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

Nous ne tenons en notre main
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Nous ne tenons en notre main 
Le temps futur du lendemain; 
La vie n'a point d'assurance, 
Et pendant que nous désirons 
La faveur des Rois, nous mourons 
Au milieu de notre espérance. 

L'homme après son dernier trépas 
Plus ne boit ni mange là-bas, 
Et sa grange qu'il a laissée 
Pleine de blé devant sa fin 
Et sa cave pleine de vin 
Ne lui viennent plus en pensée. 

Hé, quel gain apporte l'émoi? 
Va, Corydon, apprête-moi 
Un lit de roses épanchées; 
Il me plaît, pour me défâcher, 
A la renverse me coucher 
Entre les pots et les jonchées.
 
Fais-moi venir Dorat ici, 
Fais-y venir Jodelle aussi, 
Et toute la Musine troupe; 
Depuis le soir jusqu'au matin, 
Je veux leur donner un festin 
Et cent fois leur pendre la coupe. 

Verse donc, et reverse encor 
Dedans cette grand'coupe d'or, 
Je vais boire à Henry Estienne, 
Qui des enfers nous a rendu 
Du vieil Anacréon perdu 
La douce lyre Téienne. 

A toi, gentil Anacréon, 
Doit son plaisir le biberon, 
Et Bacchus te doit ses bouteilles; 
Amour son compagnon te doit 
Vénus, et Silène qui boit 
L'été dessous l'ombre des treilles. 

J. Leguerney sets stanzas 1-2

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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: "We do not hold in our hands", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 36
Word count: 187

We do not hold in our hands
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
We do not hold in our hands
What the future holds for tomorrow;
Life gives us no assurances
And while we seek
The favour of kings, we die
In the midst of our hopes.

Man after his eventual death
No longer drinks or eats in the Beyond,
And his barn which he left
Full of corn before his end
And his cellar full of wine
No longer come to his mind.

Ah, what gain does worry bring?
Go, Corydon, prepare me
A bed strewn with roses;
It pleases me to relax
To lie down on my back
Among the strewings and chaff.

Send Dorat to me here
And send Jodelle too
And the whole troop of locals;
From evening through till morning
I'd like to give them a feast 
And offer them the cup a hundred times.

Pour then, and pour again
Within this great cup of gold
I shall drink to Henry Estienne1
Who has returned to us from Hades
The sweet lyre of Teos
Lost by old Anacreon2.

To you, noble Anacreon,
The drinker owes his pleasure
And Bacchus owes you his bottles;
Venus owes you Love, her companion,
And Silenus who drinks
All summer under the shade of the vine-arbour.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 French publisher and scholar, edited and issued many Greek texts in print for the first time
2 Greek lyric poet, born in Teos, whose style Ronsard imitated

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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This text was added to the website: 2012-06-23
Line count: 36
Word count: 203