Ronsard’s poem “Le Voyage de Tours” is transcribed and edited here, with the original spelling, from the 1623 edition of the works of Ronsard preserved in the CESR (Tours University).
Imbued with a bucolic atmosphere and a light lyricism reminiscent of the classical eclogue, it describes a delightful journey (possibly real) between the Loir and the Loire, the charms of which are enhanced by mythological masquerading and erotic reveries. The semi-erudite, semi-rustic art of the poem brings brilliantly to life the ethereal qualities of the Loire valley, winged through by herons, swifts and butterflies. Perrot (Ronsard) is accompanied on this trip by his friend Thoinet (Jean Antoine de Baïf), both of them eager to meet up with the ladies they sigh for – respectively, Marion and Francine of Poitou – at a wedding celebrated on an island near Saint-Cosme. When, in the course of this event, Marion’s mother rows her beautiful daughter away in a boat, Perrot-Ronsard imagines himself metamorphosing, Ovidian style, into the river itself – a simple but ingenious transformation which permits him to flow adeptly into a sensuous description of fluvial lovemaking in an enchanted landscape.