Category Archives: Juan Ramón Jiménez (Spanish poet)

“Comme on voit sur la branche au mois de mai la rose”

 

 

 

a9 Platero y yo 2014

 

 

 

 

a13 Platero and I 1978

 

 

 

 

cover - Lyrics of the French Renaissance

 

 

 

XLVIII

RONSARD

 

Libre ya Platero del cabestro, y paciendo entre las castas margaritas del pradecillo, me he echado yo bajo un pino, he sacado de la alforja moruna un breve libro y, abriéndolo por una señal, me he puesto á leer en alta voz:

Comme on voit sur la branche au mois de mai la rose

En sa belle jeunesse, en sa première fleur,

Rendre le ciel jaloux de…

Arriba, por las ramas últimas, salta y pía un leve pajarillo, que el sol hace, cual toda la verde cima suspirante, de oro. Entre vuelo y gorjeo, se oye el partirse de las semillas que el pájaro se está almorzando.

…jaloux de sa vive couleur…

Una cosa enorme y tibia avanza, de pronto, como una proa viva, sobre mi hombro… Es Platero, que, sugestionado, sin duda, por la lira de Orfeo, viene á leer conmigo. Leernos:

…vive couleur,

Quand l’aube de ses pleurs au point du jour l’a…

Pero el pajarillo, que debe digerir aprisa, tapa la palabra con una nota falsa.

Ronsard se debe haber reído en el infierno…

 

 

— Juan Ramón Jiménez, Platero y Yo: Elegía Andaluza

 

 

 

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RONSARD

 

With Platero already free of his halter and grazing among the chaste daisies of the little meadow, I have stretched-out under a pine tree, taken a small book from my Moorish saddleback and opening it at a marker, have begun to read aloud:

Comme on voit sur la branche au mois de mai la rose

En sa belle jeunesse, en sa première fleur,

Rendre le ciel jaloux de…

Above, in the highest branches, hops and chirps a light bird, which the sun, together with the whole green, sighing treetop, turns to gold. Between flights and warbles, one can hear the crackling of the seeds of which the bird is making a meal.

…jaloux de sa vive couleur…

Something enormous and warm suddenly moves, like a living prow, over my shoulder …. It is Platero, who, attracted, no doubt, by Orpheus’ lyre, has come to read with me. We read:

…vive couleur,

Quand l’aube de ses pleurs au point du jour l’a…

But the tiny bird, who must digest quickly, covers the words with a false note.

Ronsard must have laughed in hell. …

 

— Juan Ramón Jiménez, Platero and I: An Andalusian Elegy; translated by Antonio T. de Nicolάs

 

 

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Comme on voit sur la branche au mois de Mai la rose
En sa belle jeunesse, en sa première fleur
Rendre le ciel jaloux de sa vive couleur,
Quand l’Aube de ses pleurs au point du jour l’arrose :

La grâce dans sa feuille, et l’amour se repose,
Embaumant les jardins et les arbres d’odeur :
Mais battue ou de pluie, ou d’excessive ardeur,
Languissante elle meurt feuille à feuille déclose :

Ainsi en ta première et jeune nouveauté,
Quand la terre et le ciel honoraient ta beauté,
La Parque t’a tuée, et cendre tu reposes.

Pour obsèques reçois mes larmes et mes pleurs,
Ce vase plein de lait, ce panier plein de fleurs,
Afin que vif, et mort, ton corps ne soit que roses.

Pierre de Ronsard, Le Second Livre des Amours, II, iv

 

 

Just as, upon the branch, one sees the rose’s
Bud bloom in May, young blossom newly spread
Before the sky. jealous of its bright red,
As Dawn, sprinkling her tears, the morn discloses;

Beauty lies in its leaf, and love reposes,
Wafting its scent on tree, bush, flowerbed:
But, lashed by rain or torrid heat, soon: dead,
Leaf after leaf its fragile grace exposes.’

So too, blooming with youth, as earth and heaven
Honored your beauty, to Fate was it given
To slay your flesh, which now in ash reposes.’

Take thus these tears that I, in tribute, shed,
This jug of milk, these blossoms heaped, outspread,
So that in death, as life, that flesh be roses.

— translation by Norman R. Shapiro, in Lyrics of the French Renaissance: Marot, Du Bellay, Ronsard (Yale University Press, 2002), pp. 288-289

 

 

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“Comme on voit sur la branche” est un extrait du recueil Sur la mort de Marie publié en 1578 par Pierre de Ronsard [1524-1558]. … La vie de Ronsard fut marquée en particulier par 3 femmes, Marie, Cassandre et Hélène, pour lesquelles il écrivit beaucoup. Ronsard composa ses poèmes surtout sur le thème de la fuite du temps, de l’expression des sentiments…

“Comme on voit sur la branche” est un poème officiel écrit sur demande d’Henri III, c’est-à-dire de circonstance, ce roi venait de perdre sa maîtresse Marie de Clèves décédée à 21 ans en 1574. Ce poème fait un parallèle avec la vie de Ronsard qui a été épris d’une paysanne Marie Dupin, morte en 1573.”

 

https://www.bacdefrancais.net/comme-on-voit-sur-la-branche-ronsard.php#introduction

 

 

“Comme on voit sur la branche” is an excerpt from the collection On the Death of Mary published in 1578 by Pierre de Ronsard [1524-1585]. … Ronsard’s life was marked in particular by three women, Marie, Cassandre and Hélène, for whom he wrote a great deal. ….

“Comme on voit sur la branche” is an official poem written on request of Henry III, that is to say under the circumstance that this king had just lost his mistress Marie de Cleves, who died at 21 years of age in 1574. This poem is parallel with the life of Ronsard who was enamored of a peasantm Marie Dupin, died in 1573.

 

 

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“This poem and the one following are from a cycle of thirteen on “La Mort de Marie” (The Death of Marie) that constitute the second part of Le Second Livre des Amours. Most, if not all, of these poems sing Ronsard’s love, not of the idealized Marie d’ Anjou, as is most often thought, but of Marie de Clèves, wife of Henri de Bourbon, prince de Condé. See the Céard­Ménager-Simonin edition, where the editors note the influence on Ronsard of Petrarch’s poems on the death of Laura. Therein Ronsard found a theme that unified the second part of his own Second Livre des Amour.s and concealed its intended subjects: Marie de Clèves and the grieving Henri III. There are numerous echoes of Petrarch in this sequence.

 

Lyrics of the French Renaissance: Marot, Du Bellay, Ronsard, footnote, pg. 288

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, “Platero y yo”

 

 

 

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895–1968; b. Italy; d. USA) was an Italian composer. He was regarded as one of the foremost guitar composers of the twentieth century.

Posted below is his musical setting of the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez’s book in the form of a prose poem Platero y yo (Platero and I). The book is a simple, semi-autobiographical account about a poet and his donkey. It evokes the region of Andalusia in Spain and the town of Moguer, the author’s birthplace.

The musical setting by Castelnuovo-Tedesco was originally published in 1960 as “Platero y yo, per voce recitante e chitarra.” In other words, it was intended to be performed by guitar player with a narrator speaking the text. It is performed here on guitar without narration.

 

 

 

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It consists of ten sections:

 

1 – Platero

2 – Golondrinas (Swallows)

3 – Angelus

4 – Retorno (Return)

5 – El Pozo (The Well)

6 – La Primavera (Spring)

7 – El Canario Vuela (The Canary Flies)

8 – La Arrulladora (Lullaby)

9 – Melancolia (Melancholy)

10 – A Platero en el cielo de Moguer (To Platero in the heaven of Moguer’s heaven)

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

    May 2017

 

 

 

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Casa-Museo Zenobia y Juan Ramón Jiménez

 

The Casa-Museo Zenobia y Juan Ramón Jiménez (House and Museum of Zenobia and Juan Ramón Jiménez) is located in the town of Moguer in Huelva Province, Andalusia, Spain.

Moguer, the poet’s home town, is the setting for his beloved book of prose poetry Platero y yo (Platero and I).

Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881–1958) was a Spanish poet who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1956 for “his lyrical poetry, which in the Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity.”

Jiménez is one my favorite authors and has been so ever since high school when I read Platero y yo, his most famous book, in English translation.

Zenobia Camprubí (1887–1956) was the poet’s wife. She herself was a writer and poet and the translator of the works of Rabindranath Tagore.

I traveled to Andalusia in May and June of this year with a friend. Jiménez’s birthplace in Moguer, now a museum, was a must see, partly because Platero and yo is suffused with local color.

The museum was well worth the visit.

 

– Roger W. Smith

      June 2016

 

 

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photographs by Roger W. Smith

 

 

the first edition of “Platero and I”

 

Juan Ramón Jiménez, Platero y yo (Platero and I)

The first edition of this prose poem was published in 1914 by Ediciones de la lectura.  A complete edition of 138 chapters was published in 1917 by Editorial Calleja, Madrid.

 

 

Platero y yo- first edition (1914)

 

 

 

 

a horrible book cover – “Platero y yo”

 

 

 

 

a18 Platero y yo - Icelandic

Juan Ramón Jiménez, Platero y yo – Icelandic

 

 

I recently visited the Casa Museo Zenobia y Juan Ramón Jiménez located in Moguer, a small city in the province of Huelva, Andalusia, Spain. The town was the birthplace and home (in his youth and early adulthood) of the poet Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881–1958).

Jiménez is best known for his prose poem about a writer and his donkey, Platero y yo (Platero and I). The book has been translated into innumerable languages.

Show above is a photograph of the Icelandic translation of Platero y yo, which is on display (with many other editions, in many languages) at the Casa Museo Zenobia y Juan Ramón Jiménez. The cover art of this edition baffles me. It shows what is possibly supposed to be (?) a donkey’s tail and a cockroach! A cockroach. Why? And how does this relate to the content of the book?

Platero and I is a wonderful book that leaves the reader with good, warm feelings. It is a popular book for children as well as adults. This cover leaves a distasteful residue — so to speak — in terms of the image and what it suggests.

I experience unpleasantness when I see a cockroach in our house, and this book cover gives me a similar feeling.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

      June 2016

my paper on “Platero y yo”; Luciana de Ames’s Spanish class

 

 

paper on ‘Platero y yo’ (in Spanish)

 

 

The short paper on the prose poem Platero y yo (Platero and I) by the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez — it amounts to an appréciation — that I have posted here (downloadable file above) was written by me in an introductory Spanish course at Columbia University in the 1970’s.

I have been a great admirer of Jiménez since my teenage years, when I found out about him from my older brother. He was reading Jiménez’s classic in an English translation and greatly admired it.

Platero y yo is a simple, semi-autobiographical account, written in the first person, about a poet and his donkey. It evokes the region of Andalusia and the town of Moguer, the author’s birthplace (which I have visited).

Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881–1958) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1956.

 

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My instructor for first year Spanish was Luciana de Ames. I believe she was Italian.

She was gorgeous. It was an all male class. It seemed like the whole class was in love with her. I certainly was.

She was a great foreign language teacher.

I got an A in her course in the spring of 1974 and an A plus from her in the second semester of the course.

I attended a lecture in Spanish that she gave to the Spanish Department. I did not understand most of it. It was on the Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo (1892–1938), who was the focus of her scholarly interest.

Her literary enthusiasms also included Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) by Gabriel García Márquez, which had recently been published. Mrs. de Ames raved about the book.

Mrs. de Ames was married with a son about five years old. I ran into her walking with her son one day in Riverside Park. She was eating from a bag of potato chips. She was very friendly and didn’t seem at all fazed by meeting me in a different setting.

She was a natural. Open and unaffected. Extremely energetic and enthusiastic as a teacher and scholar, a lover of language and literature — it was so much fun being in her class.

 

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Because of the energy crisis, daylight savings rules had been instituted year round. Our class was at 8 a.m. We would be gathered in front of the Casa Hispanica on West 116th Street waiting for Mrs. de Ames to arrive. She would always seem to be running down the street breathlessly, just in time, and would unlock the front door of the building, fumbling with the keys. It was always dark because of daylight savings, not usual for that hour in the morning.

Mrs. de Ames also liked the Nicaraguan writer Rubén Darío (1867-1916). She introduced us to Darío’s poem “Walt Whitman,” which begins:

En su país de hierro vive el gran viejo,
bello como un patriarca, sereno y santo.
Tiene en la arruga olímpica de su entrecejo
algo que impera y vence con noble encanto.

(In his country of iron lives the grand old man / beautiful as a patriarch, serene and holy. / He has in the Olympian wrinkle of his brow / something that prevails and conquers with noble charm.)

In one class, Mrs. de Ames asked, spontaneously — without there being any connection to the lesson — “Quien escribiò Hojas de yierba?” (who wrote Leaves of Grass?). I answered quickly, “Walt Whitman.”

The rest of the class had no clue as to the question. I didn’t either — at first. But it was the kind of question upon which my brain operates fast. I thought, “escribiò”: the word must have something to do with writing — escribir is a Spanish verb meaning to write and has the same root as the English word scribe.

“Hojas de yierba” stumped me for a nanosecond. Then, I thought: “yierba,” sounds like “herbs”; must mean something like grass. So the question must refer to someone who wrote about grass. (I didn’t know what “hojas,” leaves, meant.) It could only be Whitman. Who else wrote about GRASS?

Mrs. de Ames was impressed. So was the rest of the class. There was a bright, friendly law school student in the class. He was rubbing his forehead and asked me with incredulity, “how did you ever get that one?”

 

— Roger Smith

      May 2016

 

Postscript: I have wondered what became of Mrs. de Ames: what her academic career was like and where she might be now. I have been unable to locate her.