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

Las ! je n'eusse jamais pensé
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Las ! je [n'eusse]1 jamais pensé,
Dame qui causes ma langueur,
De voir ainsi recompensé
Mon service d'une rigueur,
Et [qu'en]2 lieu de me secourir
Ta cruauté m'eust fait mourir.

Si, [bien accort]3, j'eusse apperceu,
Quand je te vy premierement
Le mal que [j'ay depuis]4 recue
Pour [aimer]5 trop loyalement,
Mon cœur, qui franc avoit vescu,
N'eust pas esté [si tost]6 vaincu.

Mais tu fis promettre à tes yeux,
Qui seuls me vindrent decevoir,
De me donner encore mieux
Que mon cœur n'esperoit avoir ;
Puis, comme jaloux de mon bien,
Ont transformé mon aise en rien.

Si tost que je vis leur beauté,
Amour me força d'un desir
D'assujettir ma [loyauté]7
Sous l'empire de leur plaisir,
[Et]8 decocha de leur regard
Contre mon cœur le premier dard.

Ce fut, Dame, ton bel accueil
Qui, pour me faire bien-heureux,
M'ouvrit par la clef de ton œil
Le paradis des amoureux,
Et, fait esclave en si beau lieu,
D'un home je devins un dieu.

Si bien que, n'estant plus à moy,
Mais à l'œil qui m'avoit blesse,
Mon cœur en gage de ma foy
A mon vainqueur j'ai delaissé,
Où serf si doucement il est
Qu'autre liberté [luy desplaist]9 ;

Et, bien qu'il souffre jours et nuits
Mainte amoureuse adversité,
Le plus cruel de ses ennuis
Luy semble une felicité,
Et ne sçauroit jamais vouloir
Qu'un autre œil le face douloir.

Un grand rocher qui a le doz
Et les pieds tousjours outragez,
Ores des vents, ores des flots,
Contre les rives enragez,
N'est point si ferme que mon cœur
Sous l'orage d'une rigueur :

Car luy, de plus en plus aimant
Les beaux yeux qui l'ont en-reté,
Semble du tout au diamant,
Qui, pour garder sa fermeté,
Se rompt plustost sous le marteau
Que se voir tailler de nouveau.

Ainsi ne l'or qui peut tenter,
Ny grace, beauté, ny maintien,
Ne sçauroit dans mon cœur enter [entrer?]
Un autre portrait que le tien,
Et plustost il mourroit d'ennuy,
Que d'en souffrir un autre en luy.

Il ne faut donc, pour empescher
Qu'une autre dame en ait sa part,
L'environner d'un grand rocher,
Ou d'une fosse, ou d'un rampart :
Amour te l'a si bien conquis,
Que plus il ne peut estre acquis.

Chanson, les estoilles seront
La nuict sans les cieux allumer,
Et plustost les vents cesseront
De tempester dessus la mer,
Que de ses yeux la cruauté
Puisse amoindrir ma loyauté.

J. Castro sets stanzas 1-2
J. Chardavoine sets stanzas 1-7, 12
G. Costeley sets stanzas 1-2
F. Caietain sets stanzas 1-7

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Tiersot: "n'aurais"; further changes may exist not shown above.
2 Chardavoine: "qu'au"
3 Costeley: "fortuné"
4 Costeley: "depuis j'ay"
5 Chardavoine, la Grotte: "t'aimer"
6 Chardavoine: "ainsi"
7 la Grotte: "liberté"
8 Chardavoine: "Lors"
9 la Grotte: "ne luy plaist"

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: "Alas, I would never have thought", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: David Wyatt

Text added to the website: 2012-07-25 00:00:00
Last modified: 2016-03-06 18:21:42
Line count: 72
Word count: 402

Alas, I would never have thought
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Alas, I would never have thought
O Lady who cause my pining,
To see my service recompensed in this way
With severity,
So that instead of helping me 
Your cruelty has made me die.

If, [all lively]1, I had perceived
When first I saw you
The ill that I have since received
From loving too loyally,
My heart, which has lived openly,
Would not have been so quickly overcome.

But you made a promise with your eyes,
Which by themselves had just deceived me,
To give me still better
Than my heart could have hoped to have;
Then, as if jealous of my fortune,
They transformed my pleasure into nothing.

As soon as I saw their beauty,
Love forced me through desire
To subject my [loyalty]2
To do what their pleasure demanded,
[And]3 he [Love] shot with that look
His first dart into my heart.

It was, my lady, your fair welcome
Which, to make me fortunate,
Opened for me, with the key of your eye,
The paradise of lovers;
Made a slave in so fine a place,
From being a man I became a god.

So much so that, no longer being mine
But belonging to the eye which wounded it
My heart I left as pledge 
Of my fidelity to my conqueror,
Where it is so gently in bondage
That any other freedom would [displease]4 it;

And although it suffers day and night
Many a lover's setback,
The most cruel of its trials
Seems to it bliss,
And it could never wish
For another's eye to make it unhappy.

A great rock, which has its back
And feet always exposed 
Now to the winds, now to the waves
Crashing against the banks,
Is in no way so firm as my heart
Under the storm of your harshness :

For as it loves more and more
Those fair eyes which have netted it,
It seems in every way [like] a diamond,
Which to preserve its firmness
Would rather be broken under the hammer
Than see itself shaped anew.

Just so, gold cannot tempt it
Nor grace, beauty or bearing;
These cannot put into my heart
Any other portrait than your own,
And it would rather die of its pain
Than suffer another's [to be put] in it.

It isn't necessary, to stop
Another lady having part of it, 
To fence it round with a great rock
Or a moat or a rampart :
Love has conquered it so thoroughly for you
That it cannot be won again.

My song, the stars will
Light the night without the heavens,
And the winds will stop
Storming over the sea, quicker
Than the cruelty of your eyes
Can lessen my loyalty.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Costeley: "more luckily"
2 la Grotte: "freedom"
3 Chardavoine: "Then"
4 la Grotte: "not please"

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.
    Contact: 

Based on

 

Text added to the website: 2012-07-25 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-10-29 10:45:04
Line count: 72
Word count: 449