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Pierre de Ronsard


Translated by Sean ChapmanSean Chapman


I Give You Eggs

I give you eggs. The egg in its round form
Resembles heaven spanning in its reach
The fire, the air and earth, the mood of the sea
and unconfined, comprises all the world.

The membrane is the air; the white of eggs
Is like the sea which engenders all life
The yolk is the animating glow of fire,
The shell maintains gravity like the tug

Of earth, and eggs and heaven both, are white.
I give you (with this egg) the universe:
My present is divine if you are pleased.

But though the egg is pure, it can't vie
with your perfection that has no twin in verse
Of which the Gods alone deserve to speak.


Sonnet XXII from Les Amors Diverses

What? Give me leave to serve any woman,
and douse my growing heat in the first to come,
stray without restraint like a vagabond,
unbridle the heat of my flaring passion?

No, that's not love. The Archer nicked you
with but a pin-prick just above the heart.
A deeper strike and he'd ignite the hurt
of glowing coals in your soul and sulfur too.

And then you'd chase your shadow throughout town--
all through the day, you'd jealously hunt me
with burning ardor, and fury and fear.

Your love, it barely shakes the hem of your gown,
and your passion is like a tryst one sees
at Court where there's much smoke but little fire.