Tuesday, October 11, 2011


An Ode by Ronsard

John Jay Chapman, Song after Ronsard:
Sink the wine within the spring,
  And cool it deep and long:
Send Jeanne to me, and let her bring
  Her lute, to chant a song.
Three shall dance and one shall sing,
  Call Barbe, that in the whirl
Her heavy tresses she may fling
  Like a mad Tuscan girl.

See! the sun has dipped his head,
  We may not live till morning;
Fill my cup, boy, till the bead
  Run over with no warning.
Curse the dolt that slaves to get,
  Curse doctor and divine;
My wits were never sober yet
  Till they were washed with wine!
Ronsard, Odes 2.10:
Fay refraischir mon vin de sorte
Qu'il passe en froideur un glaçon:
Fay venir Janne, qu'elle apporte
Son luth pour dire une chanson:
Nous ballerons tous trois au son:
Et dy à Barbe qu'elle vienne,
Les cheveux tors à la façon
D'une folastre Italienne.

Ne vois-tu que le jour se passe?
Je ne vy point au lendemain:
Page, reverse dans ma tasse,
Que ce grand verre soit tout plain:
Maudit soit qui languit en vain:
Ces vieux medecins je n'appreuve:
Mon cerveau n'est jamais bien sain,
Si beaucoup de vin ne l'abreuve.
The same, tr. Norman R. Shapiro:
Come here and chill my wine, my friend;
For colder would I have it be
Than ice. Then straightway go and send
For damsel Jeanne, and tell her she
Should bring her lute; then shall we three
Dance to her tune; and have Barbe come
As well, braids twisted fetchingly,
Like lass Italian, frolicsome.

Can you not see how fast today
Dies with tomorrow, and flies on?
Page, come and fill my goblet, pray,
Full to the brim! A curse upon
Those who but languish—now, anon—
In vain; and graybeard Doctors too!
My brain grows weak; my spirit, wan,
Without my wine, gone all askew.
The same, tr. Stanley Appelbaum:
Have my wine chilled so that
It surpasses an icicle in coldness;
Have Joan come, let her bring
Her lute to perform a song:
We shall all three dance to her playing.
And tell Barbara to come,
Her hair twisted in the style
The madcap Italian girls wear.

Can't you see that the day is passing?
I don't live for tomorrow.
Page, replenish the wine in my cup,
Let this tall glass be full to the brim.
Curse the man who languishes in vain;
I don't agree with these old Physicians:
My brain is never fully sound
Until it is flooded with much wine.
Cf. Horace, Odes 3.14.17-22 (tr. Niall Rudd):
Go, my boy, and look for scented ointment and a jar that remembers the Marsian War, if there is anywhere a crock that has managed to elude the marauding Spartacus. And tell the clear-voiced Neaera to hurry up, tying a band around her myrrh-scented hair.

i, pete unguentum, puer, et coronas
et cadum Marsi memorem duelli,
Spartacum si qua potuit vagantem
            fallere testa.
dic et argutae properet Neaerae
murreum nodo cohibere crinem.

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