"A une Damoyselle malade" translation: "My dear friend"

did this one while reading Douglas Hofstadter's Le Ton beau de Marot in summer 2021. here are the notable characteristics of the poem as identified by Hofstadter:

  • "It is made up of 28 lines".
  • "Each line has 3 syllables."
  • "The stress falls on the last of these syllables."
  • "It is a series of rhyming couplets (AA BB CC DD…)"
  • "The semantic couplets are out of phase with the rhyming couplets: A, AB, BC...."
  • "After line 14 the formal "vous" is replaced by the more colloquial 'tu'."
  • "The last line echoes the first."
  • "The poet slips his own name into the poem."
my translation captures most but not all of these characteristics. the semantic couplets and rhyming couplets are not always out of phase, and if I were to translate this poem again, I might attempt to use "thou" to correspond with "tu" in the second half. nevertheless, I think some of the lines are clever

Clément Marot

A une Damoyselle malade

Ma mignonne,
Je vous donne
Le bon jour;
Le séjour
C’est prison.
Puis ouvrez
Votre porte
Et qu’on sorte
Car Clément
Le vous mande.
Va, friande
De ta bouche,
Qui se couche
En danger
Pour manger
Si tu dures
Trop malade,
Couleur fade
Tu prendras,
Et perdras
Dieu te doint
Santé bonne,
Ma mignonne.

my translation

My dear friend

My dear friend,
You I send
A good day;
You delay
In your cell.
Once you're well,
Open your
Chamber door,
And proceed
With all speed
On a jaunt,
Since Clément
Tells you so.
Darling, go
and indulge,
Not promulge
Your ill health—
Eat a wealth
of sweetmeats;
If my sweet's
Ill too long,
You'll look wrong—
You'll grow pale,
Lose your hale
May God bless
And soon mend
My dear friend.