John Payne.

Flowers of France: the renaissance period, from Ronsard to Saint-Amant, representative poems of the sixteenth century; online

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F J o w e r s

of Fr^-i n ce

The Renaissance Period



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Now ready.

Flowers of France: THE ROMANTIC PERIOD:
Hugo to Leconte de Lisle : Representative Poems
of the Nineteenth Century: Rendered into English
verse in accordance with the original forms: By
John Payne: Two Volumes: Uniform with the
present work. Particulars on application to the
Hon. Sec, Alfred Forman, Esq, 49 Comeragh Road,
West Kensington, W.

In the press:

1. DAYS AND Nights: a | ^^^ ^^j^j^^^ p^^^^

Song-Sequence. ^ j^^^ p^^NE.

2. Songs of the Morrow. )


(All rights reserved).





E^ ?3 1



Canticle 3


1. A Complaint of a Lover's Life 9

2. Sonnet to Sleep 12

3. Sextine „

Pierre de Ronsard.

1. Love and Spring 17

2. Upon the Destruction of the Forest of Gastine. ... 21

3. Sonnets 23

4. Song for Helene 25

5. The Rose 27

6. The Skylark 28

7. Odelette 29

8. Welcome to May 30

9. To the llawthorn-Tree 31

10. Of the Choice of his Burial-Place 32

11. Of Growing Old 36

12. Farewell to the World 37

13. Adieu to Life 38

Joachim du Bellay.

1. Sonnets 43

2. The Winnower to the Winds 46

3. Of the Inconstancy of Things Mundane 47

4. New Year's Day 49

5. Of the Return of the Spring 50

6. In Praise of his Native Land 5*

7. Of Poets' Immortality 52

8. Pars Poetae 54

Jacques Tahureau.'

Sonnet 59




1. April 63

2. Sonnets 66

3. Love and Money 68

4. The Grasshopper n

5. Spring's Advent 69

6. Wine and Rhetoric 7°

7. To the Swallow 7^

8. In Praise of Wine »

9. Of Living Gaily 73

10. Wealth and Death »

11. Drinking Song 74

12. Canzonet 75

13. The Vintage 76

14. With a Bouquet on Ash Wednesday 77

Olivier de Magny.

1. Love and Content 81

2. Sonnets 84

3. Canzonet 87

4. Of Freedom in Love 88

5. Of Love after Death 89

Amadis Jamyn,

1. Christian Ode 95

2. Stanzas 96

3. Canzonets 9^

4. Sonnets 105

J. A. DE Baif.

1. The Poet's Lot "3

2. Aubade of May 114

3. Town and Country 115

4. Springtime II7

5. Sonnet "9

6. The Rose 120

Etienne Jodelle.

Complaint of a Lover's Life 125

Jean Passerat.

1. May Day 13^

2. Villanelle 132


Jean Passerat. Page

3. The Lover and the Grasshoppers 133

4. Sonnets I34

5. Canzonet to his Mistress 137

6. Song in Dialogue 138

7. In Wintertime 140

8. Vernal Ode 142

Vauquelin de la Fresnaye.

1. Sonnet 147

2. Idyl „

Jean de la Taille.

1. To his Lady from the Wars 1 52

2. The Daisy 153

3. Canzonet 154

4. Sonnets from the Wars 155

5. The Blazon of the Rose 158

6. Love-Sonnets 159

7. Complaint of Spring l6l

Philippe Desportes.

1. In Praise of a Country Life , . 169

2. The Dream 172

3. Complaint of Spring 173

4. Canzonet 176

5. To Liberty 177

6. Sonnets 178

7. Diane 180

8. Cleonice 185

9. Hippolyte 187

10. Ode to Sleep 188

Gilles Durant.

1. The Marigold 193

2. Canzonet 194

Marie de Romieu.

1. Hymn of the Rose 199

2. Sonnet 200

Jean Bertaut.

1. In Defence of Love 203

2. Canzonet 206


Jean Bertaut. Page

3. Stanzas 208

4. Complaint for the Death of Henri Quatre 210

5. Epitaph on Madame Lugol 213

6. Epitaph on Madame and Mademoiselle de Bourbon , 214

Guy de Tours.

1. To the Grasshopper 219

2. To his Bower 220

3. Sonnets 22 1

Th^ophile de Viau.

Solitude 229


1. Solitude 237

2. Sonnets 242

3. Sonnets on the Murder of Charles the First, King of

England 245




Though in my need the world abandon me
And of His grace though God do not decree
That once again my foes should set me free,
As of my will,

Shall I at heart make mourning therefore still
And of regrets keep store and measure fill?
Certes, not so : to heaven look up I will.
Sans other care.

Up, then, my soul! The feeble flesh forswear
And unto God, thy keeper debonair,
Withdraw thyself, as to thy fortress fair
And thy strong place!

Let not the flesh have mastery of thy case
Nor without cease regrets to thee retrace,
Of its estate of sufferance and misgrace
Still making moan.

The fashion of the flesh o'erwell is known ;
No end fore'er it maketh with its woen;
For full small matter doth it greet and groan
On wailful wise.

' Said to have been composed by I^tienne Dolet shortly l^cfore
his execution for heresy, August 3, 1546.


Its proper sufferance still it magnifies,
Debating all on over-angry guise ;
In vain regrets its only solace lies,
Without allay.

But what avail despairing and dismay?
The body sore it irketh, sooth to say.
In durance vile so many a weary day
Enmured to be.

Nay, some regret must body young aby,
When needs in prison dour it still must sigh,
Remembering all the pleasant time past by.
Both day and night.

Of goods and honours to the worldly wight
To see himself bereft 'tis sore despite,
For a glass broken or a cause as light
Or none at all.

For a good heart full sore it is, withal.
Without default to find himself in thrall;
And into anger therefore doth he fall
Full oft and rage.

The stoutest soul must suffer sore, though sage
And wise it be past any of its age.
From the sweet sight forshut to be in cage
Of kith and kin.

These of the foolish flesh the sorrows bin,
The weakling body's troubles and chagrin,
Lament all unavailing founded in
And witless woe.


But thou, that the Eternal's word dost know,
My soul, ensue the foolish flesh no mo'.
But upon Him, from Whom all blessings flow,
Let thy hope rest!

If of vain men the flesh may be opprest.
O'er thee, my soul, yet have they no behest:
Do but thy due, with eyes to heaven addrest:
There be thy trust!

Come soon or late, the body shall be dust,
For all to death this tribute render must:
None can ward that off, do he what he lust;
We all must die.

This flesh, indeed, corruption must aby;
Yet thou, my soul, thou shalt not surely die,
But flower with God for ever in the sky.
Of His great grace !.

Do thou His will, which is that thou apace
The flesh o'ercome and leave the body base.
So mount and in His heavenly dwelling-place
Be day and night.

Up, up to heaven, an if thou take delight
In His commands. Who all good souls aright
Leadcth and guideth and each fro ward wight
Bringeth to nil !

In verses brief hath He declared His will
That, if the world to us be thrawn and ill,
Tormenting us sans rhyme and reason still,
On many a kind.


Yet that no man withal should be repined,
But bear his evil with a constant mind
And to God's hand, that hand so strong and kind.
Himself commit.

This the sole point that pleasures every wit,
The sole point is that doth with wisdom sit,
For that God's will accomplished is in it,
Patience submiss.

This gotten, other science none, ywis,
To bear with human folly needed is;
All ills are nought, all dolour, if on this
The spirit found.

No ill there is that can the soul confound,
If patience in it only be profound;
In patience there's no good but doth abound.
Nor solacement.

One never heareth patience make lament;
Furnished withal, the spright is ne'er forspent;
Thou in Thy proper virtues hast it blent,
God of all might !

A virtuous heart, with noble patience stored.
Ne'er boweth down beneath ill fortune's sword,
Victorious ever, never fate-outwarred.
To all resigned.

Up, then, my soul! Approve thy constant kind;

Let thine assurance in thy need appear.
Each valiant heart, each battle-tempered mind

Hath to the death maintained its constant cheer.




Years, in my pleasant time of youth, I passed and years,
Unknowing dole or woe, unknowing sighs and tears;

For then the thought in me
Of passion and affect untrammelled was and free.

Without unease of wit I was in those glad days;
Frankly on every side I cast my careless gaze;

And my free will, likewise,
No less of liberty had than my two free eyes.

But, envious of my ease and my impunity,

The Gods one day on me an archer set; and he,

Aim taking at my heart,
Wounded it passing sore with his envenomed dart.

The breach, that in my heart, with infinite regret
Enmartyred, he hath made, draws me to death; and yet

'Tis on such wise that fain.
Though dying, I to live am in immortal pain.

Might I for somewhat look of solacement some day,
The hope thereof might yield my torment some allay

And to my suffering
With expectation vague some little easance bring.


But my sore wounded heart doth lack of power and will
To dare provision make for this its grievous ill;

Albe the way it knows
Whereby it may in brief regain its old repose.

Behoveth me, quoth Love, the author of my grief,
If anywhit of hope I cherish of relief,

A dame unpeered for grace,
A mortal goddess, wound in such and such a place.

And to attain her there whereas the stroke were fit.
Needs must I at her heart aim and her fancy hit;

That so like dole the fair
May feel to mine and burn with a like fire of care;

So by her proper pain she measure may for sure
How much of dole and teen she causeth me endure,

Within her grievous gaol,
And to be healed herself, vouchsafe to heal my ail.

But what availeth me, woe worth it! to have wit
Of this the means of cure, if in my puissance it

Be not to take, alack!
That, in an instant which my health may give me back?

All efforts have I used to render less severe
Her rigour, whom I hold my only goddess here;

But she a heart so high
Hath that my efforts one and all it doth defy.

Oft have I sought, with all the weapons I might wield,
To move her rigorous heart to gentleness to yield;

For but too well know I
Her tears would quench the fires of dole whereof I die.


Cut she is fain to have as much of cruelty
As loveliness divine, indeed, in her I see;

And even as she is fair,
So will she cruel be to me beyond compare.

The more I do, the more I say, the more I write,
The more I burn, the more I am her serving-wight,

The more my grief grows dire,
The more she doth from me absent her and retire.

The more her honour dear I hold and hate her ill,
The more this my annoy to her is pleasing still;

The more grief grows in me.
The gladder is her heart, the more content is she.

An if I seek to break the bonds wherein I pine.

It is not in my power: nay, if the power were mine,

My obstinate desire
Would suffer me not take the means to quench my fire.

And that which rendereth still my suflferance more dire
Is that it serves, alas! me nothing to desire;

For that desire takes life
When, of all life bereft, I dwell in nought but strife.

A grim despair the place of hope in me hath ta'en.
Which, in funereal dole and mad with raging pain,

Dogs my desire that grows;
Thus, worse than dead, I live in languishment and woes.

Since then no man there is in all this wide world's round
That feeleth dole akin to this my dole profound,

And since incurable
It is, to death alone I look to make me well.



Sleep, father thou of dreams and sire of sweet repose,
Now that the Night, with its vast cloaks of sable shade,
Hath o'er the air serene a humid covert laid,
Come, long-desired Sleep, and these mine eyelids close.
Thine absence still prolongs, for languishment, my throes,
Making me feel yet more my sufferance unallayed.
Come, soothe it; let it be of thee less poignant made;
With some delusion sweet come mystify my woes.
Already Silence mute leads on a squadron light
Of ghosts, that dancing fare beneath the blank blind Night.
Thou only me disdain'st, thy devotee sincere.
Come, longed-for Sleep, and with thy wings my head surround ;
And of my faithful hands for thee a wreath shall wound
Of thy loved nightshade be and of thy poppies dear.


When Phoebus sweateth all the livelong day,
I wearying go in torments and despites;
And under Phoebe's sway, the languorous nights
Are nought for me but sorrow without stay.
So, for the love of her my lady fair,
I dying go in languishment fore'er.

Ah, woe is me! I must the hour fore'er
Have in remembrance and the fatal day.
When by the eyes I ta'en was of the fair;
For nought since then I've gotten but despites,
Which have of pleasance robbed me and of stay.
Of gladsome days and of reposeful nights.


You, happy lovers, fain would have the nights,
For prolongation of your joys, fore'er.
With their obscurity, endure and stay :
I only, if aught please me, tis the day,
In hope to feed, after my long despites.
Mine eyes upon the beauties of my fair.

But, the sun-eyes encountering of the fair,
Bedazzled, I into the darkling nights
Of my despair withdraw and the despites
Of my sad thought, that travaileth fore'er
And at each moment of the night and day,
Within my reasoning spirit maketh stay.

Alack ! I cannot find a place of stay.
Such ills I for thy rigours have, my fair;
For if I burn and scorch the livelong day.
In tears I am dissolved all the nights.
Seeing thee live in rigour thus fore'er,
Eternally to slay me with despites.

O soul disconsolate, in thy despites.
That fain wouldst quit this stead of mortal stay
And take thy flight to Life etern fore'er.
Canst thou for any languish who's more fair?
Yet hope, hope still! For sure these darkling nights
Shall yet be lightened by some blithesome day.

Nay, hasten thee, o day, when my despites
Shall cease before the favours of the fair :
Change thou the darkness of my doleful nights
Into the radiance of a joy fore'er.




When this lovesome Spring I see,

Land and lea
All in rapture of new birth,
Now, meseemeth, day above,

Ay, and Love,
Babe-like, born are unto earth.

Day, that brighter waxeth e'er,

Still more fair.
Fresher, maketh sea and shore;
Ay, and Love, with Cupid's arms

Girt and charms.
In our hearts with us doth war.

Still he sheddeth from all parts

Fire and darts:
Everything beneath the sun
Owns his puissance, fishes, birds,

Flocks and herds.
Men and women, all as one.

Venus, with her conquering child.

Monarch mild.
Seated on her chariot's peak,
Bids her flying cygnets fare

Through the air,
Her Anchises to beseek.


Wheresoever her fair eyes,
Through the skies

As she fareth, their bright gaze

Turn, the air, serene but late,
Sparkles straight

With a thousand amorous rays.

Then, descending from her seat,

At her feet
Flowers there be a thousand bred;
Blushing pinks and lilies white

Blossom bright,
All among the roses red.

In this season of desire.

With love's fire
All my soul I feel aflare.
Seeing how the blossom-tide.

On each side,
Borrows beauties from my fair.

When so many flowers I see.

Bright of blee.
All the fields enamelling,
To my mind the hues that grace

Her fair face,
White and vermeil-red, they bring.

When the elm-trees' rugged rind,

With the twined
Ivies overgrown, I note.
Then methinketh to be ta'en

In the chain
Of her arms about my throat.


When I hear, the woods among,

The sweet song
Of the buxom nightingale,
Then I think to hold my dear

And to hear
Her sweet voice that heals my ail.

When some fir-tree straight, some pine,

Meets my eyne,
Tall and slender, towering high,
I myself let cheated be.

Think to see
Her sweet shape and swelling thigh.

When, within a garden-bower,

I a flower
Freshly burgeoned see at morn.
Straight the blossom I compare

To the fair
Bud that on her bosom's borne.

When the sun, from night released,

In the East,
Laughing, shows his golden hair.
Then meseemeth that I see,

Before me.
Rise and shine my lady fair.

When I smell the meadows pied.

Far and wide
All with blossoms thick-besprent.
Then methinks in herb and halm

That the balm
Of her fragrant breath I scent.


Brief, with reason I compare

Her, my fair,
To the Springtide; for, in sooth.
It to flowers doth life impart

And my heart
Doth from her take strength and youth.

Fain, unto the ripples' trill

Of a rill.
Her blond tresses I'd unknit.
Weaving in as many a twine

Them, in fine.
As the stream hath waves in it.

Fain, her evermore to hold.

As of old,
God of these lone woods I'd be ;
And as many a kiss I'd give

Her as live
Leaves in summer on the tree.

Lady mine, my only care.

Come, my fair.
Look upon this verdant grot.
See, the blossoms to my pain

Pity deign;
And thou only reckest not.

Lift, at least, thy lovesome eyes

Tow'rd the skies;
See yon pair of turtledoves.
That, in gentle Nature's name.

Without shame.
Ply with bill and wings their loves.


We, in honour's name, no less

For an idle fear, let go.
Happier far the birds I rate,

Free that mate
And to love no limits know.

Lose we not our native rights,

Our delights,
For these laws that let our loves.
Let us love, then, I and you,

And ensue
Yonder amorous turtle-doves.

Come, to smoothe my troubled brow, ,

Kiss me now;
Kiss me, kiss me, goddess mine !
Let not these our golden days.

Whilst youth stays.
Pass to waste in vain repine.


Nay, hearken, woodcutter; thy hand a moment stay.
Lo ! this is no mere wood, that thou dost fell and slay.
The blood that jets beneath thine axe dost thou not mark,
The life-blood of the nymphs that dwell behind the bark?
O sacrilegious churl, o murd'rer, if a thief
One hang for stealing what is little worth, in brief,
How many racks and pains and stakes and gallowses
Dost thou, ill man, deserve, that slay'st our goddesses?
Forest, the woodland birds' high refuge from their foes,
The solitary stag no more, the light-foot roes
No more, beneath thy shade shall browse; thy verdant top


No more the blazing rays of summer suns shall stop ;
No more the amorous herd, his back against a tree,
His crook leant by his side, his sheepdog at his knee,
Plying his four-holed pipe, the lonely woodland ways
Shall, echoing, compel to sound his leman's praise.
All shall again wax mute and Echo voiceless be.
Thou shalt thyself become champaign and over thee,
In lieu of flickering shade of leafy woods, as now,
Shalt feel the harrow fare, the coulter and the plough.
Thy silence thou shalt lose, nor ever, terror-pale.
Shall Fauns nor Satyrs more revisit this thy pale.
Farewell, old forest, erst the playground of the breeze,
Where first I learned t'attune my lyre among the trees,
Where Phoebus' arrows first and far-resounding rays
I felt, that filled my heart with wonder and amaze,
Here, where admiring first the fair Calliope,
I of her ninefold choir a lover came to be.
Where for my brows she did an hundred roses pluck
And of her proper paps Euterpe gave me suck!
Adieu, old wood, adieu ! Ye holy heads, adieu !
With flowers and votive gifts, of old, men honoured you.
Now the disdain you are of thirsting passers by,
Who, of the sunrays parched, in summer, from on high
Finding the refuge cool of your green shades no more.
Upon your murderer's heads reproach and curses pour.
Adieu, old oaks, whilom the valiant burgher's crown,
Jove's trees, Dodonian germs, whose boughs, with acorns

O'errunning, first vouchsafed the human race to eat,
Ingrates, who knew not how with gratitude to greet
The benefits received, nay, very brutes, I trow.
Who were to massacre their foster-fathers so !
Ah, how accurst is man, if to the world trust he !
How true-spoken, o Gods, is that philosophy,
Which saith that all which is shall perish, old and new,
And putting off one form, another shall endue !
The Vale of Tempe shaU, in time, a mountain-chain


And Athos' frowning steep become a spreading plain;
Old Neptune's self with corn shall covered be some day.
Matter alone abides and forms shall pass away.

I. OF love's despite.

What profit me my rhymes and my resounding lyre,
Since day and night I waste my fancies and my pain,
Loving so fair a face, fool-fashion, all in vain?
How hapless is the man who sighs for wandesire !
I weep, I moan, I burn, a martyr, on Love's fire :
A thousand sonnets still I make, I rack my brain,
Yet am not loved: my place new suitors ever gain
And I, I dare not speak the thing which I desire.
My lady hath a mind in every trickery taught,
That still another seeks, when one she once hath caught.
Whenas for her I burn, her fire forthright doth wane:
But, when I feign myself no more for her aflame,
She bums for me. ^Vell loved to be of maid or dame,
Behoveth litde love, much promise, ay, and feign.


When you're grown old and sit before the fire at night,
Devising, as you spin by candle-shine, you'll sing
The rhymes I made of old and "Ronsard", marvelling.
You'll say, "my praises sang, when I was sweet of sight."
No maid of yours, that hears such tidings, but forthright.
Though half with labour drowsed and wearied, at the ring
Shall waken of my name and join in hallowing
Your name, by that my praise with deathless glory (light.
I shall be underground; my ghost, no more opprest
By flesh and blood, among the myrtled shades will rest


And you before the hearth will be a bowed old wife,
Regretful for my love and your disdainful pride.
Live, then, believe me, live; nor till to-morrow bide;
But gather in to-day the roses of this life.


Here be the woodlands, that, in times of Spring,
My sweet saint with her carols doth delight;
Here be the flowers, whereon her foot doth light.
When by herself she passeth, pondering :
Here be the meads, to which her touch doth bring
New vigour, when her hand the jewels bright,
That star the herbage, newly sprung to sight.
To hide them in her breast, goes gathering.
Here sing I heard her; there I saw her weep.
There smile; and there, by her discourse, astray,
My ravished senses all were led, like sheep.
Here dance I saw her, stand, sit. — Wellaway!
'Tis on the loom of such a wandering thought
That Love the fabric of my life hath wrought.


A wreath I send you, that my hand hath bound
Of blossoms culled and chosen far and wide.
Had they not gathered been this eventide.
To-morrow they had fallen to the ground.
A warning sure let this for you be found
That those your charms, for all their bloom and pride.
Ere long, like flowers, will withered fall and bide
And perish utterly from sight and sound.
Time passeth by, Time passeth, lady mine,
Alack! not Time, but we, we pass away
And soon beneath the stone we must recline;
Nor of the loves, whereof we speak to-day,
When we are dead, shall tidings be for e'er.
Then love me now, what while you yet are fair.



Thy shining horn, fair moon, I prithee, hide to-night.
So may Endymion bide for evermore thy swain,
So on thy breast be he to slumber ever fain,
So may no sorcerer cast his spells upon thy light!
Hateful to me is day, and welcome to my sight
Is dark. By day, the fear of foes doth me restrain;
But underneath night's veil of dusk I live again
And here and there at will fare, in the spy's despite.
Thou know'st, o moon, what power love hath, when at the

Pan, with a fleece, of old, availed, of snow-white wool,
Thy favours to procure. And you, ye stars above.
The fire that burns in me view with a favouring eye,
Yourselves as you bethink, your places in the sky
The most part of you owe to this, — that you did love.


As straitly as the elm is wedded by the vine

With supple arms and fast,
Be thy fair arms for bonds, I prithee, lady mine,

About my body cast.

So, softly, feigning sleep, let thy fair face above

My forehead bended be
And in a kiss, so breathe thy fragrance and thy love

And thy grace into me.

Then, on my panting breast leaning thine own, my dole

To solace and to calm,

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Online LibraryJohn PayneFlowers of France: the renaissance period, from Ronsard to Saint-Amant, representative poems of the sixteenth century; → online text (page 1 of 9)