Tag Archives: Jupiter

Amours 2:52

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Tu as beau, Jupiter, l’air de flames dissoudre,
Et faire d’un grand bruit galloper tes chevaux
Ronflans à longs esclairs par le creux des nuaux,
Et en cent mille esclats coup sur coup les descoudre :
 
Je ne crains tes esclairs ny ton son ny ta foudre,
Comme le cœur peureux des autres animaux :
Il y a trop long temps que les foudres jumeaux
Des yeus de ma maistresse ont mis le mien en poudre.
 
Je n’ay plus ny tendons ny arteres ny nerfs :
les feux trop violents qu’en aimant j’ay soufferts,
m’ont tournè tout le corps et toute l’ame en cendre.
 
Je ne suis plus un homme (ô estrange meschef ! )
Mais un fantaume vain, qu’on ne sçauroit plus prendre,
Tant la foudre amoureuse est cheute sus mon chef.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            In vain, Jupiter, have you dissolved the air into flames,
                                                                            And made your horses gallop with great noise
                                                                            Snorting long lightning-flashes through the slits of their nostrils,
                                                                            And with millions of crashes blow by blow unpicked them;
 
                                                                            I do not fear your thunders, lightning and noise,
                                                                            Like the fearful hearts of other animals;
                                                                            For too long the twin lightnings
                                                                            Of my mistress’s eyes have turned my [heart] into powder.
 
                                                                            I no longer have tendons, arteries, nerves;
                                                                            The too-violent fires which I’ve suffered in love
                                                                            Have turned my whole body and soul to ashes.
 
                                                                            I am no longer a man (o strange mischance!)
                                                                            But an empty shade which can no longer be touched
                                                                            So much of Love’s lightning has fallen on my head.
 
 
 
We tend to think of Jupiter the Thunderer as sitting on his cloud throwing thunderbolts. (Too many Disney cartoons maybe!) But the image Ronsard uses here is drawn from Roman times, when the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus (Jupiter Best and Greatest) was topped with a statue group of Jupiter the Thunderer riding in a  four-horse chariot. Indeed, the early Roman dictator Camillus (saviour and second founder of the city)  was exiled partly for driving a chariot drawn by four white horses in procession, as such a team was an honour reserved to Jupiter. It’s possible the fame of Salviati’s Florentine frescoes, linking the triumphs of Camillus with those of Cosimo de Medici, had reached France; certainly these included that very chariot.
 
So much for the mythology; Ronsard of course is using it only to dismiss it, or rather to place the fires of his own love above those of the thunderstorm: a wonderful image I don’t recall seeing before this.  Incidentally, it may seem odd that Ronsard uses the familir ‘tu’ form rather than the formal ‘vous’ for Jupiter; it perhaps reflects an admixture of Christian doctrine, encouraging the use of ‘abba’ (‘father’) for God, and implying in the family relationship perhaps the use of ‘tu’.  That said, I haven’t posted (and can’t can’t quickly identify) any other poems where Ronsard addresses Jupiter directly with ‘tu’.
 
Much of the poem was re-worked over its life: Blanchemain’s early version is below.  (A ‘term’ or ‘terminus’ in line 13 is a pillar carved in human form – rather like a caryatid.)
 
 
Tu as beau, Jupiter, l’air de flames dissoudre,
Et faire galloper tes haut-tonnans chevaux
Ronflans à longs esclairs par le creux des nuaux,
Et en cent mille esclats coup sur coup les descoudre :
 
Ce n’est pas moy qui crains tes esclairs ny ta foudre,
Comme les cœurs peureux des autres animaux :
Il y a trop long temps que les foudres jumeaux
Des yeus de ma maistresse ont mis le mien en poudre.
 
Je n’ay plus ny tendons ny arteres ny nerfs
Veines, muscles, ny pouls : les feux que j’ay soufferts
Au cœur pour trop aimer me les ont mis en cendre,
 
Et je ne suis plus rien (ô estrange meschef ! )
Qu’un terme qui ne peut voir, n’ouir, ny comprendre,
Tant la foudre d’amour est cheute sur mon chef.
 

 
 
 
                                                                            In vain, Jupiter, have you dissolved the air into flames,
                                                                            And made your loud-thundering horses gallop
                                                                            Snorting long lightning-flashes through the slits of their nostrils,
                                                                            And with millions of crashes blow by blow unpicked them;
 
                                                                            It’s not me who fears your lightning and thunder,
                                                                            Like the fearful hearts of other animals;
                                                                            For too long the twin lightnings
                                                                            Of my mistress’s eyes have turned my [heart] into powder.
 
                                                                            I no longer have tendons, arteries, nerves,
                                                                            Veins, muscles or pulse: the fires which I’ve suffered
                                                                            In my heart from loving too much have turned them to ashes.
 
                                                                            And I am no longer anything (o strange mischance!)
                                                                            But a statue which cannot see, hear, nor understand
                                                                            So much of Love’s lightning has fallen on my head.
 
 
 
 
 
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Amours 2:43

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Marie, que je sers en trop cruel destin,
Quand d’un baiser d’amour vostre bouche me baise
Je suis tout esperdu, tant le cœur me bat d’aise :
Entre vos doux baisers puissé-je prendre fin.
 
Il sort de vostre bouche un doux flair qui le thin
Le josmin et l’œillet la framboise et la fraise
Surpasse de douceur, tant une douce braise
Vient de la bouche au cœur par un nouveau chemin.
 
Il sort de vostre sein une odoreuse haleine
(Je meurs en y pensant) de parfum toute pleine,
Digne d’aller au ciel embasmer Jupiter.
 
Mais quand toute mon ame en plaisir se consomme
Mourant dessus vos yeux, lors pour me despiter
Vous fuyez de mon col pour baiser un jeune homme.
 
 
                                                                            Marie, whom I serve under too cruel a fate,
                                                                            When with a loving kiss your lips kiss me
                                                                            I am totally overcome, so happily does my hart beat ;
                                                                            Oh that could die among your sweet kisses!
 
                                                                            From your mouth comes a sweet scent which surpasses
                                                                            The sweetness of thyme, jasmine and pink,
                                                                            Raspberry and strawberry, such a gentle warmth
                                                                            Comes from your mouth to my heart by this new route.
 
                                                                            There rises from your breast a sweet-smelling breath
                                                                            (I die to think of it) full of perfume,
                                                                            Worthy to to anoint Jupiter in heaven.
 
                                                                            But when all my soul is consumed in pleasure,
                                                                            Dying beneath your gaze, then to spite me
                                                                            You rush from my embrace to kiss some young man.
 
 

Another of the Marie/Sinope poems, this time focusing on her sweet-smelling breath rather than her eye-problems! Much more gallant …

 
Blanchemain’s version again keeps Sinope’s name not Marie’s at the beginning (“Sinope, que je sers en trop cruel destin”); otherwise the only change is at the start of the sestet, where Ronsard replaced his first thoughts, the more vivid “vos tetins“, with the less tactile and perhaps less titillating “vostre sein” (above).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Amours 1.188

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En nul endroit, comme a chanté Virgile,
La foy n’est seure, et me l’a fait sçavoir
Ton jeune cœur, mais vieil pour decevoir,
Rompant la sienne en amour si fragile.
 
Tu ne sçaurois, comme femme inutile,
Assujettir les cœurs à ton pouvoir,
Jouët à vent, flot prompt à s’esmouvoir,
Beauté trop belle en ame trop mobile.
 
Escoute, Amour, si tu as quelquefois
Haussé ton vol sous le vent de ma voix,
Jamais mon cœur de son cœur ne racointes.
 
Puisse le Ciel sur sa langue envoyer
Le plus aigu de sa foudre à trois pointes
Pour le payment de son juste loyer.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            In no place, as Virgil sang,
                                                                            Is faith certain, and your young heart
                                                                            Has made me know this truth – young, but old in deception,
                                                                            Breaking its own [faith] in a love so fragile.
 
                                                                            You’d know, like a useless woman,
                                                                            How to subject hearts to your power,
                                                                            A plaything for the wind, a stream quick to move,
                                                                            A beauty too fair in a soul too flighty.
 
                                                                            Hear, Love, if you have sometimes
                                                                            Taken wing, lifted on the breeze of my song,
                                                                            Never re-acquaint my heart with her heart.
 
                                                                            May Heaven send upon her tongue
                                                                            The sharpest of its thunderbolts, triple-pointed,
                                                                            As payment of what she’s rightly owed.
 
 
 
Virgil, in Aeneid 4, famously talks of “vana fides” (’empty faith’) – I’m not sure he talks about ‘uncertain faith’ (“incerta fides”) – but the accuracy of a semi-quotation is hardly the point here! In line 13, we might also quibble about three-pointed thunderbolts, recalling some strange mix of Neptune’s trident with Jupiter’s thunderbolt; but again that would be missing the point…
 
More importantly, I have no idea why in line 5 Ronsard chose the epithet “inutile” (‘useless’) – he clearly mean something like ‘skilled in pointless things’, but is this a case of him pushing the vocabulary further, or is it simply a strange word to choose?  It is, at least, a better stab at it than his earlier version:
 
Tu es vraiment et sotte et mal habile
D’assujettir les cœurs …
 
                                                                             You are truly foolish and clumsy
                                                                            In subjecting hearts …
 
Blanchemain’s edition also opens line 9 with one of his ‘fall-back’ exclamations, definitely improved in the later version above:
 
Helas ! Amour, si tu as quelquefois …
 
                                                                             Alas, Love, if you have sometimes …
 
 
 

Odes 1.3

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Today one of Ronsard’s early Odes, very formally structured in the classical style with strophes & antistrophes repeating a metrical scheme, and then epodes acting as a ‘refrain’ structure in between pairs of these.

A LA ROYNE
 
Strophe 1
 
Je suis troublé de fureur,
Le poil me dresse d’horreur,
D’un effroy mon ame est pleine,
Mon estomac est pantois,
Et par son canal ma vois
Ne se desgorge qu’à peine.
Une deité m’emmeine ;
Fuyez, peuple, qu’on me laisse,
Voicy venir la deesse ;
Fuyez, peuple, je la voy.
Heureux ceux qu’elle regarde,
Et plus heureux qui la garde
Dans l’estomac comme moy !
 
Antistrophe 1
 
Elle, esprise de mes chants,
Loin me guide par les champs
Où jadis sur le rivage
Apollon Florence aima,
Lorsque jeune elle s’arma
Pour combattre un loup sauvage.
L’art de filer ny l’ouvrage
Ne plurent à la pucelle,
Ny le lit mignard ; mais elle,
Devant le jour s’éveillant,
Cherchoit des loups le repaire,
Pour les bœufs d’Arne son père
Sans repos se travaillant.
 
Epode 1
 
Ce Dieu, qui du ciel la vit
Si valeureuse et si belle,
Pour sa femme la ravit,
Et surnomma du nom d’elle
La ville qui te fit naistre,
Laquelle se vante d’estre
Mere de nostre Junon,
Et qui par les gens étranges
Pour ses plus grandes louanges
Ne celebre que ton nom.
 
Strophe 2
 
Là les faits de tes ayeux
Vont flamboyant comme aux cieux
Flamboye l’aurore claire ;
Là l’honneur de ton Julien
Dans le ciel italien
Comme une planette esclaire.
Par luy le gros populaire
Pratiqua l’experience
De la meilleure science,
Et là reluisent aussi
Tes deux grands papes, qui ores
Du ciel, où ils sont encores,
Te favorisent icy.
 
Antistrophe 2
 
On ne compte les moissons
De l’esté, ni des glaçons
Qui, l’hiver, tiennent la trace
Des eaux roides à glisser :
Ainsi je ne puis penser
Les louanges de ta race.
Le Ciel t’a peint en la face
Je ne sçay quoy qui nous monstre,
Dès la premiere rencontre,
Que tu passes par grand-heur
Les princesses de nostre âge,
Soit en force de courage,
Soit en royale grandeur.
 
Epode 2
 
Le comble de ton sçavoir
Et de tes vertus ensemble
Dit que l’on ne peut icy voir
Rien que toy qui te resemble.
Quelle dame a la pratique
De tant de mathematique ?
Quelle princesse entend mieux
Du grand monde la peinture,
Les chemins de la nature
Et la musique des cieux ?
 
Strophe 3
 
Ton nom, que mon vers dira,
Tout le monde remplira
De ta loüange notoire :
Un tas qui chantent de toy
Ne sçavent si bien que moy
Comme il faut sonner ta gloire.
Jupiter, ayant mémoire
D’une vieille destinée
Autrefois determinée
Par l’oracle de Themis,
A commandé que Florence
Dessous les loix de la France
Se courbe le chef soumis.
 
Antistrophe 3
 
Mais il veut que ton enfant
En ait honneur triomphant,
D’autant qu’il est tout ensemble
Italien et François,
Qui de front, d’yeux et de vois,
A père et mere resemble.
Déjà tout colere il semble
Que sa main tente les armes,
Et qu’au milieu des alarmes
Jà desdaigne les dangers ;
Et, servant aux siens de guide,
Vainqueur, attache une bride
Aux royaumes estrangers.
 
Epode 3
 
Le Ciel, qui nous l’a donné
Pour estre nostre lumiere,
Son empire n’a borné
D’un mont ou d’une riviere.
Le destin veut qu’il enserre
Dans sa main toute la terre,
Seul roy se faisant nommer,
D’où Phébus les Indes laisse,
Et d’où son char il abbaisse
Tout panché dedans la mer.
To the Queen
 
 
 
I am assailed by madness,
My hair stands up with horror,
Panic fills my soul,
My heart is stunned,
And my voice can barely
Pass through my throat.
A deity has seized me.
Run, people, please leave me,
See, here comes the goddess !
Run, people, I see her !
Fortunate the men on whom she looks,
More fortunate the man who keeps her
In his heart, like me !
 
 
 
In love with my songs, she
Guides me far among the fields
Where once on the riverbank
Apollo loved Florence,
When the young [nymph] armed herself
To fight a savage wolf.
Not the art of spinning nor its works
Could please the maid,
Nor her pretty bed ; but she,
Before the breaking day
Would seek the dens of wolves,
Working without rest
For the cattle of her father Arno.
 
 
 
This god, who from heaven saw her
So bold and so fair,
Seized her as his wife
And named from her name
The town which gave you birth.
That town boasts of being
Mother of our Juno [queen],
And amongst foreign peoples
For her greater praise
Celebrates only your name.
 
 
 
There the deeds of your ancestors
Rise blazing, as in the heavens
Blazes the bright dawn ;
There [blazes] the glory of your Guiliano
In the Italian skies
Like a bright planet.
Through him, the rude commons
Gained understanding
Of the best learning,
And there shone forth too
Your two great Popes, who still
From heaven, where they are now,
Favour you here.
 
 
 
We cannot count the harvest
Of summer, nor the icicles
Which in winter mark the route
Of waters stubborn in flowing ;
Just so I cannot encompass
The praises of your family.
Heaven painted something
In your appearance which has shown us,
Since first we met,
That you surpass in the greatnes of your destiny
The princesses of our age,
Whether in the force of your courage
Or in royal grandeur.
 
 
 
The sum of your learning
And of all your virtues
Tells us that we cannot see here
Anyone but you, who is like you.
What lady has the skill
Of so much mathematics ?
What princess understands better
The design of the great world,
The paths of nature
And the music of the heavens ?
 
 
 
Your name, which my verse shall praise,
Will fill the whole world
With your well-known praise ;
A mass of those who sing of you
Do not know as well as I
How we should sound your glory.
Jupiter, recalling
An ancient fate
Once determined
By the oracle of Themis,
Commanded that Florence
Beneath the laws of France
Should bend its submissive head.
 
 
 
But he wanted your child
To have triumphant honour from it
As he is, at the same time,
Italian and French,
His brow, eyes and voice
Resembling his father’s and mother’s.
Already full of anger it seems
That his hand tries out arms
And in the midst of alarms
Already disdains danger ;
And, acting as a guide to his men,
As victor places a bridle
On foreign kingdoms.
 
 
 
Heaven, which gave us him
To be our light,
Has not bounded his empire
With hill or river.
Fate wants him to grip
In his hand the whole earth,
Giving him the name of king alone,
From where Phoebus leaves the Indies
To where he brings down his chariot
Sinking into the sea.
 
We’ve seen Ronsard in panegyric mode before. Obviously it was important to lavish priase on potential patrons, especially royalty; what I think distinguishes Ronsard’s work in this vein is the way he knits so many ideas together into a complex and sophisticated hymn of (undeserved) praise.
 
So here he adopts a very classical style, with a very un-classical theme; and indeed opens with the singer being ‘possessed’ by a god in a theme harking back to Greek tragedy. Indeed the whole form of the poem echoes tragic choruses in Greek plays.
 
Antistrophe 1 invents a foundation myth for Florence. The poem is ddressed to Queen Catherine (de Medici), whose family famously rules Florence for much of the renaissance.  Ronsard himself offered some footnotes to help us through the invented myth:  “as in Pausanias Apollo loved the maiden Bolina, after whom is named a town in Achaea. In the style of the ancients, the poet disguises true things with fictions and fables, and invents a nymph who gave her name to the town of Florence, a daughter of Arno, loved and raped by Apollo; which in effect means that this town is full of courage and learning, as in truth many admirable spirits & many great captains have come from it.” Note that, for all his praise of Florence, Ronsard praises France more for having seized the city – strophe 3!
 
The authorial footnote is less helpful in strophe 2, where – regarding the reference to “Julien” he tells us only ‘See here the history of Florence’!  There are two famous Giuliano de Medicis – brother and son of Lorenzo the Magnificent. The former is famous for being assassinated in the Duomo (cathedral) in Florence; the latter for marrying into the royal family of Savoy and being made Duke of Nemours by king Francis I (of France), before dying prematurely. Both are buried side by side in the Medici chapel in Florence, beneath monuments designed by Michelangelo. I suspect Ronsard is referring to the Duke of Nemours – Catherine’s father’s uncle; but it could be either.
 
The two great Popes are also, of course, Medicis:  Clement VII, alias Giulio de Medici, the posthumous son of the assassinated Giuliano; and Leo X, alias Giovanni de Medici, nephew of the same Giuliano. Both feature in Raphael’s famous portarit of Leo X (Giulio as a cardinal).
 
Epode 2 brings an unexpected appearance of the word ‘mathematics’ in poetry…! While the praises here are overdone, there is no doubting that Catherine was cultured and knowledgeable: her patronage of the arts and of public spectacles has left little to remember, but she also spent enormous sums on building programmes, and no doubt took a close interest in the architectural designs (which would have been mathematically proportioned). The authorial footnote in any case tells us that ‘mathematics covers all kinds of science, geometry, astronomy and the others, which are all called mathematics’. Some have read the remaining lines as further evidence of scientific learning: ‘the painting of the great world’ (as it translates literally) might be cosmography, but could equally be a reference to her understanding of the art of perspective etc in painting; the ‘paths of nature’ might refer to an understanding of natural phenomena as much as the knowledge of physics (or perhaps alchemy/chemistry) suggested by some; and the ‘music of the spheres’ need not imply metaphysics any more than an understanding of ‘musical proportion’ etc. But however we read it the message is clear: a clever, learned and cultured queen.
 
Although the prophecy in strophe 3 is invented, Themis is invoked as the classical (or pre-classical) model of what is ‘right’. The footnote tells us ‘this ancient goddess is, high in the heavens for the gods, what justice is here below for men on the earth’. Themis can be translated as ‘right’, though it carries strong connotations of divine order, natural law, the right way of doing things, the will of the gods…  All of which Ronsard is invoking through his reference, as ordaining France’s conquest of Florence – so that France’s king, Catherine’s son, might have the best of French and Italian spirit and courage.  In the 1550s, this would have been a clear reference to Francis II; but in the following 30 years Catherine was a major power behind the throne for three of her sons, Francis being followed by Charles IX and then Henri III as the Valois dynasty tottered towards its collapse. Ronsard’s decision not to name her son here proved very handy, and kept the poem up-to-date through the rest of his life (Catherine died 4 years after him).
 
 
Strophe 3 and Epode 2 (in that order) form the text of Lassus’s 1571 musical setting which, though not openly naming Catherine or dedicated to her, retains the reference to Florence as well as France. As Charles IX had married the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor in 1570, we can be pretty confident that he expected the song to be recognised as a tribute to the most powerful Queen in Europe, and a powerful supporter of the Catholic faith at a time when much of northern Europe was riven by the Protestant-Catholic troubles.
 
 
 
 

Amours 2:42

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Si j’estois Jupiter, Marie, vous seriez
Mon espouse Junon : si j’estois Roy des ondes,
Vous seriez ma Tethys, Roine des eaux profondes,
Et pour vostre maison les ondes vous auriez.
 
Si la terre estoit mienne, avec moy vous tiendriez
L’empire sous vos mains, dame des terres rondes,
Et dessus un beau Coche en belles tresses blondes
Par le peuple en honneur Deesse vous iriez.
 
Mais je ne suis pas Dieu, et si ne le puis estre :
Le ciel pour vous servir seulement m’a fait naistre,
De vous seule je prens mon sort avantureux.
 
Vous estes tout mon bien, mon mal, et ma fortune.
S’il vous plaist de m’aimer, je deviendray Neptune,
Tout Jupiter tour Roy tout riche et tout heureux. 
 
 
 
                                                                            If I were Jupiter, Marie, you would be
                                                                            My wife Juno ; if I were king of the waves,
                                                                            You would be my Tethys, queen of the deep waters
                                                                            And would have as your home the waves ;
 
                                                                            If the earth were mine, you would hold with me
                                                                            Power in your hands, lady of the round world,
                                                                            And in a fine coach, with your beautiful blonde hair,
                                                                            You would go like a goddess, honoured by the people.
 
                                                                            But I am not a god, nor can I become one :
                                                                            Heaven had me born only to serve you,
                                                                            From you alone I receive my venturesome fate.
 
                                                                            You are all my good, my ills, my fortune.
                                                                            If it pleases you to love me, I shall become Neptune,
                                                                            Jupiter entire, and King, and rich, and happy.
 
 
Jupiter and Juno as king and queen of heaven are probably familiar; but you (like me) might have tripped over the reference to Tethys. Here, Ronsard goes back to the ‘old’ gods, the Titans: Tethys was the sister and wife of Oceanus, the personification (and ruler) of the seas before the dynastic wars in which the classical (Olympian) gods defeated the Titans from whom they were descended.  There’s a suggestion in the poem that Ronsard may not have been so specific, since at the end where he reflects back the opening stanza, he uses Neptune’s name as if he – being king of the sea – were the (unnamed) consort of Tethys.As you will see below, he confuses the picture further in his earlier version, since there the Ocean is a home not a husband!
 
Turning then to Blanchemain’s version, we find substantial variants, so much so that it is addressed to a different lady, and 50% of the poem is different! Sinope is the addressee of some 14 (earlier versions of) his poems, later re-addressed in the collected books to Marie. It seems that he had a brief liaison in 1558-9 with ‘Sinope’ (if that was her name). Laumonier explains how Belleau, in his 1560 commentary, makes clear that she and Marie are different people, although after Marie’s death in 1578 Ronsard modified Belleau’s notes to suggest that Sinope was just a nickname for Marie.
 
We can tell it’s an early poem, incidentally, as he refers to his “bonnet rond”, the sign of the priesthood – an odd thing to find in a love poem, and that is no doubt one reason why the older, wiser, and much more conservative Ronsard changed it…  More disappointingly he also removed the wonderfully erotic image of the final stanza below, and replaced it with a considerably more staid and stately ending we see above. 
 
Here is the earlier version complete:
 
 
Si j’estois Jupiter, Sinope, vous seriez
Mon espouse Junon : si j’estois roy des ondes,
Vous seriez ma Tethys, royne des eaux profondes,
Et pour vostre maison l’Océan vous auriez.
 
Si la terre estoit mienne, avec moy vous tiendriez
L’empire de la terre aux mammelles fecondes,
Et, dessus une coche en belles tresses blondes,
Par le peuple en honneur deesse vous iriez.
 
Mais je ne suis pas Dieu, et si ne le puis estre :
Pour telles dignités le ciel ne m’a fait naistre ;
Mais je voudrois avoir changé mon bonnet rond,
 
Et vous avoir chez moi pour ma chère espousée ;
Tout ainsi que la neige au doux soleil se fond,
Je me fondrois en vous d’une douce rousée.
 
 
 
                                                                            If I were Jupiter, Sinope, you would be
                                                                            My wife Juno ; if I were king of the waves,
                                                                            You would be my Tethys, queen of the deep waters
                                                                            And would have as your home the Ocean ;
 
                                                                            If the earth were mine, you would hold with me
                                                                            Power over the earth with its fertile breasts,
                                                                            And in a coach, with your beautiful blonde hair,
                                                                            You would go like a goddess, honoured by the people.
 
                                                                            But I am not a god, nor can I become one :
                                                                            For such honours heaven did not have me born.
                                                                            But I wish I could have exchanged my round priest’s hat
 
                                                                            And had you in my home as my dear wife ;
                                                                            Just as the snow melts in the soft sunshine,
                                                                            So I would melt into you like the soft dew.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Gayetez et Epigrammes (48)

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After that last poem, maybe something related…

SUR LES SEPT AGES DE L’HOMME
 
    ENFANCE
L’âge premier de l’homme Enfance est appellé ;
Son cours est de quatre ans, maistrisé par la lune ;
Auquel il s’agrandit, desja serf de fortune,
Humide, delicat, d’ignorance voilé.
 
    LA PUERILITÉ
La Puerilité est nostre âge second ;
Son regne est de dix ans, gouverné par Mercure.
Vollage, sans arrest, est lors nostre nature,
Et l’esprit au sçavoir se veut rendre facond.
 
    ADOLESCENCE
Le tiers est de huict ans, par Venus gouverné,
Qui rend homme amoureux en son Adolescence,
Son naturel enclin aux jeux et à la dance,
De flammes et de feux son cœur environné.
 
    JEUNESSE
La Jeunesse est le quart, guidé par le soleil,
Regnant dix et neuf ans, poussant au mariage
L’homme qui veult (vivant) colloquer son mesnage,
Desireux de richesse, en force sans pareil.
 
    LE VIRIL
Le quint est le Viril, suivant l’aspect de Mars ;
Son cours est de quinze ans, sa nature fascheuse,
Magnanime, constante, avare, dangereuse,
Rendant l’homme guerrier suivant ses estendars.
 
    VIEILLESSE
Le six, soubs Jupiter, dans douze ans faict son cours,
Jusqu’en l’an soixante-huit, âge nommé Vieillesse.
L’homme alors vers le ciel tout repentant s’adresse.
Soigneux de son salut, des humbles le secours.
 
    LE CADUC
Le Caduc est le sept des âges le dernier,
Où Saturne commande, arrestant sa carriere
En l’an quatre-vingt-huit. Nature à sa premiere
Foiblesse le conduit, retournant au premier.
On the Seven Ages of Man
 
    Infancy
The first age of man is called Infancy ;
It runs for four years, under the moon’s governance,
In which he grows bigger, already a slave to fortune,
Moist, delicate, veiled in ignorance.
 
    Childhood
Childhood is our second age ;
Its reign is ten years long, governed by Mercury.
Flighty, not stopping, is then our nature
And the spirit tries to become fluent in learning.
 
    Adolescence
The third is eight years long, governed by Venus
Who makes men fall in love in their Adolescence,
Their natures inclined to games and the dance,
Their hearts beset by flames and fires.
 
    Youth
Youth is the fourth, guided by the Sun,
Reigning for nineteen years, driving to marriage
The man who wishes, while alive, to establish his household,
Desiring riches, unequalled in strength.
 
    Manhood
The fifth is Manhood, following the aspect of Mars.
It runs for fifteen years, its nature irritable,
Kind-hearted, constant, greedy, eager for danger,
Making man a warrior following the standards.
 
    Old age
The sixth, under Jupiter, runs its course in twelve years
Up to the age of 68, the period called Old age.
Man then, repentant, directs himself to Heaven,
Careful of his salvation, the help of humble men.
 
    Decrepitude
Decrepitude is the seventh and last age,
Where Saturn holds sway, cutting short its career
In his 88th year. Nature leads him back
To his first feebleness, returning to the start.
 
Associating periods of life with different zodiacal signs or governing planets is nothing unusual in renaissance Catholicism, even if today Christianity generally excludes astrology. On the other hand, the popularity of Holst’s “Planets” suggests there is a continuing nostalgia for the days when we could believe the stars guided our lives…
 
This is an occasional piece which Blanchemain prints at the end of the Gayetez and Epigrammes, with a lengthy footnote, from which the following is excerpted: 
“I owe to M. Rathery, learned librarian, the reference to a volume preserved in the Imperial Library. This book, among many fine engravings by Martin de Voos and other engravers of the 16th century, contains a series of plates preceded by the title:
Figures and portraits of the seven ages of man, with texts in quatrains by the late M. de Ronsard at the foot of each. Drawn and engraved on principles set out by the late M. Baptiste Pellerin – 1595, Paris. …”
 
If you are interested, you can look through the plates on the Gallica website.
ronsard_youth
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Amours 1:189

Standard
Son chef est d’or, son front est un tableau,
Où je voy peint le gain de mon dommage :
Belle est sa main qui me fait devant l’âge
Changer de teint, de cheveux et de peau.
 
Belle est sa bouche et son soleil jumeau,
De neige et feu s’embellist son visage,
Pour qui Jupin reprendroit le plumage
Ore d’un Cygne, or’ le poil d’un Toreau.
 
Doux est son ris, qui la Meduse mesme
Endurciroit en quelque roche blesme,
Vengeant d’un coup cent mille cruautez.
 
Mais tout ainsi que le Soleil efface
Les moindres feux, ainsi ma foy surpasse
Le plus parfait de toutes ses beautez.
 
 
 
                                                                            Her hair is golden, her brow a picture
                                                                            On which I see painted my getting this wound ;
                                                                            Fair is her hand which makes me, before my time,
                                                                            Change colour, both of hair and skin.
 
                                                                            Fair is her mouth and her twin suns,
                                                                            With snow and fire is her face embellished ;
                                                                            For it, Jupiter would again take on the plumage
                                                                            Of a swan, or the hide of a bull.
 
                                                                            Sweet is her smile, though may Medusa
                                                                            Harden it into some pale rock,
                                                                            Repaying in one moment a hundred thousand cruelties !
 
                                                                            But just as the sun overpowers
                                                                            Smaller fires, so my faithfulness surpasses
                                                                            The most perfect of all her beauties.
 
 
 
 
Lines 7-8 refer to the stories of Europa (carried off by Jupiter in the form of a bull) and Leda (raped by Jupiter in swan’s form).  In line 9 Medusa is of course the monster who turns anyone who sees her face into stone.
 
No changes between versions to report.