Today’s poem is a light-hearted, happy piece from Ronsard, somewhat in the spirit of his near-contemporary, Clement Marot. It is intended to bring a smile to the reader/listener and it does so. It is a sonnet addressed by the poet to his lover, scolding her for staying in bed late on a beautiful morning (presumably after an energetic night between the sheets, perhaps…). Anybody who is a “morning person”, living with an “evening person” will recognise these sentiments, but here they are only meant to tease, not provoke.
The spelling is retained in the sixteenth century format, but I don’t think that should pose any difficulty, particulary if the sonnet is read out loud.
Mignongne, levés-vous, vous estes paresseuse,
Jà la gaye alouette au ciel a fredonné,
Et jà le rossignol frisquement jargonné,
Dessus l’espine assis, sa complainte amoureuse.
Debout donq ! allon voir l’herbelette perleuse,
Et vostre beau rosier de boutons couronné,
Et voz œillets aimés auxquels avés donné
Hyer au soir de l’eau d’une main si songneuse.
Hyer en vous couchant vous me fistes promesse
D’estre plus tost que moi ce matin éveillée,
Mais le someil vous tient encor toute sillée :
Ian, je vous punirai du péché de paresse,
Je vois baiser cent fois vostre œil, vostre tétin,
Afin de vous aprendre à vous lever matin.
The opening word, mignonne, occurs fairly frequently in both Ronsard and Marot’s poems and indicates that the poem is addressed to a beautiful young lady, which could be either the poet’s lover or just a young acquaintance. The first line says get up, you are lazy, and you can imagine the poet standing over a bed with a sleepy girl in it. The first stanza goes on to begin to describe some of the pleasures of the morning which the girl is missing – the early morning birdsong of the skylark and the nightingale.
The second stanza repeats the call to get up and accompany the poet out into the garden to see the dew on the lawn and the budding roses and carnations. This indicates an expectation of continuing amorous pursuits.
The third stanza, again still written conversationally, reminds the girl that she had promised to wake up before the poet this morning, and yet she is still asleep.
And so the final stanza brings the solution – the poet will kiss her one hundred times, all over her body, to wake her up and teach her to get up in the morning. We can imagine what that would lead to…
It would be great to think that Ronsard actually wrote this sonnet while waiting for his girl to wake up, and then read it over her sleepy head. That would be a winning strategy, I’m sure…
The Poetry Dude