Here is a poetic musing by Ronsard on the subject of love (not many poems about that, of course). The title “Little Ode to his mistress” might indicate that he doesn’t regard it as one of his major works, perhaps it is a poem dashed off in an idle moment, but nonetheless it is definitely of its time and a good example of Ronsard’s more light-hearted style. The subject of the poem is that if you are in love, you want to be loved in return. That seems fair enough, unless the other person doesn’t love you. Except here Ronsard points the finger at those who don’t return love more out of principle rather than taste or feeling.
Pierre de RONSARD (1524-1585)
Odelette à sa maistresse
Je veux aymer ardentement,
Aussi veus-je qu’egallement
On m’ayme d’une amour ardente :
Toute amitié froidement lente
Qui peut dissimuler son bien
Ou taire son mal, ne vaut rien,
Car faire en amours bonne mine
De n’aymer point c’est le vray sine*.
Les amans si frois en esté
Admirateurs de chasteté
Et qui morfondus petrarquisent,
Sont toujours sots, car ils meprisent
Amour, qui de sa nature est
Ardent et pront, et à qui plest
De faire qu’une amitié dure
Quand elle tient de sa nature.
So of course, love is passionate, it sets the lover on fire, and it demands reciprocity. Those who are cold in love are foolish, chastity is no fun. So let rip with love and set aside reluctance or resistance.
I hope Ronsard’s mistress got the message. How could she resist, if delivered in such a poem.
There are many parallels between this piece and yesterday’s post of the poem by Adrian Henri. Take a look…
The Poetry Dude