by Pierre de Ronsard (1524 - 1585)
Translation © by David Wyatt

À Simon Nicolas, Secretaire du Roy
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Nicolas, faisons bonne chère
Tandis qu'en avons le loisir;
Trompon le soin et la misère,
Ennemis de nostre plaisir.

Purgeon l'humeur qui nous enflame
D'avarice et d'ambition;
Ayon, philosophes, une ame
Toute franche de passion.

Chasson le soin, chasson la peme,
Contenton-nous de nostre rien :
Quand nostre ame sera bien saine
Tout le corps se portera bien.

Une ame de biens affamée
Obscurcit tousjours la raison :
Il ne faut qu'un peu de fumée
Pour noircir toute la maison.

Faire conqueste sur conqueste
De biens amassez sans propos,
Ce n'est que nous rompre la teste,
Et ne trouver jamais repos.

J'ay raclé de ma fantasie
Le monde au visage éhonté,
Pour vaquer à la poésie
Quand j'en auray la volonté.

Voilà le bien que je désire,
Sans plus en vain me tourmenter:
Désormais sera mon empire
Que savoir bien me contenter (û).

Quand ta fièvre (dont la mémoire
Me fait encores frissonner)
Ne t'auroit appris qu'à bien boire,
Tu ne la dois abandonner.

A toutes les fois que l'envie
Te prendra de boire, reboy;
Boy souvent, aussi bien la vie
N'est pas plus longue que le doy.

C'est un grand bien d'estre hydropique
Et d'eau s'enfler la ronde peau :
Des elemens le plus antique
Et le meilleur, n'est-ce pas l'eau?

Non seulement la maladie
Qui nous surprend par ses efforts
Ne rend nostre masse estourdie,
Enervant les forces du corps,

Mais elle trouble la cervelle.
Et l'esprit qui nous vient des cieux :
Il n'y a part qui ne chancelle,
Quand les hommes deviennent vieux.

Puis la mort vient, la vieille escarce;
Alors un chacun se repent
Que mieux il n'a joué sa farce;
Mais bon-temps, à Dieu t'y command'.

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

    [ None yet in the database ]

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in French (Français), [adaptation] ; composed by Théodore Gouvy.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (David Wyatt) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Vinzenz Haab
Nicolas, let's make good cheer
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Nicolas, let's make good cheer
While we still have the time ;
Outwit care and misery,
The enemies of our pleasure.

Sweep away the ill-humour which inflames us
With avarice and ambition;
Have, like philosophers, a soul
Entirely free of passion.

Chase away care, chase away troubles,
Content ourselves with the nothing we have;
When our soul is pure
The whole body will be well.

A soul hungry for possessions
Always clouds the reason;
Just a little smoke is needed 
To make the whole house dark.

Making conquest after conquest,
Amassing possessions without purpose,
It's nothing but wearing yourself out
And never finding rest.

I've scraped from my imagination
The world with its shameless face,
To focus on poetry
Whenever I want.

That's the possession I desire
Without vainly troubling myself about more;
In future my empire will be
That which can readily satisfy me. 

Since your [the] fever (the memory of which
Still makes me shiver)
Would have taught you only to drink well,
You should not give it up.

On every occasion when the desire
To drink takes you, drink again!
Drink often, and then life
Is no longer than a finger.

It's a great benefit to have dropsy
And for your smooth skin to swell with water;
The most ancient and best
Of the elements, surely, is water!

Not only does the illness
Which catches us unawares, by its efforts
Wear down the stuff of which we're made,
Weakening the strength of the body,

But it also troubles the brain,
And the spirit which comes to us from the heavens;
There is no part which does not totter
When men become old.

Then comes death, the old miser;
And so each of us is sorry
That he did not play out the farce better ;
But enjoy yourself, and commend yourself to God. 

About the headline (FAQ)

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2014 by David Wyatt, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.
    Contact: 

Based on