Dieu gard ma maistresse et regente

This is a fun poem from Clement Marot, who really piles on the poetic pranksterism in this poem, making it a really enjoyable read. From a fairly sedate and conventional first stanza he launches into elaborate verbal pyrotechnics in the second and third stanzas.

Read and enjoy, with a big smile….

Dieu gard ma Maistresse et Régente,
Gente de corps et de façon!
Son cueur tient le mien en sa tente
Tant et plus d’ung ardant frisson.
S’on m’oyt poulser sur ma chanson
Son de voix, ou Harpes doulcettes,
C’est Espoir, qui sans marrisson
Songer me faict en amourettes.

La blanche Colombelle belle,
Souvent je voys priant, criant :
Mais dessoubz la cordelle d’elle
Me gette un oeil friant riant,
En me consommant, et sommant
A douleur, qui ma face efface :
Dont suis le réclamant amant,
Qui pour l’oultrepasse trespasse.

Dieu des Amans, de mort me garde;
Me gardant, donne-moy bon heur;
En le me donnant, prens ta Darde;
En la prenant, navre son cueur ;
En le navrant, me tiendras seur;
En seurté suyvray l’accointance ;
En l’accoinctant, ton Serviteur
En servant aura jouyssance.

From <http://short-edition.com/classique/clement-marot/dieu-gard-ma-maitresse-et-regente&gt;

The first stanza sets the scene with a declaration of the qualities of the poet’s loved one and his hopes of deepening his love for her and seeing it reciprocated. She is both physically attractive and has a pleasant personality, “Gente de corps et de facon”, and she makes the poet’s heart tremble. He wants to sing and play romantic music on the harp in the hope of becoming closer to her.

In the second stanza, the serious word play begins. In every line the final syllable is repeated in a different word, “Colombelle, belle”, “priant, riant”, and so on down through every line. This is both amusing and playful when spoken out loud and would bring a smile to all the poet’s readers and listeners, including the loved one.

And in the third and final stanza, Marot introduces yet another structure where the main verb or noun in each line is used again in the following line, in a slightly different form, and it all makes perfect sense. The stanza uses this device to underscore the continuity of the process by which his love will become established. In this way the form of the poem supports its content in an elegant and witty way.

Once again, in this poem, Marot succeeds in amusing and surprising the readerwith a lightness of touch and a sure mastery of his poetic technique.

The Poetry Dude


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