Who Says Renaissance Poetry Isn’t Hot?

If you think old literature is stuffy and boring, they must have made you read the wrong stuff at school. Some Old English riddles are funny enough to make you laugh out aloud, some Middle English romances are touching enough to bring tears to your eyes, and some Renaissance poems are just too beautiful for words. And sexy, too! (Who would’ve thought it, er? *g*)

The following is from a poem I found in THE LYMOND POETRY (my copy arrived earlier today, hooray!): “A la fontaine je voudrais” by Jean-Antoine de Baif (1532-89) (the translation is mine and hopefully mostly correct)

A la fontaine je voudrais
Avec ma belle aller jouer.
Là dedans l’eau nous irions tous deux rafraîchir
Notre amour trop ardent.
Mille douceurs, mille bons mots, mille plaisirs
Mille gentils amoureux jeux se feraient là,
Mille baisers, mille doux embraseements là nous nous donn’rions.
To the fountain I want
to go with my sweet to play.
There in the water the two of us will slake
Our too ardent love.
A thousand sweetnesses, a thousand witty words, a thousand pleasures,
A thousand lovely love games we will play there,
A thousand kisses, a thousand sweet embraces we will give each other there.

2 thoughts on “Who Says Renaissance Poetry Isn’t Hot?

  1. Kate

    You’ve just provided poetry to someone who studied medieval and early modern English literature as her minor in her undergraduate years! It _IS_ great stuff, isn’t it? Your translation is fantastic, btw. Glad I found someone else who has a fascination with the stuff and it’s not just me pondering Old English riddles and the like. =)

  2. Sandy

    Kate, I took lots of German medieval lit courses and loved them! (Well apart from the one on Wolfram von Eschenbach’s WILLEHALM. That romance is just too gory for my liking.) Unfortunately, there weren’t many (i.e. none) courses on English medieval lit on offer, so I went to all that were available in Galway. :O)

    Oh, and guess what I’m going to teach next summer: a survey of medieval lit! Yeah! I’m looking forward to that one.

    I’m glad my translation is okay. :O)

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