Pierre de Ronsard

Born: 1524
Pierre was a famous French writer in the1500s. He wanted to be a diplomat but because he was partially deaf and soon became involved with literature. He was also called the Prince of Poets. Pierre's work led to a group called Pleiade which was a very important group of French Poets. His most popular work and perhaps best work was Sonnets for Helene which was from 1573. 

Link to learn more about Ronsard:

Pierre de Ronsard's "To Hélène "

When you are very old, by candle’s flame,
Spinning beside the fire, at the end of day,
Singing my verse, admiring, you will say:
“When I was fair, Ronsard’s muse I become."

Your servant then, some weary old beldame-
Whoever she may be- nodding away,
Hearing “Ronsard.” Will shake off sleep, and pray
Your name will be blessed, to live in deathless fame.

Buried, I shall a fleshless phantom be,
Hovering by the shadowed myrtle tree;
You, by the hearth, a pining crone, bent low,

Whose pride once scorned my love, much to you sorrow.
Heed me, live for today, wait not the morrow:
Gather life’s roses while still fresh they grow.

Analytical Passage  

This poem, portraying the young girl Hélène, describes Pierre's advice for her as she grows older. "To Hélène" is in fact a sonnet but does not classify into the category of either a Shakespearean or Petrarchan. Because it has fourteen lines, it is considered a sonnet but it does not fit into of the categories due to its different rhyme scheme of abba, abba, ccd, ddd. Ronsard's arrogant but admiring tone allows for the reader to understand his affection towards her even as time passes. The first verse uses much visual imagery, picturing an old woman sitting by the fire side while knitting. The last stanza "Singing my verse, admiring, you will say: 'When I was fair, Ronsard’s muse I become.'" Pierre reveals his reason for her fame; him. He uses a alliteration in the second verse saying "Hearing 'Ronsard' Will shake off sleep, and pray" and uses it once again in the third "Buried, I shall a fleshless phantom be," which contributes to the rhythm, making the poem's words flow better. He also uses imagery in the third verse describing "Hovering by the shadowed myrtle tree; You, by the hearth, a pining crone, bent low,". The last stanza in the poem includes a popular figure of speech still used today which is "Gather life’s roses while still fresh they grow" meaning "live for today". The main theme of this poem is the concept of never dieing, or gaining immortailty through fame as Hélène because of Ronsard. Also read throughout this poem is the theme of aging or living in the moment which is the same theme used in the original poem below. 

The Ticking Clock

An interpretation of Pierre re Ronsard's "To Hélène"
Your long hair, gleaming in the sunlight
  Is tangled by the dancing wind in flight
  No edges are rough or creases a sight
  Fresh soul and bright.

The smile fades as the clock hands travel
  Tick, Tock, Tick
  As the limbs become weak and energy unravel
  Quick, quick, quick

But your name, your face, your touch
  Will be kept, embraced, embedded, in clutch
  Your presence lingers and reminds me too much
  Of the days when you smiled but lives on as such

Here with me you stay
  Touch lingering and light
  Fresh soul forever and as always bright. 

By Erica Dischino and 
Katie P.