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This poem – written in the 16th century for King Charles IX's court – is a very well done exercise of style. Based on a quite common image – a girl and a rose – Ronsard manages to create a graceful and sensual poem that glorifies the game of seduction.

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1- Poem:

Mignonne, allons voir si la rose
Qui ce matin avoit déclose
Sa robe de pourpre au Soleil,
A point perdu cette vesprée (old spelling for vêprée)
Les plis de sa robe pourprée,
Et son teint au vôtre pareil.
Las ! voyez comme en peu d’espace,
Mignonne, elle a dessus la place
Las ! las ses beautés laissé choir !
Ô vraiment marâtre Nature,
Puis qu’une telle fleur ne dure
Que du matin jusques au soir ! (old way for jusqu’au)

Donc, si vous me croyez, mignonne,
Tandis que votre âge fleuronne
En sa plus verte nouveauté,
Cueillez, cueillez vôtre jeunesse :
Comme à cette fleur la vieillesse
Fera ternir votre beauté.

ronsard.jpg2- Translation:

Sweetheart, let’s see if the rose
That this morning had open
Her crimson dress to the Sun,
This evening hasn’t lost
The folds of her crimson dress,
And her complexion similar to yours.

Ah! See how in such short space
My sweetheart, she has on this very spot
All her beauties lost!
O, so un-motherly Nature,
Since such a beautiful flower
Only last from dawn to dusk!

So if you believe me, my sweetheart,
While time still flowers for you,
In its freshest novelty,
Do take advantage of your youthful bloom:
As it did to this flower, the doom
Of age will blight your beauty.


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