Tag Archives: Pasithea

Sonnet 39

Agathe, où du Soleil le signe est imprimé
(L’escrevice marchant, comme il fait en arriere)
Cher present que je donne à toy chere guerriere,
Mon don pour le Soleil est digne d’estre aimé.
Le Soleil va tousjours de flames allumé,
Je porte au cœur le feu de ta belle lumiere :
Il est l’ame du monde, et ma force premiere
Depend de ta vertu, dont je suis animé.
O douce belle vive angelique Sereine,
Ma toute Pasithee, essence sur-humaine,
Merveille de nature, exemple sans pareil,
D’honneur et de beauté l’ornement et le signe,
Puis que rien icy bas de ta vertu n’est digne,
Que te puis-je donner sinon que le Soleil ?
                                                                              The agate, in which the symbol of the sun is imprinted
                                                                              (Going like a crayfish, backwards)
                                                                              The dear present which I give to you, my dear warrior,
                                                                              My gift is worthy of being loved for the sun’s sake.
                                                                              The sun is always lit up with flames,
                                                                              And I carry in my heart the fire of your fair light;
                                                                              He is the soul of the world, and my essential strength
                                                                              Depends on your virtue, by which I am given life.
                                                                              O sweet, fair, lively, angelic Calm,
                                                                              My Pasithea in every way, super-human essence,
                                                                              Wonder of nature, peerless example,
                                                                              The ornament and symbol of honour and beauty:
                                                                              Since nothing here below is worthy of your virtue
                                                                              What can I give you except the sun?
 Another poem unchanged from its earlier version.  Pasithea is one of the Graces, married to Somnus god of sleep, and a symbol of relaxation and calm.Agate fire Why ‘the symbol of the sun is imprinted going like a crayfish, backward” in an agate I am not sure: perhaps because the agate is dark in the middle and brightens as you move outwards?

Sonnet 13

Soit que je sois haï de toy, ma Pasithee,
Soit que j’en sois aimé, je veux suivre mon cours :
J’ay joué comme aux dets mon cœur et mes amours :
Arrive bien ou mal, la chance en est jettee.

Si mon ame et de glace et de feu tormentee
Peut deviner son mal, je voy que sans secours,
Passionné d’amour, je doy finir mes jours,
Et que devant mon soir se clorra ma nuictee.

Je suis du camp d’Amour pratique Chevalier :
Pour avoir trop souffert, le mal m’est familier :
Comme un habillement j’ay vestu le martire.

Donques je te desfie, et toute ta rigueur :
Tu m’as desja tué, tu ne sçaurois m’occire
Pour la seconde fois : car je n’ay plus de cœur.


                                                                                Whether I am hated by you, my Pasithea,
                                                                                Or whether I’m loved, I want only to follow my course.
                                                                                I have gambled my heart and my love, as if at dice;
                                                                                Come good or evil, the die is cast.
                                                                                If my soul, tortured by ice and by fire,
                                                                                Correctly recognises what is hurting it, I see that
                                                                                I must end my days helpless and unreasoning in love,
                                                                                And that before my evening is over my night will fall.
                                                                                I am a knight experienced in Love’s battlefield;
                                                                                From enduring too much, pain is familiar to me;
                                                                                I have put on suffering like my clothes.
                                                                                So I defy you and all your harshness;
                                                                                You have already killed me, you cannot cut me down
                                                                                A second time, for I no longer have my heart.


The contrast between the chivalric motif of the first tercet and the gambling motif in the opening quatrain is interesting; as is trying to translate line 4. Caesar’s ‘The die is cast’ is an approximation; it might more accurately be ‘my fortune has been rolled with them [the dice]’.  Spelling is also interesting here; between them my two main sources offer 2 variants and varied plurals for ‘dice’ – ‘dets/detz’ and ‘dés’!  Otherwise the versions are identical.
Pasithea is, in Homer, a young and beautiful sister of the three Graces, implying the same characteristics in Helen; but she is also associated with hallucinations and dreams, and perhaps Ronsard is hinting that she is misleading him?