Les Amours de Ronsard – Second Livre
Les Amours de MarieSee also La Mort de Marie Ronsard opens his second book in a rather arch & knowing style. While the first book is essentially between him and Cassandre, as he begins the 2nd book he is constantly addressing his poems and symptoms to third parties, providing an ironic commentary on his own infatuation. Fortunately, after he has greeted enough of his friends, he settles down into something more sincere and ‘natural’; and in a less ‘learned’ style than his first book … The contrast between the first and second books was commented on (unfavourably) by his fellow-poet Estienne Pasquier in a letter: “When our Ronsard wrote his first love-poems to his Cassandre, believe me, he was inimitable since he had appointed himself the sole task of his own pleasure [“il n’avoit autre objet que de se contenter soy-mesmes”]. However since he has begun to write poems to Marie and Hélène in order to please the Court, I no longer feel I’m reading Ronsard when I read his work.” (translation: Margaret McGowan). Though Pasquier is clearly prejudiced here, pursuing a rather modern view about the poet’s duty to be true to himself, I find myself in some sympathy with him even if ‘modern studies of Ronsard’s love poetry have largely undermined this charge’ (McGowan, ‘Ideal Forms in the Age of Ronsard’, 1985). In his second book of Amours, Ronsard allowed himself greater licence to break up the sequence of sonnets with verse in different forms – madrigals, chansons, even in one case a 300-line pastoral! These are inserted (unnumbered) into the sequence – see below for the order – but for convenience I have given them a number too, showing which sonnet they come after, so that (e.g.) 6a comes after sonnet 6; and 6c is the third poem inserted between sonnets 6 and 7. There’s also another numbering point to note: Marty-Laveaux and Blanchemain don’t always agree whether a poem is a sonnet or a madrigal (i.e. a sonnet with an extra line or two), so numberings diverge from sonnet 8 (a madrigal in Blanchemain) onwards. The numbers below are Marty-Laveaux’s.