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

Je voudrois estre Ixion et Tantale
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Je voudrois estre Ixion et Tantale,
Dessus la rouë et dans les eaux là bas,
[Et nu à nu]1 presser entre mes bras
Ceste beauté qui les anges égale.

S'ainsi estoit, toute peine fatale
Me seroit [douce]2 et ne me chaudroit pas,
Non, d'un vautour fussé-je le repas,
Non, qui le roc remonte et redevale.

Luy tastonner seulement le tetin,
[Ce seul plaisir changeroit]3 mon destin
Au sort meilleur des princes de l'Asie :

Un demy-dieu me feroit son baiser,
Et flanc à flanc [mon feu desembraser]4,
Un [de ceux-là]5 qui mangent l'ambroisie.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Oeuvres complètes de P. de Ronsard, Nouvelle Édition, Tome I, Paris, Chez P. Jannet, 1857, pages 26-27.

1 Maletty: "Et quelquefois"
2 Maletty: "doux"
3 Maletty: "Et changeroit l'obscur de"; Bertrand: "A descouvert, changeroit"
4 Bertrand, Maletty: "entre ses bras m'aiser"
5 Bertrand: "des grands Dieux"


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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (David Wyatt) , copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , David Wyatt

This text was added to the website: 2010-03-23
Line count: 14
Word count: 93

I'd be Ixion and Tantalus
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
I'd be Ixion and Tantalus
On the wheel or in the waters of the Beyond1
To hold [naked]2 in my arms
This beauty who equals the angels.

If it were so, every deadly pain
Would be sweet to me and wouldn't bother me
No, I'd even be a vulture's meal3
Even if he climbed the rock again and re-ate me.

Just to nibble [a nipple, 
Could change the uncertainty of]4 my destiny
To a fate better than that of the princes of Asia

Her kiss would make me a demi-god
And [to lie at ease between her arms, side by side]5,
[Would make me one of the gods]6 who feed on ambrosia.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Translator's note: in Greek myth, Ixion was broken on a wheel in Hades every day; and Tantalus forever kept tied in a lake with food and drink just out of reach -- 'tantalisingly' close as we say.
2 Maletty: "something"
3 Prometheus had his liver ripped out every day by a vulture (or eagle) and it grew back overnight.
4 Bertrand: "an exposed/ Nipple would change"; Maletty: "a nipple, too,/ Could change the uncertainty of"
5 Bertrand: "to douse my flame in hers"
6 Bertrand: "Would make me one of the great gods"; Maletty: "Would make me one of those above"


  • 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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This text was added to the website: 2012-06-06
Line count: 14
Word count: 112