Friday, 2 December 2011

Du Bellay in Bronze.

I was not sure what to make of this medal - I did not exactly buy it - it came with a group of others. It is fairly modern, dated 1962 and had a simple design of flowers with a verse of poetry in French. With my pre-school level of French !! I struggled to translate "I offer these violettes ..........."

J'Offre ces Violettes
Ces Lys ces Fleurettes
Et ces Roses ici
Ces Vermeillettes Roses
Tout Fraichement ecloses
Et ces Oeillets aussi.

Some Googling soon established this a part of a renaissance poem by Joachim Du Bellay (French 1522-60) The title is "From a Winnower of Wheat to the Winds".

To you, troop light
That wing transient
Fly around the World
And a Hissing whisper
The shadowy green
Gently shake.

I offer these violets,
These Lilies and these florets
and these roses here.
These bright red roses,
All freshly blooming
And these carnations too.

From your sweet breath
Fanning the plain
Fan stay
However work tired
In my wheat I value.
In the heat of the day.

Some of this poetry is clearly lost in translation or perhaps it was always romantic nonsense even in the original archaic French. You can see why the middle stanza was used for the medal - a lovely little verse.