O Fontaine Bellerie

Pierre de Ronsard must have written the ode we are looking at today some time in the mid 1500s. He is writng about a specific place dear to him since childhood and to which he returns to meditate, compose poetry and enjoy the peace and tranquility of a natural setting, a spring surrounded by meadows and trees near his birthplace.

I enjoy how the rhythm of the poem mimics the burbling of water as it bubbles out of the spring. If you read it aloud, this becomes very obvious.




O Fontaine Bellerie,
Belle fontaine cherie
De noz Nymphes, quand ton eau
Les cache au creux de ta source
Fuyantes le Satyreau,
Qui les pourchasse à la course
Jusqu’au bord de ton ruisseau,
Tu es la Nymphe eternelle
De ma terre paternelle :
Pource en ce pré verdelet
Voy ton Poëte qui t’orne
D’un petit chevreau de laict,
A qui l’une et l’autre corne
Sortent du front nouvelet.
L’Esté je dors ou repose
Sus ton herbe, où je compose,
Caché sous tes saules vers,
Je ne sçay quoy, qui ta gloire
Envoira par l’univers,
Commandant à la Mémoire
Que tu vives par mes vers.
L’ardeur de la Canicule
Le verd de tes bords ne brûle.
Tellement qu’en toutes pars
Ton ombre est espaisse et drue
Aux pasteurs venant des parcs.
Aux beufs laz de la charuë,
Et au bestial espars.
Iô, tu seras sans cesse
Des fontaines la princesse,
Moy célébrant le conduit
Du rocher perse, qui darde
Avec un enroué bruit
L’eau de ta source jazarde
Qui trepillante se suit.

From <http://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/%C3%94_Fontaine_Bellerie&gt;


So this is not only a fine poem about nature, but it is also a very personal piece reflecting the poet’s real love of this particular place; it makes me feel close to him, even at a distance of some 550 years.

The Bellerie spring id an idyllic spot in this poem, conjuring up visions of nymphs and satyrs, but with a real presence in its midst as the poet brings a young kid goat to graze and drink the fresh water while the poet himself lies down on the grass under the willow trees to compose poems like this one. The place is a cool, refreshing refuge for shepherds, oxen and wild animals even on the hottest summer day, it is an oasis of calm fertility and repose.

I can only hope that this place remains such a peaceful spot today – I would love to visit and find out.


The Poetry Dude


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