Monday, February 06, 2012


With Bacchus and Silenus

A poem (after Anacreon) by Pierre de Ronsard, translated by D.B. Wyndham Lewis in his biography Ronsard (London: Sheed & Ward, 1944), p. 48, n. 1:
For the Grand Turk I care nothing,
Nor for the Emperor either;
Gold does not enslave my life,
I bear no envy to kings;

My one and only care
Is to anoint my hair with perfume,
My concern is that a crown
Of flowers surrounds my head;

To-day's cares suffice me,
For to-morrow's I have no thought—
And who is able to foretell
Whether there be a to-morrow?

Vulcan, make me with your fine art
A deep goblet of silver
And with all your skill
Hollow its belly large

But do not grave around it
A sequence of stars,
Nor the celestial Chariot,
Nor troublesome Orion,

But a flourishing vine,
A smiling vine, laden
With bursting bunches,
With Bacchus and Silenus!
The French (id., pp. 47-48):
Du Grand Turc je n'ay soucy,
  Ny de l'Empereur aussi:
L'or n'attire point ma vie,
  Au Roys je ne porte envie:

J'ay soucy tant seulement
  D'oindre mon poil d'oignement,
J'ay soucy qu'une couronne
  De fleurs ma teste environne,

Le soin de ce jour me point,
  Du demain, je n'en ay point,
Et qui sçauroit bien cognoistre
  Si un lendemain doit estre?

Vulcan, fay moi d'un art gent
  Un creux gobelet d'argent,
Et de toute ta puissance
  Large creuse-luy la panse,

Et ne fay non point autour
  Des estoilles le retour,
Ny la Charrette celeste,
  Ny cet Orion moleste,

Mais bien un vignoble verd,
  Mais un cep riant, couvert
D'une grappe toute pleine
  Avec Bacchus et Silène!

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