LES REGRETS - SONNET CIV SONNET
Joachim du Bellay tr. Andrew Davidson
Si fruicts, raisins, et bledz, et autres telles choses
Ont leur tronc, et leur sep, et leur semence aussi,
Et s'on voit au retour du printemps addoulci,
Naistre de toutes parts violettes, et roses:

Ny fruicts, raisins, ny bleds, ny fleurettes decloses
Sortiront (Viateur) du corps qui gist icy:
Aulx, oignons et porreaux, et ce qui fleure ainsi,
Auront icy dessous leurs semences encloses.

Toy done, qui de l'encens et du basme n'as point,
Si du grand Jules tiers quelque regret te poingt,
Parfume son tombeau de telle odeur choisie:

Puis que son corps, qui fut jadis egal aux Dieux,
Se souloit paistre icy de telz metz precieux,
Comme au ciel Jupiter se paist de l'ambrosie.
Whilst cereals, apples, grapes and such are found
To spring from every seed and stem and cluster,
And whilst we view, as Spring tames Winter's bluster,
Sweet violets and roses all around:

Nor fruit, nor corn, nor flowers shall here abound
(Over this corpse let no such dainties muster!)
But garlic, onions, leeks, display their lustre,
Sprung from the virtue of this sacred ground.

So, while our pangs for Julius are intense,
In place of spikenard or frankincense,
Let onion-breath be wafted round his grave,

For the great frame wherein his soul was housed,
Godlike, as Jove upon ambrosia browsed,
Such savoury delights was wont to crave.

French from the GF Flammarion edition

Trans. Copyright © Andrew Davidson 2005


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