Pierre de Ronsard

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.

selections from Sonnets pour Hélène, published 1578:

Si c’est aimer...

L'autre jour que j'estois sur le haut d'un degré

Je ne veux comparer tes beautez à la Lune

Vous estes le bouquet de vostre bouquet mesme

Quand vous serez bien vieille...

More poems and information:

There are more poems by Ronsard available at the Florilege collection of French poetry.

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-c. t. iannuzzo