"A Landscape at Sunset with Fishermen" by Claude-Joseph Vernet Translation of a Sonnet by Joachim du Bellay The Society September 21, 2017 Beauty, Poetry, Translation 3 Comments Sonnet by Joachim du Bellay (1522-1560) / Translation by Morgan Downs If all our life is no more than a day In the Eternal; if the years which turn Chase off our days without hope of return, So transient are all things, be what they may: O captive soul, why do you dream today? Why unto worldly shadows do you yearn, Whereas, to fly in a more clear sojourn Your back is feathered for the wingèd way? There is the Good that every soul desires, There is the rest to which the world aspires, And there is love, and pleasure evermore. There, o my soul! Shepherded to the skies, The high ideal you shall realize Of beauty, which in this world I adore. Morgan Downs is a poet in his 20s living in Massachusetts. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) 3 Responses Sally Cook September 21, 2017 Although I do not know the translated poet, your translation seems sensitive and well done. Questions: In what language was this poem originally written? Was your translation done as part of a class assignment, or your own idea? Either way, I like what it has to say. Reply Morgan Downs September 21, 2017 The original language is French. Du Bellay was part of a group of poets called La Pleiade, which included Ronsard, the most famous, although I prefer Du Bellay. They introduced classical and renaissance poetic forms and trends to French, and also asserted the French language as a worthy language for poetical expression without feeling the need to slavishly ape Italian or Latin. They are among the first poets in what we could recognize as ‘modern’ French. Personally, I think Du Bellay might be the best sonneteer before the Romantic era. He was the first to use it for themes beyond love. I translated it for my own edification during a time when I had been reading a lot of his work, and French poetry in general, and when I was writing some French sonnets myself. Reply Douglas Thornton September 21, 2017 This is certainly a worthy translation! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.