John Payne.

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

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And that the wind of favour still doth court.


But I, whom dear the Muses hold,
I hate the honours born to die,
I hate the cares that make hearts cold,
I hate the goods for which men vie;

Nought pleaseth me of that which findeth grace

In the gross eyes of the vile populace.

Laurels, from learned foreheads ta'en
Me fellow of the Gods have made;
The lusty Satyrs, nymphs that fain
To follow are through sylvan shade.
Have caused me love, far from world-haunted waves.
The sacred horror of their selvage caves.

In heav'n above I look to soar,

On pinions hitherto unspread;

Nor shall it long be ere no more

This earth by me's inhabited;
Raised above wish, to yon proud towns, in fine.
Their base intestine turmoils I'll resign.

From Ursa to the Blackmoor's Spall, '
From dawn to night, I'll range the sky.
To where the Ocean's fountains fall,
The whitest of the birds that fly;
Nor shall I fear, leaving those lands of light.
Thick darkness of the realms of endless Night.

Of Death, which is the common lot

Of all, in no concern I stand,

For that my better part is not

In danger of his fatal hand :
Let him fear envy, death, mischance and strife.
To whom the Gods have given but one life.

' VEspaule Maure^ i. e. from the North to the South Pole.


Away with dirge and funeral strain,
With marble tombs and pictured woe !
Sepulchral honours void and vain
My ashes shall not seeking go,
Lest I an hundred years upon the gray
Grim shores of niggard Acheron should stray.

Of the vile crowd though unrenowned,
My name shall not unhonoured be;
The Sisters of the Two-peaked Mound •
A sepulchre have decked for me,
A monument upbuilded high with rhyme,
That shall defy the waves and winds of Time.


He, upon whose birth the Muse
With a favouring eye did gaze,
On the hopes, that men abuse.
Never suffers his heart graze;

After favours of the great
Never follows of free will,
Nor the vain contentious prate
Of the palace, never still.

Nought by treasures setteth he
That admired are of the crowd.
And the billows of the sea
By his oars are never ploughed.

' Pindus, the Muses.


Of the pallid-visaged crone ^
Never was his bosom rent,
Who torments herself alone,
Others when she would torment.

Still although his star decrees
That with Love he live at one,
Never sleep of slothful ease
Hath his spirit overwon.

Still the town to shun he's fain;
The false city-folk he quite
In all seasons doth disdain.
Foes of reason and of right.

Coliseums opulent,
Castles builded to the skies,
Palaces magnificent,
'Tis not these that hold his eyes.

But the living watersprings.
Mothers of the little streams.
With their mossy borderings,
Curtained 'gainst the noontide beams

By their screen of trees, whose shade,
Grateful to the labouring beeves.
Lets no shaft of sun invade,
Through their thick and plaited leaves.

Groves give ear to hiirf and waves
Tarry, as they speed along,
Heark'ning, and the hollow caves
Echo to his voice of song;

' i. e. Envy, Jealousy.


Voice, which age, ensuing age.
Ne'er to silence may contrive,
Voice, which, for the future's stage,
Maketh men themselves survive.

Lute, from mind that my chagrin
Blottest, if these hands of mine
Any share of glory win,
All the praise of it is thine.

Maids, where is't ye guide me, where,
Daughters of the Gods' great sire?
Whither, whither, virgins fair?
And you, nymphs, with eyes of fire,

Shun th'inhospitable shore:
To your rocky fastness hie.
Yonder, from the forest hoar,
Satyrs lewd I see draw nigh.




Whether, a-musing, in some woodland way
Or in the horror of some selvage cave
Or by the margent of some murmuring wave,
The air I sunder with my sighful lay;
Whether Love's canons, pondering, I weigh
And note the nightingale's complaining stave;
Whether, my sombre mood to make less grave.
My fingers o'er my lute I suffer stray;
Whereverward these steps of mine 1 bend,
Thine image still, divine, with me doth wend;
So that mine arms, so real it appears,
I spread to clip thee; but alas, poor wight!
'Tis but a dream, that drowns me, day and night,
In the deep sea of my inhuman tears.




April, the pride of the days

And the ways,
April, fair hope of the fruit,
Still, in the mothering gown

Of the down.
Fostering their youth in the shoot;

April, the pride of the fields

And the wealds,
Thou, that the meadows with flowers,
Perse and ind, golden and blue,

Hue on hue,
Gemm'st with thy life-giving showers ;

April, the pride of the breeze

In the trees,
Pride of the sprites of the air,
That, in the heart of the brake.

Weave and make
Nets to catch Flora the fair ;

'Tis thy soft hand from the tomb

Of earth's womb ^
Looseth and bringeth to birth
Harvests of perfumes and showers

And of flowers,
Balsaming heaven and earth ;


Glory of flowerage and green

Of my queen,
Thou on my lady's bright hair
And on her bosom snow-white,

Day and night,
Blossoms that shedst without spare;

April, the smile and the grace

Of the face
Of Cypris, her breath and her scent;
Incense of Gods in the sky,

Who, on high,
Scenting thy meads, are content;

Yea, and yon swallows, that fare

Through the air,
Harbingers sworn of the Spring,
Thou 'tis, the courteous and mild,

The exiled
Back from their exile dost bring.

Each of the flowers of the Prime,

Hawthorn, thyme,
Eglatere, lily, pink, rose.
In this sweet season of thine.

Month benign.
Open its chalices shows.

Hearken, how Philomel fair.

Trills from her sylvan retreat,
Broid'ring the murmurous shade

Of the glade
Still with her canzonet sweet.


'Tis for thy happy rebirth

To the earth,
Love blows again, with soft breath,
The smouldering fire in our veins,

By the pains
Of winter nigh dulled unto death.

In this new season one sees '

How the bees,
Swarm on swarm, pillaging, fare;
Flower to flower flitting, they fleet,

Juices sweet
Home on their cuishes to bear.

Coolness and ripening fruit

And to boot,
Manna and heavens of blue.
May boasts and eke, be it said.

Honey red,
Over her graces for dew,

But I, forsooth, I give my voice

And my choice
To the month that its lovesome name owes
To the goddess so frank and so free,

From the sea.
Of old, that in bubbles arose. *

April from Greek Aphros^ foam; Aphrodite^ foam- born.





Heaven send me but a kiss, my Kate, (I said) of thee !
'Tis nothing but a kiss that I of thee require.
But small the favour is and yet may serve the fire
T'assuage, that in the heat of love consumeth me.
To me forthright thou cam'st, and I, I shook with glee,
Hoping to have the kiss, to which I did aspire,
And kissing, to devise with thee of my desire
And of the pleasing ail, that is my grief and gree.
But what didst thou, alack, my mistress? But so much
As with thy lips' extreme my thirsting lips to touch.
Incontinent, and then withdrew'st from me again.
What? Call'st thou that a kiss? Nay, 'twas but, lady mine,
With me, upon pretence of pleasance, the repine
Importunate to leave of a joy hoped in vain.


Come, Sleep, — thy kingdom is not in the skies.
Nought slumbereth there, — and with the witching dew
Thy poppies yield, mine eyelids overstrew,
My brows, my hair, my temples and mine eyes.
The ills with charms oblivious exorcise.
That weary me and cause my poor heart rue.
Which sighs and sorrows, hopeless, still anew,
And hath no cause to hope on better wise.
Come, then, to me and with thy pinions' air
Cool thou some whit the anguish and despair,
That, without pity, fret me to the bone.
Nay, if thou lend to me a favouring ear,
This day, upon thine altars, every year.
Honey and poppies shall of me be strovvn.



Torchbearer Moon, sole daughter thou and heir
)f the vast shades of ample-bosomed Night,
rhou, that alone in heav'n's bedarkened height
Jrgest thy coursers through the wastes of air;
-Vho, at thy pleasure only, dost forbear,
Vith half-closed eye, to shed thy silver light,
rhen sudden showest full thy vermeil sight
\.nd the blest radiance of thy visage fair;
vie, through the shady silence, let there guide
rhy fires of silver, where my love doth bide,
Vhose beauties rare have ravished all my will;
Ilause in these woods that I, unfeared, may go,
/agrant and sole, as thou whiles farest so
ro thy loved sleeper on the Latmian hill.


If what I deem of Love you question, I reply,
importunate desires and troubles 'tis, that throw
Che reason off its course, a humour, to and fro
rhat ranges in the blood and sets the wits awry.
Dr, if indeed 'tis aught, 'tis what I know not, I,
rhat comes I know not whence nor sent by whom I know,
rhat feeds I know not how, nor preys upon what foe,
\nd maketh itself felt I know not when and why.
Like to the levin-stroke, blent with the thunder-stones,
kVhich, harming not the flesh, to powder brays the bones,
rhis poison evenso the heart doth burn and sear.
Dr, if 'tis nought of this, it is a strange mischance,
rhe vintage's green hopes that blasteth in advance
Mor suffereth at all the ripened grapes appear.



Misfortune 'tis to love at all
And worse misfortune not to love :
But one's heart's wish to lack above
All ills is worst that can befall.

Lineage for lovers nothing can;
Love tramples rank beneath his car;
Wit, virtue, breeding, to the man,
Who hath but wealth, superfluous are.

Ah, would to heav'n the miser might
Die wretchedly, who men for prey
To scurvy money did bewray
And first accounted it for right !

For wars and death on dreadful ways
It still hath furthered in their course;
And wretched lovers (which is worse)
Because thereof do end their days.


Ah, how happy we reckon thee,
Jolly grasshopper, frisk and free!
For no sooner a little dew
Out of the shrubs and herbage new
Hast thou drunken than, in the green,
Glad of cheer as a puissant queen,
Straight thou makest the woods and hills
Echo all with thy dulcet trills.


All that forest and hill and spring,
All that meadow and mountain bring,
All thine own is. The husbandman
Still thou pleasest; for bale nor ban
To his travail thou bring'st nor irk
To him doest nor to his work.
All for goodness esteemeth thee,
Prophet of Summer soon to be.
Thee do the Muses love and too
Phoebus Apollo loves thee, who
Taught thee to sing so sweet. Compelled
Never art thou, as we, of eld.

Sage earth's daughter, that never yet
Pining wentest for passion's fret,
Lilting-lover, affection-free.
Pure of passion, all hail to thee.
Neither of flesh nor blood that art,
Well nigh Jupiter's counterpart!


Lo, at the coming sign
Of the sweet time of Spring,
The companies divine
Of Gods and Graces bring
Armsful of roses sweet.
The pleasant Prime to greet.

Lo, how the waters wide
Of Ocean's surging plain
And all the wrinkled tide
Grow smooth and calm again
And birds an hundred sort
Upon its surface sport.


Already, Winter done,
Returning is the crane,
And see, th' unclouded sun
To light the day is fain,
Chasing, with piercing ray,
The sullen shades away.

The folk begin to ply
The travail of the fields ;
The earth anew throbs high
And grass and blossoms yields;
And see, the fruit-trees blow
And olives evenso.

See how the topers crown
The liquor of the vine.
When on the branches brown
The happy flowering sign
Of grapes to come is seen
Among the leafage green.


Nay, why wilt thou teach me the trick
Of the jargon scholastical ?
What booteth such prate rhetorick,
That profiteth nothing at all?
Come, teach me the liquor so clear
To relish of Bacchus's bowl
And teach me my heart and my soul
With golden-haired Venus to cheer!
I'm grey. Page, bring wine, water red,
That my soul I in slumber may steep.
Soon, soon 'neath the stone I shall sleep.
What wish in the grave have the dead?



Heigho ! Each Springtide back again,
Each year, thou comest, pretty one.
And with thy beak, once Winter done,
Thy nest to fashion still art fain.
Then, Winter come, away thou go'st
To where thou dwell'st on Egypt coast
Or Nile. But Love, woe worth the day!
Love, cruel Love, sans cease his nest
Hath builded in my sorry breast
And maketh there eternal stay.
One of his fledglings down a-back
Hath e'en and flappeth wings, alack!
Another from his shell is new
And yet another halfway through;
And all the amorous covey still
Clamours for food, its beaks to fill.
Loud are they still and hungered aye:
The greater ones the lesser feed
Nor ever perish they of need;
But others evermore rear they.
What is it, Gods, that I must do?
Alack! I cannot such a brood,
Meseems, of Lovelets old and new
Hive in my breast and fill with food.



When the brimming bowl I drain,
Every care and every pain.
All chagrin and all despite.
Fall to sleep in me forthright.

7 2 rAmi belle a u.

What availeth me complain
For that Death will me constrain
And against my will one day
Me upon the bier will lay?
Troubled must I therefore be
And my life forwandred see?
Nay, I will but drink the more.
Come, companions, up and pour;
Since, whene'er I drain the bowl.
Every pine and every dole.
All chagrin and all despite.
Fall to sleep in me forthright.

My troubles in me die
Forthright, as soon as I
This sacred liquor let
My thirsty gullet wet.
Fain frolic would I sing
And richer than a king
I boast me, more of store
Than Croesus was of yore.
Prone on my breast reclined,
With ivy-trails I bind
And wreathe my grizzled hairs.
My sorrows and my cares
Beneath my feet I tread
And cast them to the dead.
Let who so will take arms,
Glory, in war's alarms.
For duty's sake, to buy :
For me, fain drink would I.
Up, page, then, quick, and brim
The bowl up to the rim;
For better drunk to bed
To go it is than dead.



Born I was to make an end
And the o'erswift way to wend
Of the travel here below.
What I've lived too well I know;
But, alack! the Gods are dumb
Of the years for me to come.
Get you gone, chagrin and care!
Hence away from me, despair!
Far, afar, with all of you !
Nought withal I have to do.
Whilst the vital air I quaff,
Fain I am to drink and laugh,
Having evermore with me
Bacchus boon to company.


If wealth, indeed, and gold
Might stop our growing old
And hold our bright days back
Upon their track,

I'd keep them in reserve,
Me against Death to serve,
And he should take my pelf
And leave myself.

But since, alas! no man
May lengthen out life's span
Nor bargain for a breath
With present Death,


What skilleth us complain
And render tears like rain?
What booteth us the skies
Besiege with sighs?

Since cruel Death for all,
Unpitying, doth call,
\Vhat worth were golden ore
Or silver store?

But I, ere I descend
To darkness, fain I'd spend
And with my friend laugh yet,
At table set,

My Cytherea's charms
Soft holding in mine arms.
Ere to the shades below
I needs must go.


O'er all the trees, an if I mote,
I'd choose the myrtle and the lote,
To drink beneath their flickering shade;
And Love should serve me, with his gown
From off his shoulders floating down
And girded with a silken braid.

Our days run past us, good and ill.
As 'twere a chariot running still;
Nor after death of us shall there
Be aught of greater price than just
A little ashes left and dust,
To tell the tale of what we were.


Then what availeth to perfume
The tomb with incense and to fume
The earth with lily-scented showers?
I'd rather far, whilst yet I live,
That they should perfume me and weave
A chaplet for my pate of flowers.

Ho, there! Let one go seek my lass,
Or ever from the world I pass
And die and go I know not where.
Before upon the Styx's bed
I go to dance among the dead,
At least I'll frolic off my care.


None other lord than Love I own:
Him night and day I serve alone;
And that is why I love-liking
Have of my life and soul made king.

To be his serf mislikes me not;
My heart is happy in its lot;
For kindlier used it thinks to be
In service than in liberty.

As for the lord I follow, he's
No changeling harsh or hard to please;
Nor courteous unto me and kind
He is alone, but all mankind.

Some peevish, froward mother's son,
Ill-born, ill-wished of every Ciie,
May cruel call this God most high:
I know him not for such, not L


Nought of him have I but delight,
Pleasance of body and of spright;
And who beneath him Hves in grief
No lover is, in my belief.

Love is companion of the time
Of Autumn, even as the Prime,
And I myself his fires aglow
Have found beneath the Winter's snow.

One wan of visage and forspent
Still for despite is and chagrin :
Another never is content.
For wish of what he may not win.

The pangs of hoping and despair
For him reserved are, who, poor swain,
The grace and favour of his fair.
By loving service, cannot gain.

For me, if I the lover's grace
But had, for which one asketh not.
But taketh still in time and place,
With God I would not change my lot.


See, lads, the God of wine
It is that back doth fare,
The God, against repine
That armeth us allwhere;

The God, that makes us strong,
Gay, jolly, bright and brisk,
That teacheth youth to frisk
And dancing love and song.


It is his lovesome brew,
The charm to us he gives,
The germ that sprouts and lives
Upon the vines anew.

Within the ripening grape
He hides it from the air,
Beneath the trellis' care.
And moulds it into shape.

Then is it cut, that we
Our lives, by aid of wine,
May pass, from all repine.
From cares and sorrows free;

Brief, that we may oflf-fling
Our troubles, till the year.
Returning in its sphere,
Another harvest bring.


This bunch of flowers to you, my fair,
I send, so witness they may bear
That our bright days fast lapse away,
Like flowers, and us behoveth take
Our pleasure now, for Love's sweet sake.
Nor put it off" beyond to-day,

Nor wait for Age's frozen sloth.
Our limbs to render stiff and loth
For all the pleasures of the Prime,
But pass, in amorous delights
And lovesome sport, what days and nights
Are left us of our pleasant time.


For, of a surety, cruel Doom,
To couch us in the silent tomb,
Already waiteth at the door.
Believe me, sweet, our lives let's pass
As blitheliest we may. Alas !
For after death one feels no more.

You know what says the priest, when he
Upon the brows of you and me
With ashes makes the sign etern,
Forewarning us that out of dust
Our mortal bodies came und must.
Ere long, to dust again return.

No human show doth there remain;
Nor blood there is nor pulse nor vein,
Heart, nerves, flesh, rotted all away;
'Tis nothing but a shadow light,
Withouten hearing, thought or sight,
To earth and to the worms a prey.




Let whoso fain would fill his treasuries with gold
And his domains extend beyond their limits old
Cleave all the seas that be with keen and eager keel
And in the flames of war his tempered heart anneal!

Let slumber, when it falls down-softly on his eyes,
Be broken up for him by thunder from the skies
And let his couching still, upon the tossing seas
Or in the embattled camp, with thorns a-bristle be!

For me, enough content with this my mean estate.
Time idly in the arms I early pass and late
Of her I love and with the music of my lyre
Charming her leisures, so allay my amorous fire,

Esteeming that repose we hold in common here
And that delight we take in our discourse as dear
As to a conquering king the booties won in war
Or to a merchant rich his merchandise and store.

O happy, happy those who, in the age of gold.
Milk from the common springs mild-welling might behold
And honey from the oaks upon the mountains flow.
The blossoms to bedew upon the plains below I



Like to the guileless time the fashions were; the laws
Had issued from kings' mouths not yet, to give us pause;
Nor in the fields to sweat the husbandman had need
Nor wield the reaping-hook, his family to feed.

The world, beneath the sun, was one perpetual May.
The same sun came each morn, to gild with equal ray
The summits of the hills; and still the darkling night
The lightsome day ensued and after darkness light.

The lamb among the wolves in safety did abide;
The cattle roamed the earth in freedom far and wide,
And Jupiter not yet the scathing lightnings hurled
And thunders of his wrath upon the labouring world.

The wild winds slept in peace, imprisoned in their caves.
Nor Ocean vexed the shore, tempestuous, with its waves;
Nor did the sailor leave his own familiar strands,
Their merchandise to buy in change from stranger lands.

No cares, in those glad days, against man's spirit warred ;
One with the other lived in quiet and accord;
The God of War resigned to rust his useless arms
Nor yet the world involved in discords and alarms.

None yet wore mail nor yet the drum's portentous din
The hearts of foemen filled with terror and chagrin ;
The Spanish jennet wild and riderless ran yet
Nor had of custom learned the bridle-bit to fret.

One native land alone, then, without more, men knew;
The meats whereon one fed were simple, then, and few;
The apple-tree at gree still bore its apples then
And the vine ripened grapes without the aid of men.


The peasant in those days the vintage never trod;
The grapejuice at its will ran down upon the sod;
Nor was the vine-press yet in usance, from the vine
To force the household drink of modern peoples, wine.

No angler, then, with rod and line and hook, applied
To snare the silly fish beneath the rippling tide;
Nor did the huntsman go, amid the leafy brake,
About the timid stags with net and springe to take.

This rage of love, which holds my bosom still afire,
Held lovers' hearts not, then, in languor for desire
And Venus' wanton son not yet, on crafty wise,
Men's simpleness and faith had set him to surprise.

Nay, Love, what is't I say? Thine ardour in those days
Was nought but pastime sweet and pleasance sans amaze;
And that mild passion, which its gentle warmth imp>arts,
Of its own motion, then, was kindled in our hearts.

Love in each breast betimes enkindled then became,
Lit by a common brand, that burned with equal flame,
And choler, fear, disdain and jealousy not yet
Had, as to-day, begun the lover's mind to fret.

Reproaches and complaints, entreaties, tears and sighs
In those days issued not from breast and mouth and eyes
Of the afflicted swain; but, without dole or ill,
He of his lady had enjoyment at his will.

Now in some wood and now in some secluded dell,
In liberty he kissed and clipped his bonnibelle;
And both, without annoy or fear, like turtledoves,
In pleasance without end, had easance of their loves.


Come, then, my fair, and let us cause betwixt us twain
The gladness of that age so sweet to live again
Nor go in fear of death. Devour it what it may,
Except Tibullus lie, we shall love on for aye. '


The winter's on the way, Girard, and Zephyr here
Brings back to us, with head flower-crowned, the frolic Spring :
Already through the fields the new-freed rillets sing
And Progne in the woods and Philomel I hear.
The meads again grow green; the sky once more is clear;
The sun shines bright and warm ; the birds upon the wing,
The beasts, the grass, the earth, air, water, everything,
Are all fulfilled with love and pleasance far and near.
Yet for myself, alack! but dolour comes again,
But torment and chagrin, but misery and pain,
And worse, my Girard, yet, if worse there can betide :
And all these fields and birds and flowers and breeze and skies,
Which one may laughing see for Spring on every side.
Renew in me my old and half-forgotten sighs.

Thou knowest, Love, too well how, under thy decree,
My Spring of years I've passed, in faith and fortitude.
And how, with a stout heart, thine ensigns I've ensued.
For governor and lord and king confessing thee.

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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 3 of 9)