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

Je lamente sans réconfort
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Je [lamente]1 sans réconfort,
Me souvenant de cette mort
Qui déroba ma douce vie;
Pensant en ses yeux qui soulaient
Faire de moi ce qu'ils voulaient,
De vivre je n'ai plus d'envie...
[Quand son âme au corps s'attachait,
Rien, tant fût dur, ne me fâchait,
Ni destin, ni rude influence ;
Menaces, embûches, dangers,
Villes et peuples étrangers
M'étaient doux pour sa souvenance.
En quelque part que je vivais,
Toujours en mes yeux je l'avais,
Transformé du tout en la belle ;
Si bien Amour à coups de trait
Au cœur m'engrava son portrait,
Que mon tout n'était sinon qu'elle.
Espérant lui conter un jour
L'impatience de l'Amour
Qui m'a fait des peines sans nombre,
La mort soudaine m'a déçu ;
Pour le vrai le faux j'ai reçu
Et pour le corps seulement l'ombre.
Ciel, que tu es malicieux !
Qui eût pensé que ces beaux yeux
Qui me faisaient si douce guerre,
Ces mains, cette bouche et ce front
Qui prirent mon cœur, et qui l'ont,
Ne fussent maintenant que terre?
Hélas! où est ce doux parler,
Ce voir, cet ouïr, cet aller,
Ce ris qui me faisait apprendre
Que c'est qu'aimer? Ah, doux refus !
Ah, doux dédains! vous n'êtes plus,
Vous n'êtes plus qu'un peu de cendre.]2
Hélas! où est cette beauté,
Ce Printemps, cette nouveauté,
Qui n'aura jamais de seconde ?
Du ciel tous les dons elle avait ;
Aussi parfaite ne devait
Longtemps demeurer en ce monde...
[Si je n'eusse eu l'esprit chargé
De vaine erreur, prenant congé
De sa belle et vive figure,
Oyant sa voix, qui sonnait mieux
Que de coutume, et ses beaux yeux
Qui reluisaient outre mesure,
Et son soupir qui m'embrasait,
J'eusse bien vu qu'ell' me disait :
"Or' saoule-toi de mon visage,
Si jamais tu en eus souci ;
Tu ne me verras plus ici,
Je m'en vais faire un long voyage.
" J'eusse amassé de ses regards
Un magasin de toutes parts,
Pour nourrir mon âme étonnée
Et paître longtemps ma douleur ;
Mais onques mon cruel malheur
Ne sut prévoir ma destinée.
Depuis j'ai vécu de souci,
Et de regret qui m'a transi,
Comblé de passions étranges.
Je ne déguise mes ennuis ;
Tu vois l'état auquel je suis,
Du ciel assise entre les anges.
Ah! belle âme, tu es là-haut
Auprès du bien qui point ne faut,
De rien du monde désireuse,
En liberté, moi en prison;
Encore n'est-ce pas raison
Que seule tu sois bienheureuse.
Le sort doit toujours être égal ;
Si j'ai pour toi souffert du mal,
Tu me dois part de ta lumière ;
Mais, franche du mortel lien,
Tu as seule emporté le bien,
Ne me laissant que la misère.
En ton âge le plus gaillard
Tu as seul laissé ton Ronsard,
Dans le ciel trop tôt retournée,
Perdant beauté, grâce et couleur,
Tout ainsi qu'une belle fleur
Qui ne vit qu'une matinée...
A la Mort j'aurai mon recours :
La Mort me sera mon secours,
Comme le but que je désire.
Dessus la Mort tu ne peux rien,
Puisqu'elle a dérobé ton bien,
Qui fut l'honneur de ton empire.]2
Soit que tu vives près de Dieu
Ou aux champs [Elysés]3, adieu !
Adieu cent fois, adieu, Marie !
[Jamais Ronsard]4 ne t'oubliera,
Jamais la mort ne déliera
Le nœud [dont]5 la beauté me lie.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Leguerney: "me lamente"
2 omitted by Leguerney
3 misspelled in Leguerney's Salabert edition as "Élysées"
4 Leguerney: "Ronsard jamais"
5 Leguerney: "où"

Authorship

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

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (David Wyatt) , title 1: "I lament", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
I lament
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
I lament with no comfort
Recalling the death of this lady
Which has stolen the sweetness of my life;
Thinking of her eyes which used 
To make of me whatever they wanted
I no longer wish to live.
When her soul was attached to her body
Nothing  however hard could upset me
Not fate nor rough authority.
Threats, ambushes, dangers
Strange towns and peoples
Were sweet to me because of her memory.
Wherever I was living
I always had her before my eyes
Transformed entirely into beauty.
So kind Love with his arrow-shots
Engraved her portrait in my heart.
So that I was not complete except with her.
Hoping to tell her one day
Of the impatience of Love
Who had given me pains without number
Sudden death forestalled me.
Instead of the true, the false I received
And instead of herself, just her shade.
Heaven, how malicious you are!
Who would have thought that those lovely eyes
Which made such sweet battle with me
Those hands, those lips and that brow
Which stole my heart, and which have it still
Were now no more than earth?
Alas, where is that sweet way of talking,
Of seeing, of listening, of walking,
That smile which made me learn
What it is to love? Ah, sweet refusal!
Ah, sweet disdain! You are no more, 
You are no more than a little dust.
Alas, where is that beauty,
That spring, that newness
Which shall never have an equal?
She had all heaven's gifts,
So perfect a being could never
Have lived long in this world.
If I hadn't had my spirit filled 
With vain error, taking leave
Of her lovely form,
Hearing her voice which rang out better
Than it used, and her lovely eyes
Which lit up beyond measure
And her sighs which set me afire
I would have seen what she was saying to me:
"Look, get drunk on my appearance
If ever you are saddened;
You will not see me here again
I am going to make a long voyage."
I would have amassed a warehouse filled
From everywhere with her glances
To feed my stunned soul
And allow my sadness long to graze.
But, see, my cruel fortune
Was unable to foresee my fate.
Since then I've lived on anxiety
And regret which have paralysed me
Filled with strange passions.
I do not conceal my pain,
You see the state I'm in
From heaven, seated among the angels.
Ah sweet soul, you are up there
Beside the good which needs nothing
Desires nothing from the world,
In liberty while I am in prison.
Still, it is not right
That only you should be happy.
Fate must always be fair;
If I have suffered ills for you
You owe me part of your light.
But, freed of your mortal bonds
You alone have taken the good
Leaving me nothing but wretchedness.
While you were alive, I was the liveliest of men;
But you have left your Ronsard  alone,
Returned too soon to heaven
Losing beauty, grace and colour
Just like a beautiful flower
Which lives but a morning.
To Death will I have recourse,
Death will be my helper
The goal that I seek;
Over Death you have no power
For he has stolen your goodness
Which was the ornament of your reign.
Whether you live near to God
Or in the Elysian Fields, farewell!
Farewell a hundred times, farewell Marie!
Never shall Ronsard forget you
Never shall death loose
The knot in which your beauty binds me.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2012 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.
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