John Payne.

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

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Begins her songs anew.

Complaints and tears and killing cares to those
Let's leave whose hearts are cold;

Enough and overmuch we shall of woes
Have, if we twain wax old.

Soon, without warning, Death will come, sweetheart,

His hand on us to lay;
And 'twill belike behove us to depart

To-morrow or to-day.

' i. e. the nightingale.


Incontinent, when in that vale of shade

Once come we are below,
Of every joy for evermore bewrayed.

We shall be full of woe.

"Alack, there here remaineth," shall we say,

"But evermore regret
"Of having not on earth our sport and play

"Ta'en, when we might it yet.

"Seeing that to move stern Pluto never prayer

"Availeth anywhat
"And that for knowledge, wealth and beauty there

"In Hades place is not."





O fragrance-breathing breeze, that all the air
Enbalsamest with yonder flow'rets' scent,
O gladsome mead whereover, weeping, went
Damoetas good and Amaranth the fair,
O leafy woods, o river running there.
That saw their dole transmuted to content
And joy ensue upon their languishment, *

Whilst but one soul the one and th'other were !
Age hath enforced them carnal joys forbear:
But, though they now are moved by holy care
To leave behind them all concern of love,
Nathless, a gracious memory doth make
Them love, for sweet rememorance's sake,
These meads, this breeze, this river and this grove.


Fair nymphs of La Fresnaye,
Who seek the sheltered nooks.
Far from the common way,
The springs, the babbling brooks
And all the wood-retreats,
Leaf-hidden from the heats,


Be, nymphs, your woods, indeed,
With leafage new arrayed;
Let many a flowering weed
Carpet the amorous shade,
So Phyllis there at ease,
Like you, to dwell may please.

I prithee, nymphs benign,
Cause in the argent tide
Of the rills azure shine
And crystal, side by side,
So she therein at will
May view herself her fill.

The emerald sward amass
Beside the running rills.
So on the velvet grass.
Unto the water's trills.
She of my love-liking
May mocking ditties sing.

In the deep valleys' glooms
With rushes sweet array
Your fairest hiding-rooms.
Where most you love to play.
So, if she will, she too
May froHc there, like you.

So, nymphs of La Fresnaye,
Seeing your shady nooks,
Your limpid fountains' play.
Your springs, your babbling brooks
And sylvan shelters, she
Our woods will love, maybe.




Begone, my sighs! Go seek the fairest fair
That ever was! You are more fortunate
Than I, who no more what I was whilere
Am, for her absence, so disconsolate,
Poor wretch, I'm grown! Tell her, nor place nor date,
Absence, war, other beauty, aye hath wrought
Her fair eyes from my heart t'eradicate.
And pray her pity have of me and thought.

Go, tell her, since that yonder, on Loire shore,
Her looks I left, her features and her grace,
Love hath so graven them in my heart's core
That nothing from my thought can them efface
And in remembrance them I still retrace.
Picture to her my constancy, of aught
Unshaken; show her all my heavy case
And pray her pity have of me and thought.

Go, tell her how, in many a foreign land,
In many a hazard, being tired of ease,
To follow after war I set my hand,
Armed cap-a-pie, content to sweat and freeze
In martial enterprise by lands and seas;
How toils nor ills endured nor foemen fought
Might of her love my memory disseize.
And pray her pity have of me and thought.


Tell her how, fighting, in the front of war,
For fatherland and life and honour due,
Love on my horse behind me still I bore.
Who force and valour to my heart anew
Still furnished, so, \vith this to held me true,
Nor fear of war's affrays nor France, distraught
With error, loss and woe, might make me rue,
And pray her pity have of me and thought.

Tell her how I, couched on the naked earth.
To rain and wind exposed and cold and heat,
More than my health and strength of toil and dearth
Endure nor reck of aught but her, my sweet;
And if bytimes with ignorance and conceit
Behoveth me compound, whose bluster haught
Annoy and irksome is to souls discreet.
Pray her in pity have me and in thought.

How to my comrades whiles, for reverie,
I hearken not, or if, to these and those.
Talking, I list, the answer irketh me;
How meat and drink and grace I lose, repose.
And hawks and hounds to me are idle shows:
If war and arms for her of me be sought.
If ease unease to me and friends turn foes,
Pray her in pity have me and in thought.

Brief, if love more than war avail t'endure.
Brief, if her heart give not her looks the lie.
If of her voice assurance me assure
That, in returning, welcome shall be I,
Since that our love unsullied is and high.
My case and Constance to her ear be brought
Of you ; and though I wander far and nigh.
Pray her in pity have me and in thought.



In April late, when Love is born,
I to the garden went one morn,
And there the beauty of a flower
Pleased me o'er any I might see;
'Twas not the burgeon of the bower,
Lily or rose, that pleasured me;
It was the Daisy I love best
Of all the flowers from East to West.

Its heart of gold it had begun
But then to open to the sun.
The perfectest of flowers it is,
That, in its candour, longer blows
Than sweetest pink or fleur-de-lys,
Than pansy, violet or rose.
Of all the flowers, from East to West,
I love the dainty Daisy best.

Let others praise the colours bright
Of other flowers, that fade at night.
As of the rose, that lives an hour
And in one only month's displayed.
But by my art my humble flower
Shall flourish still nor ever fade.
Of all the flowers, from East to West,
I love the dainty Daisy best.

Would God that I one day my fill
Might kiss it and that Love's sweet will
This grace vouchsafe to me that yet
In season cull and have I may
That vermeil youngling floweret,
That waxeth fairer every day!
Of all the flowers, from East to West,
I love the dainty Daisy best.



Enough of tears, enough of dull annoy !
My time of youth I fain would pass in joy,
Which yet as Springtide flow'reth and is green.
Behoveth me in study still be seen?
Enough of tears?

What booteth me the courses of the stars
To know, the influence of Saturn, Mars,
To measure heav'n, earth, ocean, dry and wet,
Or on a paper down the world to set?
Enough of tears !

What booteth me, in this my youthful time,
Gnaw nail and brain, to make a deathless rhyme,
An unoffending table to oppress
And cause my cheek grow pale for thoughtfulness ?
Enough of tears!

What booteth me in verse great Ronsard's glory
To emulate, to know full many a story.
To make a thousand verses in a day,
What while my brain in smoke distils away?
Enough of tears !

Meantime, youth's flower, for uncongenial toil,
Fails like a lily in a foreign soil:
Of hunting, not of tears, and war's alarms
Behoveth speak, of horses, hawks and arms.
Enough of tears !


Behoveth speak of love and solacement :
A mistress fair I've chosen me and gent,
Whose rank I love and honour and her grace:
She standeth me in Muse and Phoebus' place.
Enough of tears !

Worth that one love her and be loved of her,
Should be her husband, friend and worshipper,
She is, for honest, fair she is and wise
And my poor verse disdaineth not to prize.
Enough of tears !

Go, then, my song, and in her bosom lie.
Whose honour, which to me must e'en deny
Such favour, than her lifeblood dearer is.
Ah, how my hand doth envy thee thy bliss!
Enough of tears !


How long, o Lord, wilt Thou with war, year out, year in,
Chastise us thus, wherein, by many a land and way.
Afflicted, wounded, sad, two years well nigh I stray,
With armour on my back, abandoned of my kin?
Thou seest, a masked wolf. Thy scourge ordained for sin.
These twenty years and more us inch by inch away
With war doth seek to waste and noble doth array
'Gainst noble in the field, a state himself to win.
Seest Thou this war not. Lord, (or, when Thou thunderest.
Is it for nought that Thou us men astoniest?)
This war in ten years thrice waged for our sins, in which
Five hundred thousand folk have perished by the sword?
If Thou with civil war destroy us, poor and rich,
Who will thereafterward Thy praises sing, o Lord?


If gentleman on earth was e'er with troubles tried,
'Tis I, who've known but tears and woes for all life's charms.
I love to live in peace and needs must follow harms;
I love a merry life and must in gloom abide;
Honour I love to gain and must my merit hide.
I love to sleep in peace and hearken but alarms;
Virtue I love to see and see but men-at-arms;
I love to war and see but thieves on every side;
I love my native land and in a longdrawn war,
Must wander wretchedly by many a stranger shore;
I love not ignorance and yet must list its prate;
I hear a thousand ills and would be deaf of ear;
Needs must I pillage use, although I pillage hate;
What while I verses make, which all admire that hear.

Thou sayst that I more lucky am than wise.
Well, if to languish, ne'er to sleep in peace.
From town to town to wander without cease.
From place to place to trudge it, pilgrim-wise.
Ills still to see, far from one's native skies,
To lack of good, commodity and ease.
To sweat in Summer and in Winter freeze.
Others to spoil, though pillage one misprize,
To live in doubt and hither, thither course.
In dangers bide, sans mercy or recourse,
To play the sentinel in cold and rain;
Brief, to endure all this without complain,
If this be luck, well, then, I must avow
That in so much I'm luckier than thou.

A Frenchman true by birth, at any rate,
I do confess I love the stranger not;


I loathe the Switzer and the lousy Scot,
Who do but waste and squander our estate.
I hate the Italian's overweening prate,
So skilled at plucking kings by scot and lot;
But (open foes less mischief do, God wot !)
The English and the Turks less sore I hate;
Nor yet the greedy hireling hate so much:
Though churlish, dull and drunken he and such
As to the highest bidder sells his swink
And conscience though he flout and in fair fight
Most often nothing does that's worth a mite.
The dullard teaches us, at least, to drink.

To thee, that writ'st, not having seen my face,
I answer, that have never looked on thee ;
And if till now inapt it was for me
To render thee due thanks in fitting space,
The troublous time, the leisure scant and place
For writing had in war, th'anxiety.
Wherein still honour willeth that we be,
Must e'en excuse me for my lack of grace.
And then thou knowst what little store is set
'Mongst soldiers by such ware and better yet,
What truck they make with verses may'st divine.
Whoso would be esteemed of them must chime
In with their humour, must of women, wine,
Talk and like them nor reason use nor rhyme.

When thus about the world I see us to and fro
Fare, straying, conquerors of many a stronghold we.
Leaving our steeds, to find their pasturage, go free
And camping oft ourselves some shady oak below,
We, that both day and night by wastes and deserts go,


Brosses, of knights-errant, then, the case remembereth me,

Whom at some wood-end range for tilting one might see,

Enduring cold and heat, as we do evenso.

But, if of sweat and toil, of stroke of sword and lance,

Pistol and rapier, such as I for one can show.

We all wellnigh bring back some honourable scar,

I say that we o'erpass, we that have travelled France,

Your errant knights of old in valour and in woe,

For that our pains are true and theirs but fables are.


Some love a blossom, for 'tis blue,
And others choose another hue:
The beauties of the violet,
Lily or pink these celebrate,
And this or th'other floweret
For vermeil tinct or scent those rate;
But I, o'er every flower that blows,
I love the perfume of the rose.

The praises of this vermeil flower,
The livery of the morning hour
That wears, I love to sing and tell.
Of Venus' flower, that hath the name
Of one I love and honour well,
Nor smells less sweet her own fair fame.
I love, o'er every flower that blows,
To sing the praises of the rose.

Of all the flowers it is the pride
And every other far and wide
For grace and perfume doth outvie.
It must not fade at night, as do


The other flowers, that droop and die,
But flower in honour still anew.
I love, o'er every flower that blows,
To sing the praises of the rose.

Its sight and scent it doth not shun
To lavish unto every one;
But, indiscreet, if any go
To handle it on wise unfit.
Its thorny armature doth show
One must not draw too near to it.
I love, o'er every flower that blows,
To sing the praises of the rose.



'Tis sweet on Nature's work to look and see
A meadow green, with flowers enamelled,
A painted bird, an azure fountain-head,
A thicket all in leaf, a flowering tree:
'Tis sweet to look upon the windless sea,
To note the dappled rainbow overhead :
A well and fairly compassed garden-bed,
A lovesome landscape stretching far and free,
A thousand flowers in blossom sweet it is
To see, pinks, roses, violets and lys;
An ardent star, a rosy flush of dawn,
A gracious Spring, a clear sun in the skies.
Are sweet; but I avouch that, in our eyes.
Your beauty's sweeter yet to look upon.

God, to show forth to us some ray in you
Of His own beauty, did your features mould


And for your face, with care and pains untold,
Borrowed the rose's and the lily's hue.
Your eyes' irradiance from a star He drew
And made your hair of pure and lively gold:
Brief, He in you His likeness to behold
Gave us, our thought unto Himself to woo.
He gave you life, so to our mortal view,
By that which but a spark is of His own.
His own immortal beauty might be known.
So, for my part, I'm happy, in my dole.
That, in this war, the grace was granted me,
So fairp beauty in my way to see.

What pleasure can I feel, in this delightsome Spring,
A thousand landscapes, pied with gold, red, green, to view.
The verdant fields and woods to note, the waters blue,
The flower-enamelled meads, the birds upon the wing?
How can I joy, indeed, to hear the small fowls sing.
That in the leafy woods their little consorts woo.
Or list the nightingale, among the leafage new,
My sighs and my regrets for ever echoing?
What booteth me to scent, among the woods and bowers,
Rose, lily, violet, pink, a thousand blooming flowers.
When war endureth still with us and she moreo'er,
For whose sake Peace I willed the world of battle ease
And fain had seen sweet Spring regild the painted leas.
For whose sweet sake I lived, is on the earth no more?

Love, cruel Love, thou causer of my woe,
Rigorous and false, unjust and harsh, ah me !
How happy were the world-all without thee,
What joys possessing, but for thee its foe !


If God thou be, a God of ill, I trow.
Thou art; for sore misfortunate is he
Whose luckless heart, beneath thy stern decree,
Thou hast once set to suffer evermore !
Son, not of Venus, but of some she-bear,
That bore thee in some forest's frightful shade.
Why our desires so devious hast thou made?
Why work'st thou, tyrant, so in Love's affair
That what I flee I have and have it still,
But never have I what I seek and will.


Lovers all, in this fair time

Of the Prime,
Life, despite the tears of France,
In a thousand pleasures pass,

Save, alas !
Me, who live but in mischance.

Earth newborn with heav'n above

Plays at love.
Casting off the cruel cold,
Dons its blossom-broideries new.

Hue on hue.
Red and blue and green and gold.

But I, wellnigh in despair,

Mourning wear.
So of all my dole be kenned;
Sable weeds I bear for tiowers

And the hours
Of my youth in tears I spend.



Hark, the birds their bridals make!

Field and brake
Echo with their amorous song;
Whilst I only, sad and sole.

With my dole,
Dirging go the woods along.

Red and gold, the blossoms run

In the sun.
By the heaven-coloured stream;
But, in middle flowering-time

Of my Prime,
Pale of face I go and dream.

Yonder, hark! the nightingale

Tells the tale
Of the woes of Philomel;
But on other fashion I

Plaining hie.
Calling Death in dale and dell.

What availeth me Spring's air,

Soft and fair?
What to see the earth a-smile,
If Love's poignant cares and sore

Ruthless war
Wage on luckless me the while?

If, for others' laughter, I

Moan and sigh?
If the heav'ns so contrary
Are that they with Winter-time,

Snow and rime.
Hide the pleasant Spring for me?


If my heart in rigour cold

Some one hold?
If she be so young of years
That to every word of love,

Loath to prove
What it is, she shuts her ears?

Like as, with the year's new blood.

From the bud
Springs at dawn the opening rose.
So, in charms and rigorous will

Waxing still,
She I love and honour goes.

Nymph, o'er-young, alack! Love's weal

Yet to feel
Or true passion's worth to know,
That of him to-day a jot

Reckest not.
Whom thou holdest in such woe,

Though great kings thou shouldst, fair lass.

Still in honours, wealth and sheen.
Less thou shouldst not, loving me,

Reckon thee,
Wert thou duchess, ay, or queen:

For 'tis I to heaven's hill.

At my will,
Can, by an immortal rhyme,
Raise and stablish so thy fame

That thy name
Live for fair shall to all time.


Where is honour's, worth's reward,

If ignored?
Since there's nought so dear as glory,
What avails to be fair-faced,

Sweet and chaste,
If it be not known in story ?

Born beneath a luckless star

My loves are.
Must I, then, forever chase
Her who takes, nor e'er, poor swain!

Gives again
My heart prisoned by her grace?

I myself must hate, that so

Her who doth nor love nor prize
Worth in me or any good,

When I could
Otherwhere do otherwise.

Yet, if no more hope have I

Her to spy,
What, woe worth it, shall I do?
Can I, being neither loved

Nor approved,
Hope to be agreed anew?

Who alas! himself embroils

In Love's toils
Bondman weak must reckoned be.
For the more he doth essay,

Thence away
Still the less availeth he.


For the fourth time, wellaway!

France, to-day,
In its entrails feeleth war;
Yet in me of banes and woes

More, God knows.
Do I feel and battles more.

But, to make an end of prate

And debate,
Would that as of yore were I
Mid a thousand steels ableed!

For, indeed,
Than to pine 'twere better die.

Then, adieu, fair nymph, adieu,

Since, in lieu
To my pain of being kind.
To a living death thou me,

Mate to be.
Over-cruelly dost bind.




happy he who may among his kin
Live, free of hate and envy and chagrin,
Among the woods, the meadows and the springs.
Far from the turmoil of the populace,
And who needs not his liberty abase,
To please a prince's passions or a king's !

No care of things unsure he hath nor heed;
On vain delusive hopes he doth not feed;
No favour dupes him with its promise fair;
His lie-deluded youth he doth not curse
Nor in his breast an hundred Furies nurse,
When in the end he findeth nought but air.

He trembles not, when, on the raging sea,
The surges tumble, driven contrary
By howling winds, that stir up wave on wave;
And when anights he sleeps with all his heart.
No trumpet, sounding, wakes him with a start,
To send him from his bed unto his grave.

Ambition stirs his heart not to a glow;
He masketh not his mind with cheating show
Nor violates his faith in anything.
He importuneth not a prince's ear,
Bu% with his lot contented, lives in cheer.
Is his own court, own favour and own king.


I give you thanks, o sacred deities,
Gods of the hills and meadows, woods and seas,
Who to my will contentment do impart,
From my thought driving carefulness away,
Unfruitful expectation and affray
And the desires of the ambitious heart.

My thought within my fields is all enclosed;
If my limbs sleep, my spirit is reposed;
No cruel cares go preying on my brain.
My heat by early morning cool's allayed:
If 'tis too hot, I get me to the shade;
Too cold, I run till I am warm again.

If I lodge not within those gilded halls.
Superb of front, with azure-vaulted walls.
Enamelled all about with many a hue.
Mine eye upon the treasures of the meads.
Rich in pinks, marjoram and lilies, feeds,
And tender-coloured blooms of Springtide new.

In palaces, with vain pomp swelled and lewd,
Ambition, favour, hopes that but delude
And gnawing cares are mostly resident.
Within our fields the fairies have retired.
Queens of the woods, with tresses still untired.
And there Love dwells and solace and content.

Nought in this life but what to me is dear;
The holy music of the birds I hear,
When they salute the heavens in the dawn.
And the sweet murmur of the babbling rills
That issue, purling, from the high-crowned hills
And busy them with watering lea and lawn.


How sweet it is to see two turtledoves
Billing each other with a thousand loves,
Wing pressed to wing and beak to rosy beak !
Then, ravished by their gracious loveliking,
To slumber by some running waterspring,
Whose dulcet murmur seems of Love to speak !

How sweet to see, beneath the swart night's face,
When to the moon the sun hath given place.
The wood-nymphs in the middle boskage meet,
Their snowy bosoms to the breeze afford,
Dance, frolic, cast each other on the sward
And make the herbage tremble to their feet!

Mine eyes from their disports to heaven eftsoon
I raise, attracted by the horned moon.
Clear silver-rayed, that minds me, with her beams.
Of the fair fable of the Latmian herd,
And me a mistress wish as fair and kind;
But fain on wake I'd clip her, not in dreams.

Thus I content my spirits in the night;
Then, when boon Phoebus warms us with his sight,
A thousand other new disports I try
And varying pleasures follow high and low;
Anon I fish, anon a-hunting go
And for the birds anon in ambush lie:

Nor loveliking omit, but on such kind
That nothing I therein but pleasure find.
My darling liberty preserving still;
And whatsoever toils for trapping me
The God may weave, when fain I would go free,
I have the puissance, as I have the will.


Ye gentle sheep, companions kind and true,
Brakes, hedges, bushes, meads and mountains blue,
Bear witness, all of you, to my content !
And you, o Gods, this boon of you I crave,
Until my life go down into the grave.
That I may know no change maleficent.


She whom I love so dear, in dreams, unto my bed,
Her cruelty put by, to cheer me came last night.
Sweet was her speech, her eyes of laughter full and light
And many a thousand Loves went fluttering round her head.

Courage, by dolour urged, I took, with woeful breath
To make complaint aloud anent her heart of stone,
And with a tearful eye, for ruth to her did moan
And prayed her end my woes with pity or with death.

Her kiss-compelling lips soft-opening, thus she spoke
To me with dulcet speech and answered, "Cease thy sighs
"And tears no longer thus force from thy wounded eyes:
"She who hath caused thine ill can heal the heart she broke."

Alack, illusion sweet ! Ah, pleasant miracle !
How little durable it is, a lover's bliss!
Me miserable, alas! Thinking her eyes to kiss.
Little by little, wake I felt my dream dispel.

Yet, by a dear deceit, long time thereafter, still
Mine eyes fast shut I kept nor might my dream forsake;
But my sleep passed away and come the hour of wake,
I found my gladness false and real but mine ill.



The earth, but late with frost beseen,
To-day is carpeted with green;
Her breast is beautified with flowers.
In love with her's the wanton air;
Heaven laughs to look on her so fair:
My tears wax with the waxing hours.

Green are the meadows and the brake
New leafage dons for April's sake;
The fields a thousand treasures show:
But I, of all my glory bare,
No colour still but sables wear;
Black-clad without, within, I go.

The birds, in many a fluttering band.
Their warblings fling o'er sea and land

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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 6 of 9)