Pierre Ronsard
Pierre de Ronsard,
poète français (1524-1585)

Ronsard (1524-1585) was one of the stars of the Pléiade, French humanists who were inspired by classical culture, but sought to create a French literature. His poetry is wonderfully musical, sensuous, pagan, romantic. Although a cleric in minor orders, he was constantly celebrating the beauties and sorrows of his various loves. He was patronized by Charles IX and wrote pieces for some of Catherine de' Medici's court pageants, but he was much more than a royal apologist. These poems were written near the end of his life, when he fell in love with the much younger Hélène, a lady-in-waiting to Catherine de' Medici who kept him dangling but refused his passion for her. Sorrow is good for poets, as these poems testify

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from Sonnets pour Hélène chandelle,

Assise auprez du feu, devidant et filant,
Direz, chantant mes vers, en vous esmerveillant:
Ronsard me celebroit du temps que j'estois belle.
Lors vous n'aurez servant oyant telle nouvelle,
Desja sous le labeur à demy sommeillant,
Qui au bruit de Ronsard ne s'aille resveillant,
Benissant vostre nom de louange immortelle.
Je seray sous terre, et fantosme sans os,
Par les ombres myrteux je prendray mon repos;
Vous serez au fouyer une vieille accroupie,
Regrettant mon amour et vostre fier desdain.
Vivez, si m'en croyez, n'attendez à demain,
Cueillez dès aujourd'huy les roses de la vie.

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