Tag Archives: rose

Amours 1.193

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Ces flots jumeaux de laict bien espoissi
Vont et revont par leur blanche valée,
Comme à son bord la marine salée,
Qui lente va, lente revient aussi.
 
Une distance entre eux se fait, ainsi
Qu’entre deux monts une sente égalée,
Blanche par tout de neige devalée,
Quand en hyver le vent s’est adouci.
 
Là deux rubis haut eslevez rougissent,
Dont les rayons cet yvoire finissent
De toutes parts uniment arondis :
 
Là tout honneur, là toute grace abonde :
Et la beauté, si quelqu’une est au monde,
Vole au sejour de ce beau paradis.
 
 
 
                                                                            Those twin swellings of creamy milk
                                                                            Flow back and forth over their white valley
                                                                            Like the salty sea at its edge
                                                                            Which slowly flows in, and slowly returns again;
 
                                                                            A gap there is between them, as
                                                                            Between two hills a path runs down the midst,
                                                                            White all over with fallen snow,
                                                                            When in winter the wind has abated.
 
                                                                            There two rubies redden, standing tall,
                                                                            Whose shining finishes that ivory,
                                                                            Rounded on all sides equally;
 
                                                                            There all honour, all grace abound;
                                                                            And beauty, if there is any in the world,
                                                                            Flies to lodge in this fair paradise. 
 
 
 
Technically, the breasts in line 1 are like ‘milk that’s been well-clotted’: in English that sounds pretty awful, we think of cream as good, clots as bad [though clotted cream is perhaps an exception], so I’ve translated for meaning rather than literally.
 
You’d think this didn’t need much tweaking. But in fact you can see it was improved: Blanchemain’s opening is the less involving “Les flots jumeaux …”, and in the second quatrain he has
 
Qu’entre deux monts une sente égalée,
En tous endroits de neige devalée,
Sous un hiver doucement adouci
 
                                                                            Between two hills a path runs down the midst,
                                                                            In every part covered in snow,
                                                                            In a winter gently softened.
 
 
 
 
 

Amours 1.179

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En me bruslant il faut que je me taise :
Car d’autant plus qu’esteindre je me veux,
Plus le desir me r’allume les feux
Qui languissoient sous une morte braise.
 
Si suis-je heureux (et cela me r’apaise)
De plus souffrir que souffrir je ne peux,
Et d’endurer le mal dont je me deulx.
Je me deulx ? non, mais dont je suis bien aise.
 
Par ce doux mal j’adoroy la beauté
Qui me liant d’une humble cruauté,
Me desnoüa les liens d’ignorance.
 
Par luy j’appris les mysteres d’Amour,
Par luy j’appris que pouvoit l’esperance,
Par luy mon ame au ciel fit son retour.
 
 
 
                                                                            As I burn I must be silent ;
                                                                            For as much as I want to extinguish them
                                                                            So much more desire re-lights those fires
                                                                            Which lie beneath a dying flame.
 
                                                                            So happy am I (and that soothes me)
                                                                            To suffer more than I can suffer
                                                                            And to endure the pain which grieves me;
                                                                            Grieves? No: which pleases me.
 
                                                                            Through this sweet pain I adore the beauty
                                                                            Who, binding me with meek cruelty,
                                                                            Looses me from the bonds of ignorance.
 
                                                                            Through her I learn the mysteries of love,
                                                                            Through her I learn what hope can do,
                                                                            Through her my soul returns to heaven.
 
 
 
What a lovely poem: a simple, single image, and a fantastic last tercet.  (I think I need to have another go at lines 3-4 sometime: not sure this translation really holds together as an image!) Blanchemain’s version has a number of differences, including the end! The later version is so much better…
 
 
Las ! force m’est qu’en bruslant je me taise,
Car d’autant plus qu’esteindre je me veux,
Plus le desir me r’allume les feux
Qui languissoient sous la morte braise.
 
Si suis-je heureux (et cela me r’appaise)
De plus souffrir que souffrir je ne peux,
Et d’endurer le mal dont je me deulx ;
Je me deulx, non, mais dont je suis bien aise.
 
Par ce doux mal j’adoroy la beauté
Qui, me liant d’une humble cruauté,
Me desnoua les liens d’ignorance.
 
Par luy me vint ce vertueux penser
Qui jusqu’au ciel fit mon cœur elancer,
Ailé de foy, d’amour et d’esperance.
 
 
                                                                            Alas, I am forced as I burn to be silent
                                                                            For the more I try to extinguish them
                                                                            The more desire re-lights those fires
                                                                            Which lie beneath the dying flame.
 
                                                                            So happy am I (and that soothes me)
                                                                            To suffer more than I can suffer
                                                                            And to endure the pain which grieves me;
                                                                            Grieves? No: which pleases me.
 
                                                                            Through this sweet pain I adore the beauty
                                                                            Who, binding me with meek cruelty,
                                                                            Looses me from the bonds of ignorance.
 
                                                                            Through her comes to me that virtuous thought
                                                                            Which makes my heart leap to heaven,
                                                                            Winged with faith, love and hope. 
 
 
 
 
 

Amours 1.177

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Au mesme lict où pensif je repose,
Presque ma Dame en langueur trespassa
Devant-hier, quand la fiévre effaça
Son teint d’œillets, et la lévre de rose.
 
Une vapeur avec sa fiévre esclose,
Dedans le lict son venin me laissa,
Qui par destin, diverse m’offensa
D’une autre fiévre en mes veines enclose.
 
L’un apres l’autre elle avoit froid et chaud :
Ne l’un ne l’autre à mon mal ne default :
Et quand l’un croist, l’autre ne diminue.
 
L’accés fiévreux tousjours ne la tentoit,
De deux jours l’un sa chaleur s’alentoit :
Je sens tousjours la mienne continue.
 
 
 
 
                                                                            In the same bed where I lie thoughtfully
                                                                            My Lady nearly drooped and died
                                                                            The day before yesterday, when fever wiped away
                                                                            Her carnation-pink tint and the rose from her lips.
 
                                                                            A vapour wrapped up in her fever
                                                                            Left me its poison in the bed
                                                                            Which, by fate, assaulted me in various ways
                                                                            With another fever shut within my veins.
 
                                                                            One after another, she was hot and cold;
                                                                            Neither one nor the other took away my pain;
                                                                            And when one grew, the other did not lessen.
 
                                                                            The feverish bout is not still attacking her;
                                                                            Of the two days one was when the heat went down;
                                                                            But I still feel my own continuing.
 
 
 
(No commentary needed; and no variants as I haven’t found this one in Blanchemain so far!)
 
 
 
 
 

Poems 1.18 – The Marigold / Worries

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Although the poem is about the marigold, the French word also means ‘cares’ or ‘worries’ – particularly in Ronsard, the troubles of a lover. Here there is a subtext throughout, a message to his lady about the pain she causes him. The title in Blanchemain’s version, ‘the marigold in the garden’, sets the expectation of a rather less ambiguous poem, perhaps.

Le Souci
 
Je veux chanter, Cherouvrier, le Souci
Qui te plaist tant et qui me plaist aussi :
Non les soucis dont Amour me fait guerre,
Mais les Soucis estoiles de la terre :
Ains les Soleils des jardins, tant ils sont
Jaunes, luisans et dorez sur le front.
 
La rose emporte (empourprant son espine)
Le premier lieu à cause d’Erycine,
Et du beau sang d’Adon qui la peingnit :
L’Oeillet apres qu’Apollon contraingnit
Joüer au disque, et qui le fist occire
Sans y penser à l’amoureux Zephire,
Et fut depuis aux Spartes un grand Dieu.
 
Ces deux, Souci, ont eu le premier lieu,
Toy le troisiesme, et s’il n’y a fleurette
Ny giroflée, ou double violette,
Genest, josmin plus odorant que toy :
Au moins, Souci, s’il n’est vray, je le croy.
 
Soit que ma Dame autrefois m’ait donnée
Ta couleur jaune, ou que l’ame inclinée
A voir, sentir et contempler ta fleur,
Sur tous parfums j’estime ton odeur :
Jamais repas ne me fut agreable,
Si ton bouton n’enfleurit une table,
Salade, pain, et toute la maison
Aux plus beaux mois de la prime saison :
Car de couleur ta couleur je ressemble,
Tu es, Souci, mon frere ce me semble.
 
Tu es tout jaune, et tout jaune je suis
Pour trop d’amour qu’effacer je ne puis.
 
Printemps, Hyver, tu gardes ta verdure :
Printemps, Hyver, le soin d’amour me dure.
 
Double est ta fleur, ta fleur est simple aussi,
Mon cœur est simple, et vit tousjours ainsi :
Mais mes pensers et mes ennuis sont doubles
Selon les yeux et farouches et troubles
De ma Maistresse, et mon soin est doublé
Si son œil est ou farouche ou troublé.
 
Quand le Soleil ton amoureux s’abaisse
Dedans le sein de Tethys son hostesse,
Allant revoir le pere de la mer,
On voit ton chef se clorre et se fermer
Palle, desfait : mais quand sa tresse blonde
De longs cheveux s’esparpille sur l’onde
Se resveillant, tu t’esveilles joyeux,
Et pour le voir tu dessilles tes yeux,
Et sa clarté est seule ton envie,
Un seul Soleil te donnant mort et vie.
 
Quand je ne voy mon beau Soleil levé,
De toutes parts un sommeil agravé
Dessus le front des tenebres me donne,
Si qu’esblouy je ne cognois personne.
 
Mais aussi tost que ses rais dessus moy
Me font un jour, des yeux du cœur je voy
Mille beautez, tant sa gentille flame
En m’esclairant me reluist dedans l’ame,
Et loin du corps dont je suis empesché,
Tient mon esprit aux Astres attaché.
 
On dit, Souci, quand au bras on te lie,
Que tu guaris de la melancholie.
Or en cela nous sommes differens :
Ce que je voy, tout triste je le rens
Ainsi que moy, tant il sort de tristesse
Hors de mes yeux pour ma rude Maistresse,
Qui froide et lente et morne en amitié
Mon pauvre cœur ne veut prendre à pitié,
Me consommant d’amour, tant elle est belle :
Et je veux bien me consommer pour elle.
 
Adieu Souci, si Cherouvrier passant
Par son jardin voit ton chef florissant,
Qui toute fleur au temps d’Hyver surpasse,
Que l’Aube engendre et qu’une nuict efface,
Te voyant naistre aussi tost que fanir :
Soir et matin fay le moy souvenir
Que nostre vie aux fleurettes resemble,
Qui presque vit et presque meurt ensemble :
Et ce-pendant qu’il est en son printemps,
Vive amoureux et n’espargne le temps.
 
Si en naissant ce grand Maistre qui donne
Heur et malheur à chacune personne,
M’avoit donné, mon Cherouvrier, ta vois
Dont tu flechis les peuples et les Rois,
Comme estant seul de France la merveille
Pour attirer une ame par l’oreille :
Je chasserois la fiévre de mon corps
Par la douceur de tant de beaux accords.
 
En lieu d’avoir ta nombreuse Musique
J’ay l’autre ardeur, la vérve poëtique,
Qui rompt ma fiévre et charme mon souci,
Ou s’il n’est vray, je me console ainsi.
 
Donq si j’avois ceste voix si divine,
Present du ciel qui sort de ta poitrine,
Je chanterois : mais ne pouvant chanter,
De l’autre ardeur il me faut contenter.
The Marigold
 
I shall sing, Cherouvrier, of the marigold
Which pleases you so, and pleases me too ;
Not the cares with which Love makes war on me
But the flowery stars of the earth,
Like suns in the garden, so yellow
Are they, shining gold on their brows.
 
The rose (em-purpling its thorns) takes
First place, because of Erycine [Venus of Mt Eryx]
And the fair blood of Adonis which colours it ;
The carnation next, which Apollo made
Play at the discus and whom Zephyr made him kill
Without considering his lover,
And was afterward a great god to the Spartans.
 
These two, marigold, have first place,
You the third, and indeed there is no flower,
Not the wallflower nor double-violet,
Broom nor jasmine more sweet-smelling than you ;
At least, marigold, that’s what I believe, true or not.
 
Whether my Lady had once given me
Your yellow tint, or whether my soul was inclined
To look at, smell and consider your flower,
Above all perfumes I esteem your odour ;
Never was a meal pleasing to me
Unless your bud flowered on the table,
Salad, bread and all the house
In the fairest months of the best season ;
Because in my colour your colour I resemble
You are, marigold, my brother, it seems.
 
You are all yellow, and I am all yellow
From too much love, nor can I wipe it away.
 
In Spring and Winter, you keep your freshness ;
In Spring and Winter, love’s cares linger in me.
 
Double is your flower, but single too ;
My heart is single, and lives always thus ;
But my thoughts and cares are doubled
Because of the timid, troubled eyes
Of my mistress, and my care is doubled
If her eyes are either timid or troubled.
 
When the sun, your lover, sets
Within the breast of Tethys his hostess,
Going to see again the father of the sea,
We see your bloom close, lock itself away
Pale and undone ; but when his yellow locks
Scatter their long hair over the waves
As he awakes again, then you wake joyfully
And open your eyes to see him
And his brightness is your only desire,
The Sun alone bringing you death and life.
 
When I do not see my own Sun arise,
From every side a painful sleep
Gives me shadows on my brow,
So that, dazzled, I recognise no-one.
 
But as soon as her rays shine daylight
Upon me, with my heart’s eyes I see
A thousand beauties, so much does her noble flame
Shining on me lighten again my soul,
And, far from the body with which I am weighted down,
Keeps my spirit bound to the stars.
 
They say, marigold, that when we tie you to our arm
You will cure melancholy.
Well, in that we are different :
Whatever I see, I make unhappy
Like I am myself, so much sadness flows
From my eyes for my harsh mistress,
Who – cold, slow and sad in loving –
Does not want to take pity on my poor heart,
Consuming me with love, so beautiful she is ;
And I’d willingly consume myself for her.
 
Farewell, marigold : if Cherouvrier passes
By your garden and sees your flowering head
Which surpasses all flowers in winter-time,
Which Dawn brings to birth and a single night extinguishes,
Seeing you born as quick as fading ;
Night and day remind him for me
That our life is like that of the flowers
Who virtually live and die at the same moment ;
And yet while he is in his springtime
Let him live, love, and not spare of his time.
 
If at birth that great Master who gives
Fortune and misfortune to each person
Had given me, my Cherouvrier, your voice
With which you sway peoples and Kings,
As if the sole wonder in France
Able to draw out the soul through the ears,
I would drive away the fever from my body
Through the sweetness of so many fine harmonies.
 
Instead of having your many-faceted Music
I have that other passion, poetic inspiration,
Which breaks my fever and charms away my cares –
Or so I console myself, even if it is not true.
 
So, if I had your god-like voice,
Which emerges from your breast like a gift from heaven,
I would sing : but being unable to sing,
With that other passion I must content myself.
 
We met Guillaume Cherouvrier a while back in one of Ronsard’s more cynical poems, so it is good to find him here as the recipient of something far less cynical!  You may recall he was a member of the Royal Chapel, hence the reference to ‘his music’ near the end of the poem.
 
Tethys in the middle of the poem is the sun’s ‘hostess’ because she is a sea-nymph, and of course the sun spends his nights in the sea. Adonis, near the beginning, is more usually associated with the blood-red anemone, though it’s obvious why the rose could also fit; he links closely to Venus (who loved him) but not especially to her cult on Mt Eryx in Sicily.  The three lines about the carnation are confusing, not least because you need to know the story to be able to work out who is doing what to whom! The carnation here replaces the hyacinth: Hyacinth was loved by Apollo, but also by Zephyr who, while Apollo and Hyacinth were throwing the discus, blew it off course so that Apollo’s throw killed Hyacinth. So here the meaning is that Apollo made Hyacinth play, Zephyr made Apollo kill him, sacrificing his own love to spite Apollo. (Apollo transformed the blood of Hyacinth into a flower, marked with his tears or the blood depending on the version of the myth and the flower it represents!)
 
I should just mention the ‘double / single’ antithesis in the middle of the poem. Ronsard’s words are “double / simple”, so that each time something is ‘single’ it is also ‘simple’. I have reluctantly chosen ‘single’, so that the antithesis works, but I feel that the other meaning, of simplicity, is really the one that should come through!
 
Let’s have a look at the variant texts offered by Blanchemain: 
 
Le Souci du Jardin
 
Au Sieur Cherouvrier
Excellent musicien
 
Je veux chanter, Cherouvrier, le Souci
Qui te plaist tant, et qui me plaist aussi ;
Non les soucys qui tout le cœur nous serre,
Mais les Soucis, estoilles d’un parterre,
Ains les soleils des jardins, tant ils sont
Jaunes, luisans, et dorez sur le front.
 
La rose emporte (empourprant son espine)
Le premier lieu à cause d’Erycine,
Et du beau sang d’Adon qui la peingnit ;
L’œillet après qu’Apollon contraingnit
Jouer au disque, et qui le fit occire
Sans y penser à l’amoureux Zephyre,
Et fut depuis aux Spartes un grand Dieu.
 
Ces deux, Soucy, ont eu le premier lieu,
Toy le troisiesme, et s’il n’y a fleurette,
Ny giroflée, ou double violette,
Genest, josmin plus odorant que toy ;
Au moins, Souci, s’il n’est vray, je le croy.
 
Soit que ma dame autresfois m’ait donnée
Ta couleur jaune, ou que l’âme inclinée
A voir, sentir, et contempler ta fleur,
Sur tous parfums j’estime ton odeur ;
Jamais repas ne me fut agreable,
Si ton bouton n’enfleurit une table,
Salade, pain, et toute la maison
Aux plus beaux mois de la prime saison ;
Car de couleur, Soucy, je te ressemble,
Tu es, Soucy, mon frere, ce me semble.
 
Tu es tout jaune, et tout jaune je suis
Pour trop d’amour qu’effacer je ne puis.
 
Printemps, hyver, tu gardes ta verdure ;
Printemps, hyver, le soin d’amour me dure.
 
Double tu es et simple. Quant à moy
J’ay simple cœur et j’ay simple la foy ;
Mais mes pensers et mes ennuis sont doubles
Selon les yeux et farouches et troubles
De ma maistresse, et mon soin est doublé
Si son œil est ou farouche ou troublé.
 
Quand le soleil, ton amoureux, s’abaisse
Dedans le sein de Tethys son hostesse,
Allant revoir le pere de la mer,
On voit ton chef se clorre et se fermer
Palle, défait ; mais quand sa tresse blonde
De longs cheveux s’esparpille sur l’onde
Se réveillant, tu t’éveilles joyeux,
Et pour le voir tu dessiles tes yeux,
Et sa clarté est seule ton envie,
Un seul soleil te donnant mort et vie.
 
Quand je ne voy les yeux de mon soleil,
De toutes parts un aggravé sommeil
Dessus le front des tenebres me donne,
Si qu’esblouy je ne cognois personne.
 
Mais aussi tost que ses rais dessus moy
Me font un jour, d’yeux et de cœur je voy
Mille beautez, tant sa gentille flame
En m’éclairant me reluit dans l’ame,
Et loin du corps dont je suis empesché,
Tient mon esprit aux astres attaché.
 
On dit, Souci, quand au bras on te lie,
Que tu guaris de la melancholie.
Or en cela nous sommes differens ;
Ce que je voy, tout triste je le rens
Ainsi que moy, tant il sort de tristesse
Hors de mes yeux pour ma rude maistresse,
Qui froide et lente, et morne en amitié
Mon pauvre cœur ne veut prendre à pitié,
Me consommant d’amour, tant elle est belle ;
Et je veux bien me consommer pour elle.
 
Adieu, Souci ! si Cherouvrier, passant
Par son jardin, voit ton chef florissant,
Qui toute fleur au temps d’hyver surpasse,
Que l’aube engendre et qu’une nuict efface,
Te voyant naistre aussi tost que fanir ;
Soir et matin fay-le-moy souvenir
Que nostre vie aux fleurettes ressemble,
Qui presque vit, et presque meurt ensemble ;
Et ce-pendant qu’il est en son printemps,
Vive amoureux et n’espargne le temps.
 
Si en naissant ce grand maistre qui donne
Heur et mal-heur à chacune personne,
M’avoit donné, mon Cherouvrier, ta vois
Dont tu flechis les peuples et les Rois,
Comme estant seul de France la merveille
Pour attirer une âme par l’aureille ;
Je chasserois la fiévre de mon corps
Par la douceur de mes divers accords.
 
En lieu d’avoir ta nombreuse musique,
J’ay l’autre ardeur, la verve poëtique,
Qui rompt ma fiévre et charme ma langueur,
Me fait gaillard et me tient en vigueur.
 
Doncq’ si j’avois ceste voix si divine,
Present du ciel, qui sort de ta poitrine,
Je chanterois ; mais ne pouvant chanter,
D’escrire en vers il me faut contenter.
The garden Marigold
 
To my lord Cherouvrier
An excellent musician
 
I shall sing, Cherouvrier, of the marigold
Which pleases you so, and pleases me too ;
Not the cares which grip our whole heart
But the flowery stars of a lawn,
Like suns in the garden, so yellow
Are they, shining gold on their brows.
 
The rose (em-purpling its thorns) takes
First place, because of Erycine
And the fair blood of Adonis which colours it ;
The carnation next, which forced Apollo
Play at the discus and made him kill
Without considering it the amorous Zephyr,
And was afterward a great god to the Spartans.
 
These two, marigold, have first place,
You the third, and indeed there is no flower,
Not the wallflower nor double-violet,
Broom nor jasmine more sweet-smelling than you ;
At least, marigold, that’s what I believe, true or not.
 
Whether my Lady had once given me
Your yellow tint, or whether my soul was inclined
To look at, smell and consider your flower,
Above all perfumes I esteem your odour ;
Never was a meal pleasing to me
Unless your bud flowered on the table,
Salad, bread and all the house
In the fairest months of the best season ;
Because my colour resembles yours, marigold,
You are, marigold, my brother, it seems.
 
You are all yellow, and I am all yellow
From too much love, nor can I wipe it away.
 
In Spring and Winter, you keep your freshness ;
In Spring and Winter, love’s cares linger in me.
 
Double you are and single too ; as for me,
I have a single heart and my faithfulness is single too ;
But my thoughts and cares are doubled
Because of the timid, troubled eyes
Of my mistress, and my care is doubled
If her eyes are either timid or troubled.
 
When the sun, your lover, sets
Within the breast of Tethys his hostess,
Going to see again the father of the sea,
We see your bloom close, lock itself away
Pale and undone ; but when his yellow locks
Scatter their long hair over the waves
As he awakes again, then you wake joyfully
And open your eyes to see him
And his brightness is your only desire,
The Sun alone bringing you death and life.
 
When I do not see the eyes of my own sun,
From every side a painful sleep
Gives me shadows on my brow,
So that, dazzled, I recognise no-one.
 
But as soon as her rays shine daylight
Upon me, with my eyes and heart I see
A thousand beauties, so much does her noble flame
Shining on me lighten again my soul,
And, far from the body with which I am weighted down,
Keeps my spirit bound to the stars.
 
They say, marigold, that when we tie you to our arm
You will cure melancholy.
Well, in that we are different :
Whatever I see, I make unhappy
Like I am myself, so much sadness flows
From my eyes for my harsh mistress,
Who – cold, slow and sad in loving –
Does not want to take pity on my poor heart,
Consuming me with love, so beautiful she is ;
And I’d willingly consume myself for her.
 
Farewell, marigold : if Cherouvrier passes
By your garden and sees your flowering head
Which surpasses all flowers in winter-time,
Which Dawn brings to birth and a single night extinguishes,
Seeing you born as quick as fading ;
Night and day remind him for me
That our life is like that of the flowers
Who virtually live and die at the same moment ;
And yet while he is in his springtime
Let him live, love, and not spare of his time.
 
If at birth that great Master who gives
Fortune and misfortune to each person
Had given me, my Cherouvrier, your voice
With which you sway peoples and Kings,
As if the sole wonder in France
Able to draw out the soul through the ears,
I would drive away the fever from my body
Through the sweetness of my varied harmonies.
 
Instead of having your many-faceted Music
I have that other passion, poetic inspiration,
Which breaks my fever and charms away my pining,
Makes me jolly and keeps me vigorous.
 
So, if I had your god-like voice,
Which emerges from your breast like a gift from heaven,
I would sing : but being unable to sing,
With writing in verse I must content myself.
 
Note that the variant of line 3 is placed by Blanchemain in a footnote and his ‘preferred’ text retains the same line 3 as in Marty-Laveaux. In mid-poem I find the text “dans l’ame” odd – it scans but only painfully, and the revised version (“dedans l’ame”) works so much more easily!

 
 
 

Ode retranch. 4

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O Pucelle plus tendre
Qu’un beau bouton vermeil
Que le rosier engendre
Au lever du soleil,
D’une part verdissant
De l’autre rougissant !
 
Plus fort que le lierre
Qui se gripe à l’entour
Du chesne aimé, qu’il serre
Enlassé de maint tour,
Courbant ses bras épars
Sus luy de toutes parts,
 
Serrez mon col, maistresse,
De vos deux bras pliez ;
D’un neud qui tienne et presse
Doucement me liez ;
Un baiser mutuel
Nous soit perpetuel.
 
Ny le temps, ny l’envie
D’autre amour desirer
Ne pourra point ma vie
De vos lèvres tirer ;
Ains serrez demourrons,
Et baisant nous mourrons.
 
En mesme an et mesme heure,
Et en mesme saison,
Irons voir la demeure
De la palle maison,
Et les champs ordonnez
Aux amans fortunez.
 
Amour par les fleurettes
Du printemps eternel
Voirra nos amourettes
Sous le bois maternel ;
Là nous sçaurons combien
Les amans ont de bien.
 
Le long des belles plaines
Et parmy les prez vers,
Les rives sonnent pleines
De maints accords divers ;
L’un joue, et l’autre au son
Danse d’une chanson.
 
Là le beau ciel décueuvre
Tousjours un front benin,
Sur les fleurs la couleuvre
Ne vomit son venin,
Et tousjours les oyseaux
Chantent sur les rameaux ;
 
Tousjours les vens y sonnent
Je ne sçay quoy de doux,
Et les lauriers y donnent
Tousjours ombrages moux ;
Tousjours les belles fleurs
Y gardent leurs couleurs.
 
Parmy le grand espace
De ce verger heureux,
Nous aurons tous deux place
Entre les amoureux,
Et comme eux sans soucy
Nous aimerons aussi.
 
Nulle amie ancienne
Ne se dépitera,
Quand de la place sienne
Pour nous deux s’ostera,
Non celles dont les yeux
Prirent le cœur des dieux.
O maid more tender
Than a fair crimson bud
To which the rosebush gives birth
At the rising of the sun,
Partly growing fresh and youthful,
Partly blushing redder!
 
Stronger than the ivy
Which climbs around
Its beloved oak, which it hugs
Wound in many a twist,
Curving its wide-spread arms
Above it on all sides,
 
Embrace my neck, mistress,
With your two bent arms;
In a knot which holds and squeezes
Sweetly bind me;
May our shared kiss
Be everlasting.
 
Neither time, nor the longing
To enjoy some other love
Can in any way pull my life
Back from your lips;
So let’s stay embracing
And we’ll die kissing.
 
In the same year, the same hour,
The same season,
We’ll go and see the dwellings
Of that pale house,
And the fields ordained
For happy lovers.
 
Love with the flowers
Of eternal springtime
Will see our love-dalliance
In our maternal woods;
There we shall discover how many
Good things lovers enjoy.
 
Along the fair plains
And among the green meadows,
The rivers play their music, full
Of many varied harmonies;
One plays, and the other
Dances to the sound of the song.
 
There the fair sky constantly
Shows a mild brow;
The grass-snake does not vomit
His venom on the flowers;
The birds are always
Singing in the branches;
 
The winds there are always making
Some sweet sound;
The laurels there always give
Their moist shade;
The beautiful flowers there always
Retain their colours.
 
Amid the great space
Of this happy orchard
We shall both take our place
Among the lovers,
And like them without a care
We too shall make love.
 
No ancient lover
Will be vexed
When from her spot
For us two she will remove herself,
Not even those whose eyes
Captured the hearts of the gods.

 

 
 
 
 
 

To his mistress (Odes 2:7)

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Cassandre ne donne pas
Des baisers, mais des appas
Qui seuls nourrissent mon ame,
Les biens dont les dieux sont fous,
Du nectar, du sucre dous,
De la cannelle et du bâme,
 
Du thym, du lis, de la rose
Parmy ses lévres desclose,
Fleurante en totes saisons,
Et du miel tel qu’en Hymette
La desrobe-fleur avette
Remplit ses douces maisons.
 
O dieux ! que j’ay de plaisir
Quand je sen mon col saisir
De ses bras en mainte sorte !
Sur moy se laissant courber,
Peu à peu la voy tomber
Dans mon sain à demi-morte ;
 
Puis, mettant la bouche sienne
Tout à plat dessus la mienne,
Me mord, et je la remors.
Je luy darde, elle me darde
Sa languette fretillarde ;
Puis en ses bras je m’endors.
 
D’un baiser doucement long,
Ell’ me suce l’ame adonc,
Puis en souflant la repousse,
La ressuce encore un coup,
La ressouffle tout à coup
Avec son haleine douce.
 
Tout ainsi les colombelles,
Tremoussant un peu des ailes,
Havement se vont baisant,
Après que l’oiseuse glace
A quitté la froide place
Au printemps doux et plaisant.
 
Helas ! mais tempere un peu
Les biens dont je suis repeu,
Tempere un peu ma liesse ;
Tu me ferois immortel.
Hé ! je ne veux estre tel
Si tu n’es aussi déesse.
Cassandre does not give
Kisses, but charms
Which alone nourish my soul –
The good things for which the gods are mad,
Nectar, sweet sugar,
Cinnamon and balm,
 
Thyme, lily, rose
Blooming on her lips,
Flowering in all seasons,
And honey like that with which on Hymettus
The flower-thieves, the bees,
Fills their sweet homes.
 
O gods ! what pleasure I get
When I feel my neck seized
By her arms so very often!
Letting herself curve on me
Little by little I see her fall
On my breast half-dead.
 
Then, placing her mouth
Flat on mine,
She bites me, and I bite back,
I nibble her and she my
Frisky tongue;
Then in her arms I fall asleep.
 
With a sweet long kiss
She sucks out my soul thus,
Then breathing out she pushes it back,
Sucks it out once again,
Breathes it back all at once
With her sweet breath.
 
Just so doves,
Fidgeting their wings a little,
Careworn, go on kissing
After the lazy ice
Has left its cold place
In sweet and pleasant spring.
 
Oh, moderate a little
The good things with which I am fed,
Moderate my happiness a little!
You will make me immortal –
But I don’t want to be
Unless you are also a goddess.

 

 

 
 
 
 

Chanson – Amours 2:67d

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Quand ce beau Printemps je voy,
     J’apperçois
Rajeunir la terre et l’onde
Et me semble que le jour,
     Et l’amour,
Comme enfans naissent au monde. 
 
Le jour qui plus beau se fait,
     Nous refait
Plus belle et verte la terre :
Et Amour armé de traits
     Et d’attraits,
En nos cœurs nous fait la guerre. 
 
Il respand de toutes parts
     Feux et dards
Et domte sous sa puissance
Hommes Bestes et Oiseaux,
     Et les eaux
Luy rendent obeïssance. 
 
Vénus avec son enfant
     Triomphant
Au haut de son Coche assise,
Laisse ses cygnes voler
     Parmy l’air
Pour aller voir son Anchise.  
 
Quelque part que ses beaux yeux
     Par les cieux
Tournent leurs lumieres belles,
L’air qui se monstre serein,
     Est tout plein
D’amoureuses estincelles. 
 
Puis en descendant à bas
     Sous ses pas
Naissent mille fleurs écloses :
Les beaux liz et les œillets
     Vermeillets
Rougissent entre les roses.  
 
Je sens en ce mois si beau
     Le flambeau
D’Amour qui m’eschauffe l’ame,
Y voyant de tous costez
     Les beautez
Qu’il emprunte de ma Dame. 
 
Quand je voy tant de couleurs
     Et de fleurs
Qui esmaillent un rivage,
Je pense voir le beau teint
     Qui est peint
Si vermeil en son visage. 
 
Quand je voy les grand rameaux
     Des ormeaux
Qui sont lassez de lierre,
Je pense estre pris és laz
     De ses bras,
Et que mon col elle serre.  
 
Quand j’entens la douce vois
     Par les bois
Du gay Rossignol qui chante,
D’elle je pense jouyr
     Et ouyr
Sa douce voix qui m’enchante. 
 
Quand je vois en quelque endroit
     Un Pin droit,
Ou quelque arbre qui s’esleve,
Je me laisse decevoir,
     Pensant voir
Sa belle taille et sa gréve. 
 
Quand je voy dans un jardin,
     Au matin
S’esclorre une fleur nouvelle,
J’accompare le bouton
     Au teton
De son beau sein qui pommelle. 
 
Quand le Soleil tout riant
     D’orient
Nous monstre sa blonde tresse,
Il me semble que je voy
     Davant moy
Lever ma belle maistresse. 
 
Quand je sens parmy les prez
     Diaprez
Les fleurs dont la terre est pleine,
Lors je fais croire à mes sens
     Que je sens  
La douceur de son haleine.
 
Bref je fais comparaison
     Par raison
Du Printemps et de m’amie :
Il donne aux fleurs la vigueur,
     Et mon cœur
D’elle prend vigueur et vie. 
 
Je voudrois au bruit de l’eau
     D’un ruisseau
Desplier ses tresses blondes,
Frizant en autant de nœus
     Ses cheveux
Que je verrois frizer d’ondes. 
 
Je voudrois pour la tenir,
     Devenir
Dieu de ces forests desertes,
La baisant autant de fois
     Qu’en un bois
Il y a de fueilles vertes. 
 
Hà maistresse mon soucy,
     Vien icy,
Vien contempler la verdure :
Les fleurs de mon amitié
     Ont pitié,
Et seule tu n’en as cure. 
 
Au moins leve un peu tes yeux
     Gracieux,
Et voy ces deux colombelles,
Qui font naturellement
     Doucement
L’amour du bec et des ailes : 
 
Et nous sous ombre d’honneur,
     Le bon heur
Trahissons par une crainte :
Les oiseaux sont plus heureux
     Amoureux,
Qui font l’amour sans contrainte. 
 
Toutesfois ne perdons pas
     Nos esbats
Pour ces loix tant rigoureuses :
Mais si tu m’en crois vivons,
     Et suivons
Les colombes amoureuses.
 
Pour effacer mon esmoy,
     Baise moy,
Rebaise moy ma Deesse :
Ne laissons passer en vain
     Si soudain
Les ans de notre jeunesse.
When I see the fair Springtime
I recognise
Earth and sea renewing their youth
And it seems to me that Day
And Love
Like children are born into the world.
 
Day which makes itself lovelier,
Makes the earth again
Lovelier and greener for us,
And Love armed with charms
And harms
Makes war on us in our hearts.
 
He looses in all directions
His fiery darts
And overcomes with his power
Men, beasts and birds,
And even the waters
Give him obedience.
 
Venus with her
Triumphant son
Sitting up high on her couch
Sets her swans flying
Through the air
To go and see her Anchises.
 
Wherever her lovely eyes
Around the heavens
Turn their fair light,
The air, remaining calm,
Is filled
With sparks of love.
 
Then coming down low
Under her feet
A thousand flowers blooming are born;
Fair lilies and bright red
Carnations
Redden among the roses.
 
In this month so lovely, I feel
The flame
Of Love warming my soul,
Seeing there on all sides
The beauties
Which it has borrowed from my Lady.
 
When I see so many colours
And flowers
Studding a riverbank,
I imagine I see the fair colour
Which paints
Her complexion so pink.
 
When I see the great branches
Of the elms
Which are laced with ivy,
I imagine being taken into the lakes
Of her arms
And her supporting my neck.
 
When I hear the soft voice
Of the happy nightingale
Singing in the woods,
I imagine enjoying her
And hearing
Her soft voice which enchants me.
 
When I see in some place
A tall pine
Or some other tree growing tall
I allow myself to be deceived
And imagine I see
Her lovely shape and size.
 
When I see in a garden
In the morning
A new flower opening,
I compare its bud
With the nipple
Of her fair breast, swelling.
 
When the sun, smiling
In the east,
Shows us his golden tresses,
I imagine I see
Before me
My fair mistress arising.
 
When I spy the meadows
Dotted
With the flowers which fill the earth,
Ah then I make my senses believe
That I feel
The softness of her breath.
 
In short, I make the comparison,
With good reason
Of Springtime with my beloved;
One gives the flowers their new strength,
And my heart
Takes from the other its strength and life.
 
I’d like, to the sound of the water
Of some stream
To untie her blonde tresses
Curling her hair into
So many knots
That I’d see waves curling.
 
I’d like, so I could hold her,
To become
God of these empty forests,
Kissing her as many times
As there are
Green leaves in a wood.
 
Ah, my mistress, my desire,
Come here
Come and consider the greensward;
The flowers take pity
On my love
And only you care not.
 
At least lift your gracious eyes
A little
And see these two doves
Who quite naturally
And sweetly
Make love with beak and wings.
 
And we, beneath the shade of honour
Betray
Our happiness through fear:
The birds are luckier
Lovers
Who make love without constraint.
 
Still, let us not give up
Our frolics
For these too restrictive laws;
But if you trust me, let’s live
Let’s copy
The amorous doves.
 
To sweep away my anguish
Kiss me
Kiss me again, my goddess!
Don’t let them go by empty
And quickly,
These years of our youth!
 
 One of Ronsard’s most famous poems – and deservedly so.
 
We met Venus & Anchises recently; also Zephyr the warm west wind.
 
Perhaps surprisingly there are no many variants between versions; though he did remove stanzas here and there as he revised. So in Blanchemain’s version, after the 6th stanza (just before “Je sens en ce mois si beau”) there is an extra stanza:
 
Celuy vrayment est de fer
   Qu’eschaufer
Ne peut sa beauté divine,
Et en lieu d’humaine chair
   Un rocher
Porte au fond de la poitrine
 
 
                                                          He indeed is made of iron
                                                             Whom her divine
                                                          Beauty cannot set afire,
                                                          And in place of human flesh
                                                             A rock
                                                          He carries deep in his breast.
 
 
Then, 4 stanzas later, just before the tall pine:
 
Quand Zephyre meine un bruit
   Qui se suit
Au travers d’une ramée,
Des propos il me souvient
   Que me tient
Seule à seul ma bien aimée.
 
 
                                                          When Zephyr’s sound
                                                             Chases itself
                                                          Through the branches,
                                                          I recall her words
                                                             Which keep me
                                                          Alone with my beloved alone.
 
 
Additionally there are a few minor changes:  in the 3rd stanza Love looses “Feu et dards” (‘His fiery darts’) in the 2nd line; 3 stanzas later, beneath her feet “Croissent mille fleurs écloses” (‘Grow a thousand flowers blooming’); and just before Zephyr (above) he hears the soft voice “Du beau rossignol” (‘Of the fair nightingale’) in the woods.
 
Incidentally, I love the way (in the middle of the poem) he bends the word ‘tetin’ into ‘teton’ to rhyme with ’bouton’, and makes it sound like a form of endearment at the same time!