Tag Archives: Cupid

Amours 2:66

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Amour, voyant du Ciel un pescheur sur la mer,
Calla son aile bas sur le bord du navire :
Puis il dit au pescheur, Je te pri’ que je tire
Ton reth qu’au fond de l’eau le plomb fait abysmer.
 
Un Dauphin qui sçavoit le feu qui vient d’aimer,
Voyant Amour sur l’eau, à Tethys le va dire :
Tethys si quelque soin vous tient de nostre empire,
Secourez-le ou bien tost il s’en va consumer.
 
Tethys laissa de peur sa caverne profonde,
Haussa le chef sur l’eau et vit Amour sur l’onde.
Puis elle s’ecria : Mon mignon, mon nepveu,
 
Fuyez et ne bruslez mes ondes, je vous prie.
Ma tante, dit Amour, n’ayez peur de mon feu,
Je le perdis hier dans les yeux de Marie.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            Love, seeing from heaven a fisherman on the sea,
                                                                            Folded his wings, settling low on the boat’s side,
                                                                            Then said to the fisherman, “Please may I take
                                                                            Your net which lead-weights make sink deep in the sea ?”
 
                                                                            A dolphin which understood the fire which comes from loving,
                                                                            Seeing Love on the sea, went to tell Tethys :
                                                                            “Tethys, if you have any care for our kingdom,
                                                                            Come to its aid or it will very soon be consumed.”
 
                                                                            Tethys left her deep cavern in fear,
                                                                            Raised her above the water and saw Love on the waves.
                                                                            Then she cried, “my darling, my nephew,
 
                                                                            Run away, don’t burn up my waves, I beg you.”
                                                                            “Aunt,” said Love, “have no fear of my fire,
                                                                            I lost it yesterday in the eyes of Marie.”
 
 
 
An odd poem really – the desire for a net (to capture more victims?) being unexplained, and the poem running off into an extended fire metaphor.

 
Blanchemain offers the usual minor minor variants. The end of the second stanza is “Secourez-le ou bien tout il est prest d’enflammer” (‘Come to its aid or he’s all set to burn it up’), and the end of the third is “Puis elle s’ecria : Las ! Amour, mon nepveu…” (‘Then she cried, “Oh, Love, my nephew’…). Finally, the last stanza begins “Ne bruslez de vos feux mes ondes…” (‘Don’t burn up my waves with your fires…’).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

La Quenoille – – (Amours 2.67c)

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This poem is simply called “La Quenoille” (the distaff – the long tall bit on top of a spinning wheel on which the wool is wound as it’s spun); not a chanson officially, or an elegy, or anything else. Ronsard got quite annoyed when critics laughed at him for making so much of the gift of something so functional, a reaction which Belleau reflects in a footnote: ‘If all the ladies who laughed at the simple and inexpensive gift of the poet to a fair simple girl, wise and not lazy, were as skilled and useful as her, our age would have greater worth’. So there!  (Belleau uses, or invents, the word “prudfemme“, a match for “prudhomme“, which I’ve here rendered as ‘skilled and useful’.)  It’s relevant that the idea has classical roots, being from Theocritus,who gives a distaff as a present to the wife of Nicias, a doctor, his host and friend.

Quenoille, de Pallas la compagne et l’amie,
Cher present que je porte à ma chere Marie,
A fin de soulager l’ennuy qu’elle a de moy,
Disant quelque chanson en filant dessur toy,
Faisant piroüeter à son huis amusée
Tout le jour son roüet et sa grosse fusée.
 
Quenouille, je te meine où je suis arresté :
Je voudrois racheter par toy ma liberté.
Tu ne viendras és mains d’une mignonne oisive,
Qui ne fait qu’attifer sa perruque lascive,
Et qui perd tout son temps à mirer et farder
Sa face, à celle fin qu’on l’aille regarder :
Mais bien entre les mains d’une disposte fille
Qui devide qui coust, qui mesnage et qui file
Avecques ses deux sœurs pour tromper ses ennuis,
L’hyver devant le feu, l’esté devant son huis,
 
Aussi je ne voudrois que toy Quenouille faite
En nostre Vandomois (où le peuple regrette
Le jour qui passe en vain) allasses en Anjou
Pour demeurer oisive et te roüiller au clou.
Je te puis asseurer que sa main delicate
Filera doucement quelque drap d’escarlate,
Qui si fin et si souëf en sa laine sera,
Que pour un jour de feste un Roy le vestira.
 
Suy-moy donc, tu seras la plus que bien venue,
Quenouille, des deux bouts et greslette et menue,
Un peu grosse au milieu où la filace tient
Estreinte d’un riban qui de Montoire vient.
Aime-laine, aime-fil, aime-estain, maisonniere,
Longue, Palladienne, enflée, chansonniere,
Suy-moy, laisse Cousture, et allon à Bourgueil,
Où, Quenouille, on te doit recevoir d’un bon œil.
« Car le petit present qu’un loyal ami donne
« Passe des puissans Rois le sceptre et la couronne.
O distaff, companion and friend of Pallas,
Dear gift which I being to my dear Marie
To lessen the boredom she has of me,
Singing some song as she spins on you,
Amusedly making her wheel and big bobbin
Spin all day at her door.
 
Distaff, I take you to where I was caught:
I hope to buy back my freedom with you.
You won’t come into the hands of an idle dainty
Who does nothing but tweak her voluptuous hairdo,
And who spends all her time admitting herself, painting
Her face, with the aim that everyone should come and look at her;
Rather, into the hands of a shapely girl
Who knows what things cost, who manages, who spins
With her two sisters to beguile boredom,
In winter before the fire, in summer out of doors.
 
Also, I don’t want you, distaff made
In our Vendôme, where the people regret
Any day spent pointlessly, to go to Anjou
And remain idle and whirl round on a nail.
I can assure you that her delicate hand
Will gently spin a scarlet cloth
Which will be so fine and so soft in its threads
That a king would wear it on a feast-day.
 
So follow me, you will be more than welcome,
Distaff, with your two ends thin and slender,
A little fatter in the middle where it holds the tow
Gripped by a ribbon which comes from Montoire.
Wool-lover, thread-lover, yarn-lover, home-keeper,
Tall, Palladian, proud, song-maker,
Follow me, leave Cousture, let’s go to Bourgueil
Where, distaff, they should welcome you gladly,
“For the little gift which a loyal friend gives
Surpasses the sceptre and crown of powerful kings.”
 
 
Belleau offers us a profusion of footnotes, mostly on the 4th stanza:
 – Montoire, he tells us, is a town a short three leagues away, near the author’s place of birth;
 – in the following line, he tells us the three “aime-” compounds are “three words invented by the author. Estain is a kind of carded wool ready for spinning. Maisonniere, because the distaff does not leave its home;
 – then, in the next line, it is Palladian not for Palladio (the architectural reference comes later) but because “Pallas [Athene] invented the distaff” (see also line 1). (Note that, in the same line, “enflée” can mean both ‘proud’ and  ‘swollen’ or ‘fat’, as the distaff becomes when wool is wound onto it.)
 – Coustures is “a village in the Varemme at the bottom of Vendome, where the poet was born, at the foot of a south-facing crag in a place which is currently called La Poissoniere, the chateau belonging to the eldest of the house of Ronsard.” In his “Ronsard & the Pléiade” (1906), George Wyndham describes how he “visited his father’s castle, De la Poissonière, as a reverent pilgrim, some years ago. It stands beneath a low cliff of white rock overgrown with ivy, in the gentle scenery, elegiac rather than romantic, to which Ronsard’s verse ever returns. Above the low cliff are remnants of the Forêt de Gastine …”
 
There are, naturally, a few changes in the text as well: note how one of the changes Ronsard made was eliminating the imaginary infinitive “suivir” (not “suivre”) – a poetic licence he allowed himself in his early years but grew unhappy with in later life.

 

Quenoille, de Pallas la compagne et l’amie,
Cher present que je porte à ma chere ennemie,
Afin de soulager l’ennuy qu’elle a de moy,
Disant quelque chanson en filant dessur toy,
Faisant piroüeter à son huis amusée
Tout le jour son roüet et sa grosse fusée.
 
Sus ! quenouille, suis moy, je te meine servir
Celle que je ne puis m’engarder de suivir.
Tu ne viendras és mains d’une pucelle oisive,
Qui ne fait qu’attifer sa perruque lascive,
Et qui perd tout le jour à mirer et farder
Sa face, à celle fin qu’on l’aille regarder :
Mais bien entre les mains d’une disposte fille
Qui devide qui coust, qui mesnage et qui file
Avecques ses deux sœurs pour tromper ses ennuis,
L’hyver devant le feu, l’esté devant son huis,
 
Aussi je ne voudrois que toy, quenouille gente,
Qui es de Vendomois (où le peuple se vante
D’estre bon ménager), allasses en Anjou
Pour demeurer oisive et te roüiller au clou.
Je te puis asseurer que sa main delicate
Filera dougément quelque drap d’escarlate,
Qui si fin et si souëf en sa laine sera,
Que pour un jour de feste un Roy le vestira.
 
Suy-moy donc, tu seras la plus que bien venue,
Quenouille, des deux bouts et greslette et menue,
Un peu grosse au milieu où la filace tient
Estreinte d’un riban qui de Montoire vient.
Aime-laine, aime-fil, aime-estain, maisonniere,
Longue, Palladienne, enflée, chansonniere,
Suy-moy, laisse Cousture, et va droit à Bourgueil,
Où, Quenouille, on te doit recevoir d’un bon œil.
« Car le petit present qu’un loyal ami donne
« Passe des puissans Rois le sceptre et la couronne.
O distaff, companion and friend of Pallas,
Dear gift which I being to my dear enemy
To lessen the boredom she has of me,
Singing some song as she spins on you,
Amusedly making her wheel and big bobbin
Spin all day at her door.
 
Up, distaff, and follow me, I lead you to serve
Her whom I cannot keep myself from pursuing.
You won’t come into the hands of an idle lass
Who does nothing but tweak her voluptuous hairdo,
And who spends all day admitting herself, painting
Her face, with the aim that everyone should come and look at her;
Rather, into the hands of a shapely girl
Who knows what things cost, who manages, who spins
With her two sisters to beguile boredom,
In winter before the fire, in summer out of doors.
 
Also, I don’t want you, gentle distaff
Who are from Vendôme, where the people boast
Of being good housekeepers, to go to Anjou
And remain idle and whirl round on a nail.
I can assure you that her delicate hand
Will finely spin a scarlet cloth
Which will be so fine and so soft in its threads
That a king would wear it on a feast-day.
 
So follow me, you will be more than welcome,
Distaff, with your two ends thin and slender,
A little fatter in the middle where it holds the tow
Gripped by a ribbon which comes from Montoire.
Wool-lover, thread-lover, yarn-lover, home-keeper,
Tall, Palladian, proud, song-maker,
Follow me, leave Cousture, and go straight to Bourgueil
Where, distaff, they should welcome you gladly,
“For the little gift which a loyal friend gives
Surpasses the sceptre and crown of powerful kings.”
 
Note in the 3rd stanza the word “dougément”: Belleau explains that this means “subtly, with thin fine threads. Dougé is a word from Anjou and the Vendome, used by spinners who spin the thread thin and slender with their spindles. It appears from this that Marie was not from a grand or rich family – as we’ve said, for she was a hostelry-girl.”
 
 
 
 
 
 

Amours 2:45 (madrigal)

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Comme d’un ennemy je veux en toute place
M’eslongner de vos yeux, qui m’ont le cœur deceu,
Petits yeux de Venus, par lesquels j’ay receu
Le coup mortel au sang qui d’outre en outre passe.
 
Je voy, les regardant, Amour qui me menasse,
Aumoins voyant son arc je l’ay bien apperceu :
Mais remparer mon cœur contre luy je n’ay sceu,
Dont le trait fausseroit une forte cuirasse.
 
Or pour ne les voir plus, je veux aller bien loing
Vivre desur le bord d’une mer solitaire :
Encore j’ay grand’peur de ne perdre le soing,
Qui m’est par habitude un mal hereditaire,
 
Tant il a pris en moy de force et de sejour.
« On peut outre la mer un long voyage faire,
« Mais on ne peut changer ny de cœur ny d’amour.
 
 
                                                                            Like an enemy I want at every point
                                                                            To distance myself from your eyes, which have deceived my heart,
                                                                            Those little Venus-eyes through which I received
                                                                            The mortal wound in my blood which runs me through and through.
 
                                                                            I see as I look at them Love menacing me,
                                                                            And I well know his bow having seen it ;
                                                                            But how to fortify my heart against him I have never known,
                                                                            Whose blow can defeat a strong breastplate.
 
                                                                            So, too see them no more, I shall go far off
                                                                            To live on the edge of some lonely sea;
                                                                            Yet still I’m afraid it will be wasted effort,
                                                                            A thing which is for me a common, inherited flaw,
 
                                                                            So strong his hold and for so long over me.
                                                                            “You can make a long voyage beyond the sea
                                                                            But you can’t change your heart or your love.”
 
 
For Marty-Laveaux, this is a madrigal; for Blanchemain, whose version has not yet been amplified with line 12 above, it is a sonnet. I find myself unable to see why Ronsard added that line: it doesn’t seem to be there to add to or amplify the sense of the piece. Even though the change links to further modifications of  the tercet at the end, it is – even in that context – just an extra line, an extra thought. (And, in my view, the more complex thought of the later evrsion isn’t even an improvement.)
 

Well, so much for literary criticism:  here’s Blanchemain’s earlier version complete, despite the small number of differences, to encourage you to read it complete and see what you think about the ‘missing’ line …

 
 
Comme d’un ennemy je veux en toute place
M’eslongner de vos yeux, qui m’ont le cœur deceu,
Petits yeux de Venus, par lesquels j’ay receu
Le coup mortel au sang qui d’outre en outre passe.
 
Je voy toujours dans eux Amour qui me menasse,
Aumoins voyant son arc je l’ay bien apperceu :
Mais remparer mon cœur contre luy je n’ay sceu,
Dont le trait fausseroit une forte cuirasse.
 
Or pour ne les voir plus, je veux aller bien loing
Vivre desur le bord d’une mer solitaire :
Encore j’ay grand’peur de ne perdre le soing,
 
Qui, hoste de mon cœur, y loge nuict et jour.
On peut bien sur la mer un long voyage faire,
Mais on ne peut changer ny de cœur ny d’amour.
 
 
 
                                                                            Like an enemy I want at every point
                                                                            To distance myself from your eyes, which have deceived my heart,
                                                                            Those little Venus-eyes through which I received
                                                                            The mortal wound in my blood which runs me through and through.
 
                                                                            I see always in them Love menacing me,
                                                                            And I well know his bow having seen it ;
                                                                            But how to fortify my heart against him I have never known,
                                                                            Whose blow can defeat a strong breastplate.
 
                                                                            So, too see them no more, I shall go far off
                                                                            To live on the edge of some lonely sea;
                                                                            Yet still I’m afraid it will be wasted effort,
 
                                                                           That guest in my heart stays there night and day;
                                                                            You might well make a long voyage on the sea
                                                                            But you can’t change your heart or your love.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Élégie à Muret (Amours 1:227c)

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Non Muret, non ce n’est pas du jourd’huy,
Que l’Archerot qui cause nostre ennuy,
Cause l’erreur qui retrompe les hommes :
Non Muret, non, les premiers nous ne sommes,
A qui son arc d’un petit trait veinqueur,
Si grande playe a caché sous le cœur :
Tous animaux, ou soient ceux des campagnes,
Soient ceux des bois, ou soient ceux des montagnes
Sentent sa force, et son feu doux-amer
Brusle sous l’eau les Monstres de la mer.
 
Hé ! qu’est-il rien que ce garçon ne brûle ?
Ce porte-ciel, ce tu’-geant Hercule
Le sentit bien : je dy ce fort Thebain
Qui le sangler estrangla de sa main,
Qui tua Nesse, et qui de sa massue
Morts abbatit les enfans de la Nue :
Qui de son arc toute Lerne estonna,
Qui des enfers le chien emprisonna,
Qui sur le bord de l’eau Thermodontee
Prit le baudrier de la vierge dontee :
Qui tua l’Ourque, et qui par plusieurs fois
Se remocqua des feintes d’Achelois :
Qui fit mourir la pucelle de Phorce,
Qui le Lion desmachoira par force,
Qui dans ses bras Anthee acravanta,
Qui deux piliers pour ses marques planta.
 
Bref, cest Herôs correcteur de la terre,
Ce cœur sans peur, ce foudre de la guerre,
Sentit ce Dieu, et l’amoureuse ardeur
Le matta plus que son Roy commandeur.
Non pas espris comme on nous voit esprendre,
Toy de ta Janne ou moy de ma Cassandre :
Mais de tel Tan amour l’aiguillonnoit,
Que tout son cœur sans raison bouiilonnoit
Au souffre ardent qui luy cuisoit les veines :
Du feu d’amour elles fumoient si pleines,
Si pleins ses os, ses muscles et ses ners,
Que dans Hercul’ qui purgea l’univers,
Ne resta rien sinon une amour fole,
Que Iuy versoient les deux beaux yeux d’Iole.
 
Tousjours d’Iole il aimoit les beaux yeux,
Fust que le char qui donne jour aux cieux
Sortist de l’eau, ou fust que devalee
Tournast sa rouë en la plaine salee,
De tous humains accoisant les travaux,
Mais non d’Hercul’ les miserables maux.
 
Tant seulement il n’avoit de sa dame
Les yeux fichez au plus profond de l’ame :
Mais son parler, sa grace, et sa douceur
Tousjours colez s’attachoient à son cœur.
 
D’autre que d’elle en son ame ne pense :
Tousjours absente il la voit en presence.
Et de fortune, Alcid’, si tu la vois,
Dans ton gosier begue reste ta voix,
Glacé de peur voyant la face aimee :
Ore une fiévre amoureuse allumee
Ronge ton ame, et ores un glaçon
Te fait trembler d’amoureuse frisson.
 
Bas à tes pieds ta meurdriere massue
Gist sans honneur, et bas la peau velue,
Qui sur ton doz roide se herissoit,
Quand ta grand’main les Monstres punissoit.
 
Plus ton sourcil contre eux ne se renfrongne :
O vertu vaine, ô bastarde vergongne,
O vilain blasme, Hercule estant donté
(Apres avoir le monde surmonté)
Non d’Eurysthée, ou de Junon cruelle,
Mais de la main d’une simple pucelle.
 
Voyez pour Dieu, quelle force a l’Amour,
Quand une fois elle a gaigné la tour
De la raison, ne nous laissant partie
Qui ne soit toute en fureur convertie.
 
Ce n’est pas tout : seulement pour aimer,
Il n’oublia la façon de s’armer,
Ou d’empoigner sa masse hazardeuse,
Ou d’achever quelque emprinse douteuse :
Mais lent et vain anonchalant son cœur,
Qui des Tyrans l’avoit rendu veinqueur,
Terreur du monde (ô plus lasche diffame)
Il s’habilla des habits d’une femme,
Et d’un Heros devenu damoiseau,
Guidoit l’esguille, et tournoit le fuseau,
Et vers le soir, comme une chambriere,
Rendoit sa tasche à sa douce joliere,
Qui le tenoit en ses fers plus serré
Qu’un prisonnier dans les ceps enferré.
 
Grande Junon, tu es assez vengee
De voir sa vie en paresse changee,
De voir ainsi devenu filandier
Ce grand Alcid’ des Monstres le meurdrier,
Sans adjouster à ton ire indomtee
Les mandemens de son frere Eurysthee.
 
Que veux-tu plus ? Iôle le contraint
D’estre une femme : il la doute, il la craint.
Il craint ses mains plus qu’un valet esclave
Ne craint les coups de quelque maistre brave.
 
Et ce-pendant qu’il ne fait que penser
A s’atiffer, à s’oindre, à s’agencer,
A dorloter sa barbe bien rongnee,
A mignoter sa teste bien pignée,
Impuniment les Monstres ont loisir
D’assujettir la terre à leur plaisir,
Sans plus cuider qu’Hercule soit au monde :
Aussi n’est-il : car la poison profonde,
Qui dans son cœur s’alloit trop derivant,
L’avoit tué dedans un corps vivant.
 
Nous doncq, Muret, à qui la mesme rage
Peu cautement affole le courage,
S’il est possible, evitons le lien
Que nous ourdist l’enfant Cytherien :
Et rabaisson la chair qui nous domine,
Dessous le joug de la raison divine,
Raison qui deust au vray bien nous guider,
Et de nos sens maistresse presider.
 
Mais si l’amour de son traict indomtable
A desja fait nostre playe incurable,
Tant que le mal peu subject au conseil
De la raison desdaigne l’appareil,
Vaincuz par luy, faisons place à l’envie,
Et sur Alcid’ desguisons nostre vie :
En ce-pendant que les rides ne font
Cresper encor l’aire de nostre front,
Et que la neige en vieillesse venue
Encor ne fait nostre teste chenue,
Qu’un jour ne coule entre nous pour neant
Sans suivre Amour : il n’est pas mal-seant,
Mais grand honneur au simple populaire,
Des grands seigneurs imiter l’exemplaire.
No Muret, no : it is not in our days
That the little Archer who causes our pain
Has created the delusion which still fools men ;
No Muret, no : we are not the first
In whom his bow with its little conquering dart
Has concealed so great a wound beneath the heart :
All creatures, whether those of the fields
Or of the woods, or of the mountains
Feel his power, and his bitter-sweet fire
Burns the monsters of the sea below the waters.
 
Ah, is there none this child does not burn ?
Hercules, sky-bearer and giant-slayer,
Felt him strongly ; I tell you, that strong Theban
Who strangled the boar with his hands,
Who killed Nessus, and with his club
Struck dead the children of the Cloud;
Who with his bow amazed all of Lerna,
Who imprisoned the dog from Hell,
Who on the banks of the Thermodontian waters
Seized the belt of the defeated maiden ;
Who killed the sea-monster, and time and again
Mockingly overcame the tricks of Achelous;
Who put to death the maid of Phorcis,
Who ripped the jaws off the Lion with his strength,
Who crushed in his arms Antaeus,
Who planted two pillars as his mark.
 
In short, this hero, amender of the world,
This heart without fear, this thunderclap of war,
Felt that God, and love’s passion
Flattened him more than his King and commander.
Not in love as people see we are,
You with your Janne and me with my Cassandre,
Rather Love pricked him with such a blow
That his whole heart boiled, his reason failed,
At the ardent suffering which burned his veins ;
They steamed, so full of the fire of love,
His bones, muscles and nerves so full too
That in Hercules, who had cleaned up the world,
Remained nothing but the crazed love
Which the two fair eyes of Iole had poured into him.
 
Still he loved the fair eyes of Iole
Whether the chariot which gives day to the heavens
Left the seas, or whether rushing down
It turned its wheels back to the salty plain
Giving rest to the labours of all men
But not to the wretched troubles of Hercules.
 
He did not have only his lady’s
Gaze fixed in the deeps of his soul;
But her speech, her grace, her sweetness
Were always attached, stuck to his heart.
 
He thought of no other than her in his soul;
Always when she was away he saw her present.
And if you saw her by chance, Alcides,
Your voice remained dumb in your throat
Frozen with fear at seeing the beloved face;
Now love’s fever, aflame,
Clawed your soul; and now an icicle
Made you tremble with a shiver of love.
 
Down at your feet your murderous club
Stands without honour, and the shaggy skin
Which bristled stiffly on your back
When your mighty hand punished monsters.
 
Your brow no longer frowns upon them:
O empty virtue, o impure shame,
O sordid blame, Hercules being overcome
(After overcoming the world)
Not by Eurystheus or cruel Juno,
But by the hand of just a maiden.
 
See, by heaven, what power Love has
When she has once won the tower
Of reason, not leaving us any part
Which cannot be changed entirely into madness.
 
That’s not all: simply from love
He did not forget how to arm himself
Or to grip his dangerous club in his fist
Or to achieve some uncertain task;
But slowly and vainly making listless his heart
Which had made him conqueror of tyrants,
The terror of the world – so unmanly a tale –
Dressed himself in the garments of a woman
And, from hero become a maid,
Plied his needle and twisted the spindle
And towards evening, like a chambermaid,
Handed his work to his pretty jailer
Who held him tighter in her chains
Than a prisoner chained in the stocks.
 
Great Juno, you have taken revenge enough
In seeing his life changed to laziness,
In seeing thus the great Alcides
Become weaver, after being murderer of monsters,
Without adding on to your unconquered anger
The commands of his brother Eurystheus.
 
What more do you want? Iole forced him
To be a woman; he doubted her, he feared her,
He feared her hands more than a slave-servant
Fears the blows of his good master.
 
And while he thought of nothing but
Dressing up, anointing and arranging himself,
Of pampering his nicely-trimmed beard,
Of cosseting his well-oiled hair,
Those monsters had leisure with immunity
To subject the earth at their pleasure,
No longer believing that Hercules was alive;
Nor was he, for the deep poison
Which coursed in his heart, overflowing,
Had killed him though his body still lived.
 
So we, Muret, in whom the same madness
So casually makes courage foolish,
If possible let us avoid the bonds
Which the child of Cythera prepares for us:
And let’s put the flesh which masters us
Beneath the yoke of divine reason,
Reason which ought indeed to guide us
And rule as mistress of our senses.
 
But love with his unbeatable wound
Has already made our wound incurable,
Since the illness, hardly subject to Reason’s
Counsel, scorns the medicine:
So, conquered by him, let’s make room for desire
And on Alcides’ example model our lives:
As long as wrinkles no longer make
Our brows look furrowed,
And the snow which comes with age
Has not yet made hoary our hair,
Let’s aim that no day should pass for nothing
Without following love: it is not improper
But a great honour for us simple folk
To copy the example of great lords.
 
Ronsard rounds off his first book with poems to several friends; the last of them I’ve got to, but not the last int he book, is this one to Marc-Antoine Muret. It is of course Muret who provided the first commentary on book 1 – he is quite restrained in his comments about this poem’s dedication! Despite its learned references (below), this is a true ode to love in keeping with the book it rounds off. And as usual Ronsard is careful to be consistent : here it is Cupid, the ‘child of the Cytherian’ Venus, who is the villain both at the beginning and at the end of the poem.
 
Ronsard appeals to classical exempla, as so often: in this case, he focuses on Hercules, the hero whose great deeds are complemented, if not overshadowed, by the furious moments of madness associated with his various loves. First come the heroic deeds:
 – Hercules is introduced as “sky-bearer and giant-slayer” (both references return later): among his 12 Labours, he had to retrieve the Golden aApples of the Hesperides, which he did by holding up the sky while Atlas fetched the apples (see also the ‘variant’ Blanchemain prints further down the poem in the earlier version below); he also killed the three-headed Geryon in order to bring back his cattle, but I think ‘giant-slayer’ refers instead to his defeat of Antaeus, who was undefeatable so long as he was in contact with the earth and whom Hercules therefore had to lift off the ground to beat;
 – then we have a number of the other Labours:  the Erymanthean boar, the ‘children of the cloud’ which I assume to mean the Stymphalian birds, the Lernaean Hydra, the three-headed hell-dog Cerberus, the magical belt of Hippolyta (queen of the Amazons, who were supposed to live by the river Terme – the ‘Thermodontian waters’), the ‘maid of Phorcis’ (apparently a reference to the dragon guarding the golden apples of the Hesperides, Ladon, which was Phorcys’s child but which is usually male), and the Nemean lion;
 – intermixed with this list are Nessus the centaur, killed by Hercules after he stole away Deianeira, Hercules’ wife; the sea-monster which was threatening Hesione, the daughter of Laomedon of Troy (Laomedon had persuaded Apollo and Poseidon to build Troy’s walls, but then refused their reward; Poseidon sent the sea-monster to take revenge; Hercules later abducted Hesione when Laomedon also refused him his promised reward!); Achelous, whom Hercules defeated to claim Deianeira as his wife; and last Antaeus again, and the Pillars of Hercules.

 

Then we move on to the lover’s madness: Ronsard focuses on his love for Iole (though, as we have seen, he had other wives too!), which was more powerful than the commands of King Eurystheus (the ‘king and commander’ for whom Hercules undertook the Labours, and also his cousin – not ‘brother’ as Ronsard terms him). Juno appears, because in her jealousy she had driven Hercules (or ‘Alcides’) mad so that he killed his earlier wife Megara: it was to atone for this that he was tasked with the Twelve Labours. Ronsard however melds the story of Iole with that of Omphale, for it was her he served (as yet another penance) dressed as woman, while she wore his lion-skin.
 
 
========
 
As usual the earlier version, printed by Blanchemain, has plenty of minor variants; but there’s nothing substantial. So, as usual, the best way to show them is to re-print the full text, rather than scatter dozens of line references here. They are mostly ‘corrections’ for euphony – e.g. in the 3rd stanza where “ce heros” is replaced by “cest heros” (which runs on more easily) – though “Sentit ce dieu” (in place of “Sentit Amour” – removing the ‘t’ sound) raplces it with a rather insistent ‘s’ repetition instead.

 

Non Muret, non ce n’est pas du jourd’huy,
Que l’Archerot qui cause nostre ennuy,
Cause l’erreur qui retrompe les hommes :
Non Muret, non, les premiers nous ne sommes,
A qui son arc d’un petit trait veinqueur,
Si grande playe a caché sous le cœur :
Tous animaux, ou soient ceux des campagnes,
Soient ceux des bois, ou soient ceux des montagnes
Sentent sa force, et son feu doux-amer
Brusle sous l’eau les Monstres de la mer.
 
Hé ! qu’est-il rien que ce garçon ne brûle ?
Ce porte-ciel, ce tu’-geant Hercule
Le sentit bien : je dy ce fort Thebain
Qui le sanglier estrangla de sa main,
Qui tua Nesse, et qui de sa massue
Morts abbatit les enfans de la Nue :
Qui de son arc toute Lerne estonna,
Qui des enfers le chien emprisonna,
Qui sur le bord de l’eau Thermodontee
Print le baudrier de la vierge dontee :
Qui tua l’Ourque, et qui par plusieurs fois
Se remocqua des feintes d’Achelois :
Qui fit mourir la pucelle de Phorce,
Qui le Lion desmachoira par force,
Qui dans ses bras Anthee acravanta,
Et qui deux mons pour ses marques planta.
 
Bref, ce héros correcteur de la terre,
Ce cœur sans peur, ce foudre de la guerre,
Sentit Amour, et l’amoureuse ardeur
Le matta plus que son Roy commandeur.
Non pas espris comme on nous voit esprendre,
Toy de ta Janne ou moy de ma Cassandre :
Mais de tel Tan amour l’aiguillonnoit,
Que tout son cœur sans raison bouiilonnoit
Au souffre ardent qui luy cuisoit les veines :
Du feu d’amour elles fumoient si pleines,
Si pleins ses os, ses muscles et ses ners,
Que dans Hercul’ qui dompta l’univers,
Ne resta rien sinon une amour fole,
Que Iuy versoient les deux beaux yeux d’Iole.
 
Tousjours d’Iole il aimoit les beaux yeux,
Fust que le char qui donne jour aux cieux
Sortist de l’eau, ou fust que devalee
Tournast sa rouë en la plaine salee,
De tous humains accoisant les travaux,
Mais non d’Hercul’ les miserables maux.
 
Tant seulement il n’avoit de sa dame
Les yeux fichez au plus profond de l’ame :
Mais son parler, sa grace, et sa douceur
Tousjours colez s’attachoient à son cœur.
 
D’autre que d’elle en son cœur il ne pense :
Tousjours absente il la voit en presence.
Et de fortune, Alcid’, si tu la vois,
Dans ton gosier begue reste ta voix,
Glacé de peur voyant la face aimee :
Ore une fiévre ardamment allumee
Ronge ton ame, et ores un glaçon
Te fait trembler d’amoureuse frisson.
 
Bas à tes pieds ta meurdriere massue
Gist sans honneur, et bas la peau velue,
Qui sur ton doz roide se herissoit,
Quand ta grand’main les Monstres punissoit.
 
Plus ton sourcil contre eux ne se renfrongne :
O vertu vaine, ô honteuse vergongne,
O deshonneur, Hercule estant donté
(Apres avoir le monde surmonté)
    [var :
     Après avoir le ciel courbe porté.]
Non d’Eurysthée, ou de Junon cruelle,
Mais de la main d’une simple pucelle.
 
Voyez pour Dieu, quelle force a l’Amour,
Quand une fois elle a gaigné la tour
De la raison, ne nous laissant partie
Qui ne soit toute en fureur convertie.
 
Ce n’est pas tout : seulement pour aimer,
Il n’oublia la façon de s’armer,
Ou d’empoigner sa masse hazardeuse,
Ou d’achever quelque emprise douteuse :
Mais lent et vain abatardant son cœur,
Et son esprit, qui l’avoit fait vainqueur
De tout le monde (ô plus lasche diffame)
Il s’habilla des habits d’une femme,
Et d’un Heros devenu damoiseau,
Guidoit l’aiguille ou tournoit le fuseau,
Et vers le soir, comme une chambriere,
Rendoit sa tasche à sa douce geolière,
Qui le tenoit en ses lacs plus serré
Qu’un prisonnier dans les ceps enferré.
 
Vraiment, Junon, tu es assez vengee
De voir ainsi sa vie estre changée,
De voir ainsi devenu filandier
Ce grand Alcid’ des Monstres le meurdrier,
Sans adjouster à ton ire indomtee
Les mandemens de son frere Eurysthee.
 
Que veux-tu plus ? Iôle le contraint
D’estre une femme : il la doute, il la craint.
Il craint ses mains plus qu’un valet esclave
Ne craint les coups de quelque maistre brave.
 
Et ce-pendant qu’il ne fait que penser
A s’atiffer, à s’oindre, à s’agencer,
A dorloter sa barbe bien rongnee,
A mignoter sa teste bien pignee,
Impuniment les Monstres ont plaisir
D’assujettir la terre à leur loisir,
Sans plus cuider qu’Hercule soit au monde :
Aussi n’est-il : car la poison profonde,
Qui dans son cœur s’alloit trop derivant,
L’avoit tué dedans un corps vivant.
 
Nous doncq, Muret, à qui la mesme rage
Peu cautement affole le courage,
S’il est possible, evitons le lien
Que nous ourdist l’enfant Cytherien :
Et rabaisson la chair qui nous domine,
Dessous le joug de la raison divine,
Raison qui deust au vray bien nous guider,
Et de nos sens maistresse presider.
 
Mais si l’Amour, las ! las ! trop misérable !
A desja fait nostre playe incurable,
Tant que le mal peu subject au conseil
De la raison desdaigne l’appareil,
Vaincuz par luy, faisons place à l’envie,
Et sur Alcid’ desguisons nostre vie :
En ce-pendant que les rides ne font
Cresper encor le champ de nostre front,
Et que la neige avant l’age venue
Ne fait encor nostre teste chenue,
Qu’un jour ne coule entre nous pour neant
Sans suivre Amour : car il n’est mal-seant,
Pour quelquefois, au simple populaire,
Des grands seigneurs imiter l’exemplaire.
No Muret, no : it is not in our days
That the little Archer who causes our pain
Has created the delusion which still fools men ;
No Muret, no : we are not the first
In whom his bow with its little conquering dart
Has concealed so great a wound beneath the heart :
All creatures, whether those of the fields
Or of the woods, or of the mountains
Feel his power, and his bitter-sweet fire
Burns the monsters of the sea below the waters.
 
Ah, is there none this child does not burn ?
Hercules, sky-bearer and giant-slayer,
Felt him strongly ; I tell you, that strong Theban
Who strangled the boar with his hands,
Who killed Nessus, and with his club
Struck dead the children of the Cloud;
Who with his bow amazed all of Lerna,
Who imprisoned the dog from Hell,
Who on the banks of the Thermodontian waters
Seized the belt of the defeated maiden ;
Who killed the sea-monster, and time and again
Mockingly overcame the tricks of Achelous;
Who put to death the maid of Phorcis,
Who ripped the jaws off the Lion with his strength,
Who crushed in his arms Antaeus,
And who planted two mounds as his mark.
 
In short, this hero, amender of the world,
This heart without fear, this thunderclap of war,
Felt Love, and love’s passion
Flattened him more than his King and commander.
Not in love as people see we are,
You with your Janne and me with my Cassandre,
Rather Love pricked him with such a blow
That his whole heart boiled, his reason failed,
At the ardent suffering which burned his veins ;
They steamed, so full of the fire of love,
His bones, muscles and nerves so full too
That in Hercules, who conquered everything,
Remained nothing but the crazed love
Which the two fair eyes of Iole had poured into him.
 
Still he loved the fair eyes of Iole
Whether the chariot which gives day to the heavens
Left the seas, or whether rushing down
It turned its wheels back to the salty plain
Giving rest to the labours of all men
But not to the wretched troubles of Hercules.
 
He did not have only his lady’s
Gaze fixed in the deeps of his soul;
But her speech, her grace, her sweetness
Were always attached, stuck to his heart.
 
He thought of no other than her in his heart;
Always when she was away he saw her present.
And if you saw her by chance, Alcides,
Your voice remained dumb in your throat
Frozen with fear at seeing the beloved face;
Now a fever, fiercely flaming,
Clawed your soul; and now an icicle
Made you tremble with a shiver of love.
 
Down at your feet your murderous club
Stands without honour, and the shaggy skin
Which bristled stiffly on your back
When your mighty hand punished monsters.
 
Your brow no longer frowns upon them:
O empty virtue, o shameful immodesty,
O dishonour, Hercules being overcome
(After overcoming the world)
    [var:
      After bearing the curved skies]
Not by Eurystheus or cruel Juno,
But by the hand of just a maiden.
 
See, by heaven, what power Love has
When she has once won the tower
Of reason, not leaving us any part
Which cannot be changed entirely into madness.
 
That’s not all: simply from love
He did not forget how to arm himself
Or to grip his dangerous club in his fist
Or to achieve some uncertain task;
But slowly and vainly bastardising his heart
And spirit, which had made him a conqueror
Of all the world – so unmanly a tale –
Dressed himself in the garments of a woman
And, from hero become a maid,
Plied his needle or twisted the spindle
And towards evening, like a chambermaid,
Handed his work to his pretty jailer
Who held him tighter in her snares
Than a prisoner chained in the stocks.
 
Truly, Juno, you have taken revenge enough
In seeing his life so changed,
In seeing thus the great Alcides
Become weaver, after being murderer of monsters,
Without adding on to your unconquered anger
The commands of his brother Eurystheus.
 
What more do you want? Iole forced him
To be a woman; he doubted her, he feared her,
He feared her hands more than a slave-servant
Fears the blows of his good master.
 
And while he thought of nothing but
Dressing up, anointing and arranging himself,
Of pampering his nicely-trimmed beard,
Of cosseting his well-oiled hair,
Those monsters had pleasure with immunity
To subject the earth at their leisure,
No longer believing that Hercules was alive;
Nor was he, for the deep poison
Which coursed in his heart, overflowing,
Had killed him though his body still lived.
 
So we, Muret, in whom the same madness
So casually makes courage foolish,
If possible let us avoid the bonds
Which the child of Cythera prepares for us:
And let’s put the flesh which masters us
Beneath the yoke of divine reason,
Reason which ought indeed to guide us
And rule as mistress of our senses.
 
But love – alas, alas, how wretched! –
Has already made our wound incurable,
Since the illness, hardly subject to Reason’s
Counsel, scorns the medicine:
So, conquered by him, let’s make room for desire
And on Alcides’ example model our lives:
As long as wrinkles no longer make
The plains of our forehea furrowed,
And the snow arriving before its time
Has not yet made hoary our hair,
Let’s aim that no day should pass for nothing
Without following love: for it is not improper
For us simple folk sometimes
To copy the example of great lords.
 
 
 
 

Elégie à Janet, Peintre du Roy – Elegy, to Janet the King’s artist (Am. 1:228b)

Standard

Today, nearly 200 lines of charming verse – twice!

Pein-moy, Janet, pein-moy je te supplie
Sur ce tableau les beautez de m’amie
De la façon que je te les diray.
Comme importun je ne te suppliray
D’un art menteur quelque faveur luy faire.
Il suffit bien si tu la sçais portraire
Telle qu’elle est, sans vouloir desguiser
Son naturel pour la favoriser :
Car la faveur n’est bonne que pour celles
Qui se font peindre, et qui ne sont pas belles.
 
Fay-luy premier les cheveux ondelez,
Serrez, retors, recrespez, annelez,
Qui de couleur le cedre representent :
Ou les allonge, et que libres ils sentent
Dans le tableau, si par art tu le peux,
La mesme odeur de ses propres cheveux :
Car ses cheveux comme fleurettes sentent,
Quand les Zephyrs au printemps les éventent.
 
Que son beau front ne soit entre-fendu
De nul sillon en profond estendu,
Mais qu’il soit tel qu’est l’eau de la marine,
Quand tant soit peu le vent ne la mutine,
Et que gisante en son lict elle dort,
Calmant ses flots sillez d’un somne mort.
 
Tout au milieu par la gréve descende
Un beau ruby, de qui l’esclat s’espande
Par le tableau, ainsi qu’on voit de nuit
Briller les raiz de la Lune, qui luit
Dessus la neige au fond d’un val coulée,
De trace d’homme encore non foulée.
 
Apres fay luy son beau sourcy voutis
D’Ebene noir, et que son ply tortis
Semble un Croissant, qui monstre par la nuë
Au premier mois sa vouture cornuë :
Ou si jamais tu as veu l’arc d’Amour,
Pren le portrait dessus le demy-tour
De sa courbure à demy-cercle close :
Car l’arc d’Amour et luy n’est qu’une chose.
 
Mais las! Janet, helas je ne sçay pas
Par quel moyen, ny comment tu peindras
(Voire eusses-tu l’artifice d’Apelle)
De ses beaux yeux la grace naturelle,
Qui font vergongne aux estoilles des Cieux.
Que l’un soit doux, l’autre soit furieux,
Que l’un de Mars, l’autre de Venus tienne :
Que du benin toute esperance vienne,
Et du cruel vienne tout desespoir :
L’un soit piteux et larmoyant à voir,
Comme celuy d’Ariadne laissée
Aux bords de Die, alors que l’insensee
Pres de la mer, de pleurs se consommoit,
Et son Thesée en vain elle nommoit :
L’autre soit gay, comme il est bien croyable
Que l’eut jadis Penelope louable
Quand elle vit son mary retourné,
Ayant vingt ans loing d’elle sejourné.
 
Apres fay luy sa rondelette oreille
Petite, unie, entre blanche et vermeille,
Qui sous le voile apparoisse à l’egal
Que fait un lis enclos dans un crystal,
Ou tout ainsi qu’apparoist une rose
Tout fraischement dedans un verre enclose.
 
Mais pour neant tu aurois fait si beau
Tout l’ornement de ton riche tableau,
Si tu n’avois de la lineature
De son beau nez bien portrait la peinture.
Pein-le moy donc ny court, ny aquilin,
Poli, traitis, où l’envieux malin
Quand il voudroit n’y sçauroit que reprendre,
Tant proprement tu le feras descendre
Parmi la face, ainsi comme descend
Dans une plaine un petit mont qui pend.
 
Apres au vif pein moy sa belle joüe
Pareille au teint de la rose qui noüe
Dessus du laict, ou au teint blanchissant
Du lis qui baise un œillet rougissant.
 
Dans le milieu portrais une fossette,
Fossette, non, mais d’Amour la cachette,
D’où ce garçon de sa petite main
Lasche cent traits et jamais un en vain,
Que par les yeux droit au cœur il ne touche.
 
Helas ! Janet, pour bien peindre sa bouche,
A peine Homere en ses vers te diroit
Quel vermillon egaler la pourroit :
Car pour la peindre ainsi qu’elle merite,
Peindre il faudroit celle d’une Charite.
Pein-la moy doncq, qu’elle semble parler,
Ores sou-rire, ores embasmer l’air
De ne sçay quelle ambrosienne haleine :
Mais par sur tout fay qu’elle semble pleine
De la douceur de persuasion.
Tout à l’entour attache un milion
De ris, d’attraits, de jeux, de courtoisies,
Et que deux rangs de perlettes choisies
D’un ordre egal en la place des dents
Bien poliment soyent arrangez dedans.
 
Pein tout autour une lévre bessonne,
Qui d’elle-mesme en s’elevant semonne
D’estre baisée, ayant le teint pareil
Ou de la rose, ou du coural vermeil :
Elle flambante au Printemps sur l’espine,
Luy rougissant au fond de la marine.
 
Pein son menton au milieu fosselu,
Et que le bout en rondeur pommelu
Soit tout ainsi que lon voit apparoistre
Le bout d’un coin qui ja commence à croistre.
 
Plus blanc que laict caillé dessus le jonc
Pein luy le col, mais pein-le un petit long,
Gresle et charnu, et sa gorge doüillette
Comme le col soit un petit longuette.
 
Apres fay luy par un juste compas,
Et de Junon les coudes et les bras,
Et les beaux doigts de Minerve, et encore
La main egale à celle de l’Aurore.
 
Je ne sçay plus, mon Janet, où j’en suis :
Je suis confus et muet : je ne puis
Comme j’ay fait, te declarer le reste
De ses beautez qui ne m’est manifeste :
Las ! car jamais tant de faveurs je n’u,
Que d’avoir veu ses beaux tetins à nu.
Mais si lon peut juger par conjecture,
Persuadé de raisons je m’asseure
Que la beauté qui ne s’apparoit, doit
Estre semblable à celle que lon voit.
Donque pein-la, et qu’elle me soit faite
Parfaite autant comme l’autre est parfaite.
 
Ainsi qu’en bosse esleve moy son sein
Net, blanc, poli, large, entre-ouvert et plein,
Dedans lequel mille rameuses veines
De rouge sang tressaillent toutes pleines.
 
Puis, quand au vif tu auras descouvers
Dessous la peau les muscles et les ners,
Enfle au dessus deux pommes nouvelettes,
Comme l’on void deux pommes verdelettes
D’un orenger, qui encores du tout
Ne font qu’à l’heure à se rougir au bout.
 
Tout au plus haut des espaules marbrines,
Pein le sejour des Charites divines,
Et que l’Amour sans cesse voletant
Tousjours les couve et les aille esventant,
Pensant voler avec le Jeu son frere
De branche en branche és vergers de Cythere.
 
Un peu plus bas en miroir arrondi,
Tout potelé, grasselet, rebondi,
Comme celuy de Venus, pein son ventre :
Pein son nombril ainsi qu’un petit centre,
Le fond duquel paroisse plus vermeil
Qu’un bel œillet favoris du Soleil.
 
Qu’atten’s-tu plus ? portray moy l’autre chose
Qui est si belle, et que dire je n’ose,
Et dont l’espoir impatient me poind :
Mais je te pry, ne me l’ombrage point,
Si ce n’estoit d’un voile fait de soye
Clair et subtil, à fin qu’on l’entre-voye.
 
Ses cuisses soyent comme faites au Tour
A pleine chair, rondes tout à l’entour,
Ainsi qu’un Terme arrondi d’artifice
Qui soustient ferme un royal edifice.
 
Comme deux monts enleve ses genous,
Douillets, charnus, ronds, delicats et mous,
Dessous lesquels fay luy la gréve pleine,
Telle que l’ont les vierges de Lacene,
Quand pres d’Eurote en s’accrochant des bras
Luttent ensemble et se jettent à bas :
Ou bien chassant à meutes decouplees
Quelque vieil cerf és forests Amyclees.
 
Puis pour la fin portray-luy de Thetis
Les pieds estroits, et les talons petis.
 
Ha, je la voy ! elle est presque portraite :
Encore un trait, encore un, elle est faite.
Leve tes mains, hà mon Dieu, je la voy !
Bien peu s’en faut qu’elle ne parle à moy.
Paint me, Janet, paint me I pray
In this picture the beauties of my beloved
In the manner I’ll tell you them.
I shall not ask as a beggar
That you do her any favours with lying art.
It will be enough if you can portray her
Just as she is, without trying to disguise
Her natural looks to favour her :
For favour is no good but for those
Who have themselves painted but are not fair.
 
First, make her hair in waves,
Tied up, swept back, curled in ringlets,
Which have the colour of cedar ;
Or make it long and free, scented
In the picture, if you can do it with art,
With the same scent her own hair has ;
For her hair smells like flowers
When the spring Zephyrs fan them.
 
Make sure her fair brow is not lined
By any furrow long-extended,
But that it looks like the waters of the sea
When the wind does not disturb them in the slightest,
And when it sleeps, lying on its bed,
Calming its waves sunk in deepest sleep.
 
Down the middle of this strand make descend
A fair ruby, whose brightness should spread
Throughout the picture, as at night you see
Shining the rays of the moon, spreading light
Over the snow in the deeps of a sunken valley
Still untrodden by the foot of man.
 
Then make her fair arched eyebrow
Of black ebony, so that its curve
Resembles a crescent moon, showing through cloud
Its horned arc at the beginning of the month ;
Or, if you have ever seen Love’s bow,
Use its image above, the half-turn
Of its curve makig a half-circle ;
For Love’s bow and herself are but one thing.
 
But ah, Janet, ah ! I do not know
In what way or how you will paint
(Even if you had the skill of Apelles)
The natural grace of her lovely eyes
Which make the stars of Heaven ashamed.
Make one sweet, the other furious,
One having something of Mars, the other of Venus :
That from the kind one, every hope should come,
And from the cruel one, every despair ;
Let one be pitiful to see, in tears,
Like that of Ariadne abandoned
On the shores of Dia, while maddened
She was consumed in tears beside the sea
And called on her Theseus in vain ;
Let the other be happy, as we can believe
The praiseworthy Penelope was formerly
When she saw her husband returned
After staying for twenty years far from her.
 
Next, make her rounded ear,
Small, elegant, between white and pink,
Which should appear beneath its veil exactly
As a lily does, enclosed in crystal,
Or just a a rose would appear,
Completely fresh, enclosed in a vase.
 
But you would have painted so well
Every ornament of your rich picture, for nothing
If you had not well-depicted the line
Of her fair nose.
Paint me it, then, not short nor aquiline,
Elegant and well-made, so the wicked or envious
Even if he wanted could not reprove,
So exactly you’ll have made it descend
In the midst of her face, just as descends
Over a plain a little raised mound.
 
Then as in life paint me her fair cheek,
Equal to the tint of a rose which swims
Upon milk, or to the white tint
Of the lily kissing a blushing pink.
 
In the middle,portray a small dimple –
No not a dimple, but the hiding-place of Love
From which that boy with his little hand
Launches a hundred arrows and never one in vain
Which does not through the eyes go straight to the heart.
 
Ah, Janet ! to paint her mouth well
Homer himself in his verse could barely say
What crimson could equal it ;
For to paint it as it deserves
You would need to paint a Grace’s.
So, paint me it as she seems to be talking,
Now smiling, now perfuming the air
With some kind of ambrosial breath ;
But above all make her appear full
Of the sweetness of persuasion.
All around, attach a million
Smiles, attractiveness, jokes, courtesies ;
And let there be two rows of choice little pearls
In a neat line, in place of teeth,
Elegantly arrayed within.
 
Paint all round them those twin lips
Which, rising up, themselves invite
Being kissed, their colour equal
To a rose’s or crimson coral’s ;
The one flaming in spring on its thorn,
The other reddening at the bottom of the sea.
 
Paint her chin dimpled in the middle
And make the tip bud into roundness
Just as if we were seeing appear
The tip of a quince just beginning to grow.
 
Whiter than clotted cream on rushes
Paint her neck, but paint it a little long,
Slender but plump, and her soft throat
Like her neck should be a little long.
 
Then make her, accurately drawn,
The arms and elbows of Juno
And the lovely fingers of Minerva, and too
Hands equal to the Dawn’s.
 
I no longer know, Janet, where I am :
I am confused, dumb : I cannot
As I have done tell you the rest
Of her beauties which have not been shown me.
Ah, I have never had the good favour
To have seen her fair breasts naked,
But if we may judge by conjecture
With good reason I am convinced
That the beauty which is unseen should
Be like that we see.
So paint her, and let her be made
Perfect just as the lady herself is perfect.
 
As if embossed, raise up her breast
Clear, white, elegant, wide, half-uncovered, full,
Within which a thousand branchy veins
Filled with red blood quiver.
 
Then when as in life you have revealed
Beneath the skin the muscles and nerves,
Make swell on top two fresh apples,
Just as you night see two green apples
In an orchard, which still and all
Just grow redder by the moment at the tip.
 
Right above her marble shoulders
Paint the divine Graces resting,
And let Love ceaselessly flying around
Gaze on them always and keep fanning them,
Thinking he’s flying with Jest, his brother,
From branch to branch in the orchards of Cythera.
 
A little below, rounded like a mirror,
All rounded, plump and shapely,
Like that of Venus, paint her belly ;
Paint its button like a little target
The depths of which should appear more crimson
Than the lovely carnation, the Sun’s favourite.
 
What are you waiting for ? Paint me that other part
Which is so lovely, and which I dare not mention,
And impatient hope for which pricks me :
But I beg you, do not cover it over
Unless it be with a veil made of silk,
Clear and fine, that you can party see through.
 
Her thighs should be made like towers
Full-fleshed, rounded all about,
Just as a column artfully rounded
Which firmly holds up a royal building.
 
Like two hills raise up her knees
Downy, plump, round, delicate and soft ;
Beneath them make her calves full
As were those of the maids of Laconia
When near Eurotas, gripping their arms
They fought together and threw one another down ;
Or indeed hunting with unleashed hounds
Some old stag in the forests of Amyclae.
 
Then, finally, portray her with Thetis’
Narrow feet and small toes.
 
Ha, I see her ! she is almost portayed :
But one stroke more, justl one and she is done.
Raise your hands, ah my god, I see her !
She all but speaks to me.
 
We’ve met the painter Janet – a.k.a. François Clouet, known as Janet (‘Johnny’) as his father had been – before.
 
At the end of book 1, in two long Elegies, Ronsard puts on a firework display of classical names and references. But the two are done very differently: the Elegy to Muret (learned classicist and poet) is full of very obscure and learned references to Achilles; this poem (to Clouet) is full of readily-accessible classical references which point to well-known representations in art and (sometimes) literature, appropriate to a non-specialist like Clouet – and us! Let’s skim through them:
 – Zephyrs, that is to say just ‘gentle breezes’
 – Apelles is the ‘type’ of a great painter
 – Mars and Venus simply personify war and love
 – Ariadne & Theseus on Dia, another well-known image of the lady abandoned as her lover sails into the rising sun
 – Penelope and her husband Odysseus, famously separated for 20 years by his involvement in the Trojan War (Iliad) and then his adventures on the way home (Odyssey)
 – Homer, the ‘type’ of a great poet for his Iliad and Odyssey
 – the Graces, simply personifying ‘grace’ here
 – Juno and Minerva, ‘types’ for beauty because of their competition with Venus for the title of most beautiful in the ‘Judgement of Paris’
 – Dawn’s hands, because Homer always refers to ‘rosy-fingered Dawn’
 – Venus was born (and sometimes lived in) Cythera, with her son Cupid or Love; his brother is usually Anteros, the go of requited (as opposed to unrequited) love – not a god of games or jokes, as Ronsard seems to imply here. But clearly games and happiness in love are what is really going on here
 – the ‘maids of Laconia’ are those hardy Spartan lasses who used to do fighting and hunting like the Spartan boys. The city of Amyclae and the river Eurotas are in Sparta (the Peloponnese)
 – Thetis, a sea-goddess, leading Nereid and mother of Achilles, was surnamed ‘Silver-footed’ in classical times, and her feet are regularly used as a ‘type’ of beauty.
 
Overall, a lovely easy-going poem: Ronsard of course uses the form of the body to create expectation through the poem – we know he’s leading up to the breasts, and later the ‘part he dares not mention’, and that in itself gives the poem a certain sense of rise and fall.
 
The earlier version of course differs in detail, but also includes a whole extra ‘paragraph’ early in the description, later removed:
 
Pein-moy, Janet, pein-moy je te supplie
Sur ce tableau les beautez de m’amie
De la façon que je te les diray.
Comme importun je ne te suppliray
D’un art menteur quelque faveur luy faire.
Il suffit bien si tu la sçais portraire
Telle qu’elle est, sans vouloir desguiser
Son naturel pour la favoriser :
Car la faveur n’est bonne que pour celles
Qui se font peindre, et qui ne sont pas belles.
 
Fay-luy premier les cheveux ondelez,
Nouez, retors, recrespez, annelez,
Qui de couleur le cedre representent :
Ou les allonge, et que libres ils sentent
Dans le tableau, si par art tu le peux,
La mesme odeur de ses propres cheveux :
Car ses cheveux comme fleurettes sentent,
Quand les Zephyrs au printemps les éventent.
 
[Fais-lui le front en bosse revoûté,
Sur lequel soient d’un et d’autre côté
Peints gravement, sur trois sièges d’ivoire
A majesté, la vergogne at la gloire.]
 
Que son beau front ne soit entre-fendu
De nul sillon en profond estendu,
Mais qu’il soit tel qu’est la calme marine,
Quand tant soit peu le vent ne la mutine,
Et que gisante en son lict elle dort,
Calmant ses flots sillez d’un somne mort.
 
Tout au milieu par la gréve descende
Un beau ruby, de qui l’esclat s’espande
Par le tableau, ainsi qu’on voit de nuit
Briller les raiz de la Lune, qui luit
Dessus la neige au fond d’un val coulée,
De trace d’homme encore non foulée.
 
Apres fay luy son beau sourcy voutis
D’Ebene noir, et que son ply tortis
Semble un Croissant, qui monstre par la nuë
Au premier mois sa vouture cornuë :
Ou si jamais tu as veu l’arc d’Amour,
Pren le portrait dessus le demy-tour
De sa courbure à demy-cercle close :
Car l’arc d’Amour et luy n’est qu’une chose.
 
Mais las! mon Dieu, mon Dieu, je ne sçay pas
Par quel moyen, ny comment tu peindras
(Voire eusses-tu l’artifice d’Apelle)
De ses beaux yeux la grace naturelle,
Qui font vergongne aux estoilles des Cieux.
Que l’un soit doux, l’autre soit furieux,
Que l’un de Mars, l’autre de Venus tienne :
Que du benin toute esperance vienne,
Et du cruel vienne tout desespoir :
Ou que l’un soit pitoyable a le voir,
Comme celuy d’Ariadne laissée
Aux bords de Die, alors que l’insensee
Voyant la mer, de pleurs se consommoit,
Et son Thesée en vain elle nommoit :
L’autre soit gay, comme il est bien croyable
Que l’eut jadis Penelope louable
Quand elle vit son mary retourné,
Ayant vingt ans loing d’elle sejourné.
 
Apres fay luy sa rondelette oreille
Petite, unie, entre blanche et vermeille,
Qui sous le voile apparoisse à l’egal
Que fait un lis enclos dans un crystal,
Ou tout ainsi qu’apparoist une rose
Tout fraischement dedans un verre enclose.
 
Mais pour neant tu aurois fait si beau
Tout l’ornement de ton riche tableau,
Si tu n’avois de la lineature
De son beau nez bien portrait la peinture.
Pein-le moy donc gresle, long, aquilin,
Poli, traitis, où l’envieux malin
Quand il voudroit n’y sçauroit que reprendre,
Tant proprement tu le feras descendre
Parmi la face, ainsi comme descend
Dans une plaine un petit mont qui pend.
 
Apres au vif pein moy sa belle joüe
Pareille au teint de la rose qui noüe
Dessus du laict, ou au teint blanchissant
Du lis qui baise un œillet rougissant.
 
Dans le milieu portrais une fossette,
Fossette, non, mais d’Amour la cachette,
D’où ce garçon de sa petite main
Lasche cent traits et jamais un en vain,
Que par les yeux droit au cœur il ne touche.
 
Helas ! Janet, pour bien peindre sa bouche,
A peine Homere en ses vers te diroit
Quel vermillon egaler la pourroit :
Car pour la peindre ainsi qu’elle merite,
Peindre il faudroit celle d’une Charite.
Pein-la moy doncq, qu’elle semble parler,
Ores sou-rire, ores embasmer l’air
De ne sçay quelle ambrosienne haleine :
Mais par sur tout fay qu’elle semble pleine
De la douceur de persuasion.
Tout à l’entour attache un milion
De ris, d’attraits, de jeux, de courtoisies,
Et que deux rangs de perlettes choisies
D’un ordre egal en la place des dents
Bien poliment soyent arrangez dedans.
 
Pein tout autour une lévre bessonne,
Qui d’elle-mesme en s’elevant semonne
D’estre baisée, ayant le teint pareil
Ou de la rose, ou du coural vermeil :
Elle flambante au Printemps sur l’espine,
Luy rougissant au fond de la marine.
 
Pein son menton au milieu fosselu,
Et que le bout en rondeur pommelu
Soit tout ainsi que lon voit apparoistre
Le bout d’un coin qui ja commence à croistre.
 
Plus blanc que laict caillé dessus le jonc
Pein luy le col, mais pein-le un petit long,
Gresle et charnu, et sa gorge doüillette
Comme le col soit un petit longuette.
 
Apres fay luy par un juste compas,
Et de Junon les coudes et les bras,
Et les beaux doigts de Minerve, et encore
La main pareille à celle de l’Aurore.
 
Je ne sçay plus, mon Janet, où j’en suis :
Je suis confus et muet : je ne puis
Comme j’ay fait, te declarer le reste
De ses beautez qui ne m’est manifeste :
Las ! car jamais tant de faveurs je n’eu,
Que d’avoir veu ses beaux tetins à nu.
Mais si l’on peut juger par conjecture,
Persuadé de raisons je m’asseure
Que la beauté qui ne s’apparoit, doit
Estre semblable à celle que lon voit.
Donque pein-la, et qu’elle me soit faite
Parfaite autant comme l’autre est parfaite.
 
Ainsi qu’en bosse esleve moy son sein
Net, blanc, poli, large, profond et plein,
Dedans lequel mille rameuses veines
De rouge sang tressaillent toutes pleines.
 
Puis, quand au vif tu auras descouvers
Dessous la peau les muscles et les ners,
Enfle au dessus deux pommes nouvelettes,
Comme l’on void deux pommes verdelettes
D’un orenger, qui encores du tout
Ne font alors que se rougir au bout.
 
Tout au plus haut des espaules marbrines,
Pein le sejour des Charites divines,
Et que l’Amour sans cesse voletant
Tousjours les couve et les aille esventant,
Pensant voler avec le Jeu son frere
De branche en branche és vergers de Cythere.
 
Un peu plus bas en miroir arrondi,
Tout potelé, grasselet, rebondi,
Comme celuy de Venus, pein son ventre :
Pein son nombril ainsi qu’un petit centre,
Le fond duquel paroisse plus vermeil
Qu’un bel œillet entr’ouvert au Soleil.
 
Qu’atten’s-tu plus ? portray moy l’autre chose
Qui est si belle, et que dire je n’ose,
Et dont l’espoir impatient me poind :
Mais je te pry, ne me l’ombrage point,
Si ce n’estoit d’un voile fait de soye
Clair et subtil, à fin qu’on l’entre-voye.
 
Ses cuisses soyent comme faites au Tour
En grelissant, rondes tout à l’entour,
Ainsi qu’un Terme arrondi d’artifice
Qui soustient ferme un royal edifice.
 
Comme deux monts enleve ses genous,
Douillets, charnus, ronds, delicats et mous,
Dessous lesquels fay luy la gréve pleine,
Telle que l’ont les vierges de Lacene,
Quand pres d’Eurote en s’accrochant des bras
Luttent ensemble et se jettent à bas :
Ou bien chassant à meutes decouplees
Quelque vieil cerf és forests Amyclees.
 
Puis pour la fin portray-luy de Thetis
Les pieds estroits, et les talons petis.
 
Ha, je la voy ! elle est presque portraite :
Encore un trait, encore un, elle est faite.
Leve tes mains, hà mon Dieu, je la voy !
Bien peu s’en faut qu’elle ne parle à moy.
Paint me, Janet, paint me I pray
In this picture the beauties of my beloved
In the manner I’ll tell you them.
I shall not ask as a beggar
That you do her any favours with lying art.
It will be enough if you can portray her
Just as she is, without trying to disguise
Her natural looks to favour her :
For favour is no good but for those
Who have themselves painted but are not fair.
 
First, make her hair in waves,
Knotted up, swept back, curled in ringlets,
Which have the colour of cedar ;
Or make it long and free, scented
In the picture, if you can do it with art,
With the same scent her own hair has ;
For her hair smells like flowers
When the spring Zephyrs fan them.
 
[Make her brow projecting in an arc
On which should be, on each side,
Painted gravely modesty and glory
In majesty on three ivory thrones.
 
Make sure her fair brow is not lined
By any furrow long-extended,
But that it looks like the calm sea
When the wind does not disturb them in the slightest,
And when it sleeps, lying on its bed,
Calming its waves sunk in deepest sleep.
 
Down the middle of this strand make descend
A fair ruby, whose brightness should spread
Throughout the picture, as at night you see
Shining the rays of the moon, spreading light
Over the snow in the deeps of a sunken valley
Still untrodden by the foot of man.
 
Then make her fair arched eyebrow
Of black ebony, so that its curve
Resembles a crescent moon, showing through cloud
Its horned arc at the beginning of the month ;
Or, if you have ever seen Love’s bow,
Use its image above, the half-turn
Of its curve makig a half-circle ;
For Love’s bow and herself are but one thing.
 
But ah, my God, my God, I do not know
In what way or how you will paint
(Even if you had the skill of Apelles)
The natural grace of her lovely eyes
Which make the stars of Heaven ashamed.
Make one sweet, the other furious,
One having something of Mars, the other of Venus :
That from the kind one, every hope should come,
And from the cruel one, every despair ;
Or, let one be pitiful to see,
Like that of Ariadne abandoned
On the shores of Dia, while maddened
She was consumed in tears watching the sea
And called on her Theseus in vain ;
Let the other be happy, as we can believe
The praiseworthy Penelope was formerly
When she saw her husband returned
After staying for twenty years far from her.
 
Next, make her rounded ear,
Small, elegant, between white and pink,
Which should appear beneath its veil exactly
As a lily does, enclosed in crystal,
Or just a a rose would appear,
Completely fresh, enclosed in a vase.
 
But you would have painted so well
Every ornament of your rich picture, for nothing
If you had not well-depicted the line
Of her fair nose.
Paint me it, then, slender, long, aquiline,
Elegant and well-made, so the wicked or envious
Even if he wanted could not reprove,
So exactly you’ll have made it descend
In the midst of her face, just as descends
Over a plain a little raised mound.
 
Then as in life paint me her fair cheek,
Equal to the tint of a rose which swims
Upon milk, or to the white tint
Of the lily kissing a blushing pink.
 
In the middle,portray a small dimple –
No not a dimple, but the hiding-place of Love
From which that boy with his little hand
Launches a hundred arrows and never one in vain
Which does not through the eyes go straight to the heart.
 
Ah, Janet ! to paint her mouth well
Homer himself in his vere could barely say
What crimson could equal it ;
For to paint it as it deserves
You would need to paint a Grace’s.
So, paint me it as she seems to be talking,
Now smiling, now perfuming the air
With some kind of ambrosial breath ;
But above all make her appear full
Of the sweetness of persuasion.
All around, attach a million
Smiles, attractiveness, jokes, courtesies ;
And let there be two rows of choice little pearls
In a neat line, in place of teeth,
Elegantly arrayed within.
 
Paint all round them those twin lips
Which, rising up, themselves invite
Being kissed, their colour equal
To a rose’s or crimson coral’s ;
The one flaming in spring on its thorn,
The other reddening at the bottom of the sea.
 
Paint her chin dimpled in the middle
And make the tip bud into roundness
Just as if we were seeing appear
The tip of a quince just beginning to grow.
 
Whiter than clotted cream on rushes
Paint her neck, but paint it a little long,
Slender but plump, and her soft throat
Like her neck should be a little long.
 
Then make her, accurately drawn,
The arms and elbows of Juno
And the lovely fingers of Minerva, and too
Hands like the Dawn’s.
 
I no longer know, Janet, where I am :
I am confused, dumb : I cannot
As I have done tell you the rest
Of her beauties which have not been shown me.
Ah, I have never had the good favour
To have seen her fair breasts naked,
But if we may judge by conjecture
With good reason I am convinced
That the beauty which is unseen should
Be like that we see.
So paint her, and let her be made
Perfect just as the lady herself is perfect.
 
As if embossed, raise up her breast
Clear, white, elegant, wide, deep, full,
Within which a thousand branchy veins
Filled with red blood quiver.
 
Then when as in life you have revealed
Beneath the skin the muscles and nerves,
Make swell on top two fresh apples,
Just as you night see two green apples
In an orchard, which still and all
Just grow redder at the tip.
 
Right above her marble shoulders
Paint the divine Graces resting,
And let Love ceaselessly flying around
Gaze on them always and keep fanning them,
Thinking he’s flying with Jest, his brother,
From branch to branch in the orchards of Cythera.
 
A little below, rounded like a mirror,
All rounded, plump and shapely,
Like that of Venus, paint her belly ;
Paint its button like a little target
The depths of which should appear more crimson
Than the lovely carnation, half-open to the Sun.
 
What are you waiting for ? Paint me that other part
Which is so lovely, and which I dare not mention,
And impatient hope for which pricks me :
But I beg you, do not cover it over
Unless it be with a veil made of silk,
Clear and fine, that you can party see through.
 
Her thighs should be made like towers
Becoming slenderer, rounded all about,
Just as a column artfully rounded
Which firmly holds up a royal building.
 
Like two hills raise up her knees
Downy, plump, round, delicate and soft ;
Beneath them make her calves full
As were those of the maids of Laconia
When near Eurotas, gripping their arms
They fought together and threw one another down ;
Or indeed hunting with unleashed hounds
Some old stag in the forests of Amyclae.
 
Then, finally, portray her with Thetis’
Narrow feet and small toes.
 
Ha, I see her ! she is almost portayed :
But one stroke more, justl one and she is done.
Raise your hands, ah my god, I see her !
She all but speaks to me.
 
 
 
 

Amours 1.217

Standard
L’arc qui commande aux plus braves gendarmes,
Qui n’a soucy de plastron ny d’escu,
D’un si doux trait mon courage a veincu,
Que sus le champ je luy rendy les armes.
 
Comme inconstant je n’ay point fait d’alarmes
Depuis que serf sous Amour j’ay vescu,
N’y n’eusse peu : car pris je n’ay oncq eu
Pour tout secours, que l’ayde de mes larmes.
 
Et toutefois il me fasche beaucoup
D’estre defait, mesme du premier coup,
Sans resister plus long temps à la guerre :
 
Mais ma défaite est digne de grand pris,
Puis que le Roy, ains le Dieu, qui m’a pris,
Combat le Ciel, les Enfers, et la Terre.
 
 
 
                                                                            The bow which commands the bravest men at arms,
                                                                            Which cares not for breastplate or shield,
                                                                            Has overcome my courage with so sweet a wound
                                                                            That immediately, there on the field of battle, I surrendered my arms.
 
                                                                            Like a traitor I have raised no alarms
                                                                            Since I have lived as a servant of Love,
                                                                            Nor could I have; for once captured I have never had
                                                                            Any help but the aid of my tears.
 
                                                                            And yet it deeply frustrates me
                                                                            To have been defeated, and at the first blow,
                                                                            Without resisting longer in the war ;
 
                                                                            But my defeat is worthy of a great prize
                                                                            Since the King, and God too, who has captured me
                                                                            Matches himself against Heaven, Hell and the Earth.
 
 
 
A very neat construction – effectively A-B-A-B – covering defeat & life after twice in sequence, but also pairing & inverting positive-negative-negative-positive viewpoints. I could go on. Suffice it to say, another very neat little gem from our poet.
 
I also like the neat trick in line 4 – “sur le champ” is literally ‘on the field [of battle]’ but it’s also commonly used to mean ‘straight away’. I’ve included both meanings in the translation to try to reflect something of the linguistic trick.
 
His first version follows the same pattern, but the poetry itself (in lines 1 & 9, but also in the hiatus at the start of line 7) is a little clumsier:
 
 
L’arc contre qui des plus braves gendarmes,
Ne vaut l’armet, le plastron ny l’escu,
D’un si doux trait mon courage a vaincu,
Que sur le champ je luy rendy les armes.
 
Comme inconstant je n’ay point fait d’alarmes
Depuis que serf sous Amour j’ay vescu,
Ny eusse peu, car pris je n’ay oncq eu
Pour tout secours, que l’ayde de mes larmes.
 
Il est bien vrai qu’il me fasche beaucoup
D’estre defait, mesme du premier coup,
Sans resister plus long temps à la guerre :
 
Mais ma défaite est digne de grand pris,
Puis que le Roy, ains le Dieu, qui m’a pris,
Combat le Ciel, les Enfers, et la Terre.
 
 
                                                                            The bow against which the bravest men at arms’
                                                                            Weapons, breastplate or shield are no use,
                                                                            Has overcome my courage with so sweet a wound
                                                                            That immediately, there on the field of battle I surrendered my arms.
 
                                                                            Like a traitor I have raised no alarms
                                                                            Since I have lived as a servant of Love,
                                                                            Nor could I have; for once captured I have never had
                                                                            Any help but the aid of my tears.
 
                                                                            True it is that it deeply frustrates me
                                                                            To have been defeated, and at the first blow,
                                                                            Without resisting longer in the war ;
 
                                                                            But my defeat is worthy of a great prize
                                                                            Since the King, and God too, who has captured me
                                                                            Matches himself against Heaven, Hell and the Earth.
 
 
 
 
 

Chanson

Standard

 

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 ?
    Fidellement
        Aimant,
       Je sens
       Mes sens
       Troubler,
    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,
       Dardant
       En moy
       L’esmoy
       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
       Depuis
       Le jour
       Qu’Amour
       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
       Tres-cher,
       Volant,
       Doublant
       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,
       Ravy
       Du mal
       Fatal,
       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,
       L’amour
       Me fait
       Ce fait
       Penser,
    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,
       Pourtant
       Qu’à tort
       La Mort
       L’esprit
    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?
    Loyally
       Loving
       I sense
       My senses
       Troubled
    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,
       Darting
       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
       Since
       The day
       Love
       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,
       Flying,
       Doubling
       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;
       Seized
       By fatal
       Illness,
       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
       Love
       Makes me
       This truth
       Consider,
    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,
       However
       Wrongly
       Death
       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.