Monday, August 24, 2015


I'd Rather Be a Pagan Suckled in a Creed Outworn

Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585), "Remonstrance to the People of France," lines 57-68, 79-84 (tr. Malcolm Quainton and Elizabeth Vinestock, slightly altered):
Indeed, if I did not have an unshakeable faith,
which God has placed in me by the grace of his spirit,
seeing that Christianity is no longer anything but a laughing stock,
I would be ashamed at having had my head baptized;        60
I would repent of having been a Christian,
and I would become a Pagan like the first men.

At night I would worship the rays of the Moon,
in the morning the Sun, the universal light,
the eye of the world, and if God has eyes in his head,        65
the rays of the Sun are his radiant beams,
which give life to all, which preserve and keep us,
and watch over the deeds of humans in this world.


I would worship Ceres, who brings us corn,
and Bacchus, who fortifies the hearts of men,        80
Neptune the abode of winds and vessels,
Fauns and Pans and water Nymphs,
and the earth, haven for all creatures,
and those gods who are fabled to be the ministers of nature.

Certes si je n'avois une certaine foy
Que Dieu par son esprit de grace a mise en moy,
Voyant la Chrestienté n'estre plus que risée,
J’aurois honte d’avoir la teste baptisée:        60
Je me repentirois d'avoir esté Chrestien,
Et comme les premiers je deviendrois Payen.

La nuict j'adorerois les rayons de la Lune,
Au matin le Soleil la lumière commune,
L'oeil du monde, et si Dieu au chef porte des yeux,        65
Les rayons du Soleil sont les siens radieux,
Qui donnent vie à tous, nous conservent et gardent,
Et les faits des humains en ce monde regardent.


J'adorerois Cerés qui les bleds nous apporte,
Et Bacchus qui le coeur des hommes reconforte,        80
Neptune le sejour des vents et des vaisseaux,
Les Faunes et les Pans et les Nymphes des eaux,
Et la Terre hospital de toute creature,
Et ces Dieux que l’on feint ministres de Nature.

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