Marot, voici (si tu le veux savoir)

Today’s wonderful poem, from sixteenth century French court poet Clement Marot, is in the form of a note to himself, listing the sources of happiness, a kind of check-list of what he needs for contentment in life. If you like, it is an earlier version of that 1980s song by Ian Dury and the Blockheads, “Reasons to be cheerful, part3”.

There is more than a hint in a couple of places that the poet is apt to forget all this and not count his blessings – in the first and the next to last line, where the qualifier, “if you want to know” is added in, clearly meaning that there are times when Marot perhaps dwells too much on misfortune and life’s setbacks.

De soi-même

[Epigr IV,4]

Clement Marot

 

Marot, voici (si tu le veux savoir)

Qui fait à l’homme heureuse vie avoir:

Successions, non biens acquis à peine,

Feu en tout temps, maison plaisante, et saine,

Jamais procès, les membres bien dispos,

Et au dedans, un esprit à repos,

[Contraire à nul, n’avoir aucuns contraires,

Peu se mêler des publiques affaires,]

Sage simplesse, amis à soi pareils,

Table ordinaire, et sans grands appareils,

Facilement avec toutes gens vivre,

Nuit sans nul soin, n’être pas pourtant ivre,

Femme joyeuse, et chaste néanmoins,

Dormir, qui fait que la nuit dure moins,

Plus haut qu’on n’est ne vouloir point atteindre,

Ne désirer la Mort, ni ne la craindre:

Voilà, MAROT, si tu le veux savoir,

Qui fait à l’homme heureuse vie avoir.

 

From <http://clementmarot.com/epigrams.htm#De_soi-même_>

My top three of these sources of happiness?

  • ‘Sage simplesse, amis a soi pareils”
  • “Facilement avec toutes gens vivre”
  • “Femme joyeuse”

The Poetry Dude

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