Week 385: Rondeau de Printemps, by René Charles d’Orléans

A slight improvement this week in the miserable weather we have been having here of late, so I thought I would celebrate with this charming rondeau by the French duke-cum-poet René Charles d’Orléans (1394-1465). It captures some of the joy that people in the Middle Ages must have felt at the return of spring. And of course, for those of us who grew up in homes without central heating, the Middle Ages lasted well into the nineteen-fifties.

The translation that follows is my own.

Rondeau de printemps

Le temps a laissé son manteau
De vent, de froidure et de pluie,
Et s’est vêtu de broderie,
De soleil luisant, clair et beau.

Il n’y a bête ni oiseau
Qu’en son jargon ne chante ou crie:
Le temps a laissé son manteau
De vent, de froidure et de pluie.

Rivière, fontaine et ruisseau
Portent en livrée jolie
Gouttes d’argent, d’orfèvrerie;
Chacun s’habille de nouveau:
Le temps a laissé son manteau.

René Charles d’Orléans

Spring Rondeau

The season has put off its wear
Of wind and cold and rain
And robed itself in sunlight now,
All’s radiance again.

There’s not a bird and not a beast
But echoes the refrain:
The season has put off its wear
Of wind and cold and rain

While river, brook and fountain bear
A liquid livery
Of silver and gold filigree;
So one and all, new clad, declare
The season has put off its wear.

1 thought on “Week 385: Rondeau de Printemps, by René Charles d’Orléans

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