me.
With what tight bonds or what nails can I hold
 
This monstrous Proteus who changes shape at every moment?
OK, OK, I understand you completely: we must leave them to speak,
And laugh at them, as they laugh at us.
 
1560
 
Mon Thiard, on disoit à mon commencement,
Que j’estoi trop obscur au simple populaire :
Mais aujourdhuy lon dit que je suis au contraire,
Et que je me dements parlant trop bassement.
 
Toy, de qui le labeur enfante doctement
Des livres immortels, di-moi, que doi-je faire ?
Di-moi (car tu sçais tout) comme doi-je complaire
A ce monstre testu, divers en jugement ?
 
Quand j’escri hautement, il ne veult pas me lire,
Quand j’escri basement, il ne fait qu’en médire :
De quels liens serrez ou de quel rang de clous
 
Tiendrai-je ce Prothé, qui se change à tous cous ?
Paix, paix, je t’enten bien : il le faut laisser dire,
Et nous rire de lui, comme il se rit de nous.
 
 
 
My Thiard, they used to say at the beginning
That I was too obscure to the simple man in the street;
But today they say that I am the opposite,
And that I’ve gone mad for speaking in too low a style.
 
You whose labour gives birth learnedly
To immortal books, tell me, what should I do?
Tell me (for you know everything) how I should please
This many-headed monster, with such varied opinions?
 
When I write in a high style, they don’t want to read me;
When I write in a low style, they just abuse me.
With what tight bonds or what line of nails
 
Can I hold this Proteus who changes shape at every moment?
OK, OK, I understand you completely: we must leave them to speak,
And laugh at them, as they laugh at us.
 
1578
 
Tyard, on me blasmoit à mon commencement,
Que j’estoi trop obscur au simple populaire :
Mais on dit aujourd’huy que je suis au contraire,
Et que je me dements parlant trop bassement.
 
Toy, de qui le labeur enfante doctement
Des livres immortels, dy-moy, que doy-je faire ?
Dy-moy (car tu sçais tout) comme doy-je complaire
A ce monstre testu, divers en jugement ?
 
Quand je brave en mes vers, il a peur de me lire :
Quand ma voix se desenfle, il ne fait que mesdire.
Dy moy de quels liens, et de quel rang de clous
 
Tiendray-je ce Prothé, qui se change à tous coups ?
Tyard, je t’enten bien, il le faut laisser dire,
Et nous rire de luy, comme il se rit de nous.
 
 
 
Tyard, they used to blame me at the beginning
That I was too obscure to the simple man in the street;
But today they say that I am the opposite,
And that I’ve gone mad for speaking in too low a style.
 
You whose labour gives birth learnedly
To immortal books, tell me, what should I do?
Tell me (for you know everything) how I should please
This many-headed monster, with such varied opinions?
 
When I am defiant in my verse, they are afraid to read me;
When my voice becomes less grand, they just abuse me.
Tell me with what bonds or what line of nails
 
Can I hold this Proteus who changes shape at every moment?
Tyard, I understand you completely: we must leave them to speak,
And laugh at them, as they laugh at us.
 
 
1584
 
Tyard, on me blasmoit à mon commencement,
Dequoy j’estois obscur au simple populaire :
Mais on dit aujourd’huy que je suis au contraire,
Et que je me démens parlant trop bassement.
 
Toy de qui le labeur enfante doctement
Des livres immortels, dy-moy, que doy-je faire ?
Dy-moy (car tu sçais tout) comme doy-je complaire
A ce monstre testu divers en jugement ?
 
Quand je brave en mes vers il a peur de me lire :
Quand ma voix se desenfle, il ne fait qu’en mesdire.
Dy-moy de quel lien, force, tenaille, ou clous
 
Tiendray-je ce Proté qui se change à tous coups ?
Tyard, je t’enten bien, il le faut laisser dire,
Et nous rire de luy, comme il se rit de nous.
 
 
 
Tyard, they used to blame me at the beginning
Because I was too obscure to the simple man in the street;
But today they say that I am the opposite,
And that I’ve gone mad for speaking in too low a style.
 
You whose labour gives birth learnedly
To immortal books, tell me, what should I do?
Tell me (for you know everything) how I should please
This many-headed monster, with such varied opinions?
 
When I am defiant in my verse, they are afraid to read me;
When my voice becomes less grand, they just abuse me.
Tell me with what bond, force, manacles or nails
 
Can I hold this Proteus who changes shape at every moment?
Tyard, I understand you completely: we must leave them to speak,
And laugh at them, as they laugh at us.
 
1587
 
Ma Muse estoit blasmée à son commencement,
D’apparoistre trop haulte au simple populaire :
Maintenant des-enflée on la blasme au contraire,
Et qu’elle se desment parlant trop bassement.
 
Toy de qui le labeur enfante doctement
Des livres immortels, dy-moy, que doy-je faire ?
Dy-moy (car tu sçais tout) comme doy-je complaire
A ce monstre testu divers en jugement ?
 
Quand je tonne en mes vers il a peur de me lire :
Quand ma voix se rabaisse il ne fait qu’en mesdire.
Dy-moy de quel lien force tenaille ou clous
 
Tiendray-je ce Proté qui se change à tous coups ?
Tyard, je t’enten bien, il le faut laisser dire,
Et nous rire de luy comme il se rit de nous.
 
 
 
My Muse used to be blamed at the beginning
For appearing too high-flown for the simple man in the street;
Now she’s become less grand, they blame her for the opposite,
And that she’s gone mad for speaking in too low a style.
 
You whose labour gives birth learnedly
To immortal books, tell me, what should I do?
Tell me (for you know everything) how I should please
This many-headed monster, with such varied opinions?
 
When I thunder in my verse, they are afraid to read me;
When my voice becomes less grand, they just abuse me.
Tell me with what bond, force, manacles or nails
 
Can I hold this Proteus who changes shape at every moment?
Tyard, I understand you completely: we must leave them to speak,
And laugh at them, as they laugh at us.
 
 
No doubt, as it was the opening poem in the Continuation des Amours and then became the first poem of book 2 in its various editions, Ronsard would have devoted significant effort to thinking and re-thinking the way his book opens.
 
If you look back at my original post, you’ll see that:
 – Marty-Laveaux inserts “Quand je tonne” from 1587 into his ‘1584’ version;
 – Blanchemain, basing his text on the 1560 edition, uses the 1578 version for line 3 (where Ronsard re-organised simply to remove the medieval ‘lon’), and also for line 13 (where Ronsard re-uses Tyard’s name, to avoid the repetitive exclamation “paix, paix!”)
 
Neither is a great sin, of course, but neither is a version Ronsard actually authorised!
 
 
 

 

Interlude (4)

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Six months ago I posted a few poems in multiple versions, showing how they changed as Ronsard re-edited them through various editions. Here’s another which, as you can see, Ronsard virtually re-wrote every time he looked at it…

1552
 
Marie, qui voudroit vostre beau nom tourner,
Il trouveroit Aimer: aimez-moi donq, Marie,
Faites cela vers moi dont vostre nom vous prie,
Vostre amour ne se peut en meilleur lieu donner:
 
S’il vous plaist pour jamais un plaisir demener,
Aimez-moi, nous prendrons les plaisirs de la vie,
Penduz l’un l’autre au col, et jamais nulle envie
D’aimer en autre lieu ne nous pourra mener.
 
Si faut il bien aimer au monde quelque chose:
Cellui qui n’aime point, cellui-là se propose
Une vie d’un Scyte; et ses jours veut passer
 
Sans gouster la douceur des douceurs la meilleure.
E, qu’est-il rien de doux sans Venus? las! à l’heure
Que je n’aimeray point puissai-je trépasser!
 
 
 
Marie, anyone who tried re-arranging your lovely name
Would find “Aimer” [‘to love’]; so love me, Marie,
Do to me what your name asks of you,
Your love cannot be given anywhere better.
 
If you please to keep it a pleasure for ever,
Love me, we will enjoy the pleasures of life
Hanging on each other’s necks, and never will any desire
To love elsewhere be able to lead us away.
 
After all, you have to love something in this world;
Whoever loves not at all offers himself only
The life of a Scythian, and wants to spend his days
 
Without tasting the sweetest sweet of all.
What is there that is sweet without Love? Oh, at the moment
When I cease loving, may I die!
1560
 
Marie, qui voudroit vostre nom retourner,
Il trouveroit Aimer : aimez-moy donc, Marie ;
Puisque vostre beau nom à l’amour vous convie,
Il faut vostre jeunesse à l’amour adonner.
 
S’il vous plaist pour jamais vostre amy m’ordonner,
Ensemble nous prendrons les plaisirs de la vie,
D’une amour contra aymée, et jamais autre envie
Ne me pourra le cœur du vostre detourner.
 
Si faut-il bien aimer au monde quelque chose ;
Celuy qui n’aime point, pour son but se propose
Une vie d’un Scythe, et ses jours veut passer
 
Sans gouster la douceur des douceurs la meilleure.
Eh! qu’est-il rien de doux sans Venus? las! à l’heure
Que je n’aimeray point puissai-je trespasser!
 
 
 
Marie, anyone who tried re-arranging your name
Would find “Aimer”; so love me, Marie,
Since your fair name makes you ready to love,
You should give your youth to love.
 
If you please to appoint me your love for ever,
Together we shall take the pleasures of life,
With a love loved in return, and never will any other desire
Be able to turn my heart away from yours.
 
You really must love something in this world;
Whoever loves not at all, offers himself the goal of
The life of a Scythian, and wants to spend his days
 
Without tasting the sweetest sweet of all.
Ah, is there anything that is sweet without Love? Oh, at the moment
When I cease loving, may I die!
1578
 
Marie, qui voudroit vostre nom retourner,
Il trouveroit Aimer : aimez-moy donc, Marie ;
Vostre nom de nature à l’amour vous convie,
Pecher contre son nom ne se doit pardonner.
 
S’il vous plaist vostre cœur pour gage me donner,
Je vous offre le mien : ainsi de ceste vie
Nous prendrons les plaisirs, et jamais autre envie
Ne me pourra l’esprit d’une autre emprisonner.
 
Il fault aimer, maistresse, au monde quelque chose.
Celuy qui n’aime point, malheureux se propose
Une vie d’un Scythe, et ses jours veut passer
 
Sans gouster la douceur des douceurs la meilleure.
Eh! qu’est-il rien de doux sans Venus? las! à l’heure
Que je n’aimeray plus puissai-je trespasser!
 
 
 
Marie, anyone who tried re-arranging your name
Would find “Aimer”; so love me, Marie,
Your fair name naturally makes you ready to love,
Sinning against your own name you should not forgive yourself.
 
If you please to give me your heart as guarantee,
I shall offer you mine: so this life’s
Pleasures we shall take, and never will any other desire
Let me emprison the spirit of another lady.
 
One must love something, mistress, in this world;
If anyone loves not at all, that unfortunate offers himself
The life of a Scythian, and wants to spend his days
 
Without tasting the sweetest sweet of all.
Ah, is there anything that is sweet without Love? Oh, at the moment
When I cease loving, may I die!
 
1584
 
Marie, qui voudroit vostre nom retourner,
Il trouveroit aimer : aimez-moi donc, Marie,
Vostre nom de nature à l’amour vous convie,
A qui trahist Nature il ne faut pardonner.
 
S’il vous plaist vostre cœur pour gage me donner,
Je vous offre le mien : ainsi de ceste vie,
Nous prendrons les plaisirs, et jamais autre envie
Ne me pourra l’esprit d’une autre emprisonner.
 
Il faut aimer, maistresse, au monde quelque chose.
Celuy qui n’aime point, malheureux se propose
Une vie d’un Scythe, et ses jours veut passer
 
Sans gouster la douceur des douceurs la meilleure.
Rien n’est doux sans Venus et sans son fils : à l’heure
Que je n’aimeray plus puissé-je trespasser.
 
 
 
Marie, anyone who tried re-arranging your name
Would find “Aimer”; so love me, Marie,
Your fair name naturally makes you ready to love,
And anyone who betrays Nature ought not to be forgiven.
 
If you please to give me your heart as guarantee,
I shall offer you mine: so this life’s
Pleasures we shall take, and never will any other desire
Let me emprison the spirit of another lady.
 
One must love something, mistress, in this world;
If anyone loves not at all, that unfortunate offers himself
The life of a Scythian, and wants to spend his days
 
Without tasting the sweetest sweet of all.
Nothing is sweet, without Venus and her son:  at the moment
When I cease loving, may I die!
1587
 
Marie, qui voudroit vostre nom retourner,
Il trouveroit aimer : aimez-moi donc, Marie,
Vostre nom de luymesme à l’amour vous convie,
Il fault suyvre Nature, et ne l’abandonner.
 
S’il vous plaist vostre cœur pour gage me donner,
Je vous offre le mien : ainsi de ceste vie,
Nous prendrons les plaisirs, et jamais autre envie
Ne me pourra l’esprit d’une autre emprisonner.
 
Il faut aimer, maistresse, au monde quelque chose.
Celuy qui n’aime point, malheureux se propose
Une vie d’un Scythe, et ses jours veut passer
 
Sans gouster la douceur des douceurs la meilleure.
Rien n’est doux sans Venus et sans son fils : à l’heure
Que je n’aimeray plus puissé-je trespasser.
 
 
 
Marie, anyone who tried re-arranging your name
Would find “Aimer”; so love me, Marie,
Your fair name of itself makes you ready to love,
You should follow Nature and not abandon her.
 
If you please to give me your heart as guarantee,
I shall offer you mine: so this life’s
Pleasures we shall take, and never will any other desire
Let me emprison the spirit of another lady.
 
One must love something, mistress, in this world;
If anyone loves not at all, that unfortunate offers himself
The life of a Scythian, and wants to spend his days
 
Without tasting the sweetest sweet of all.
Nothing is sweet, without Venus and her son:  at the moment
When I cease loving, may I die!