Bas Jongenelen 



Met zijn Engelse vriend Ben Parsons, die aan de Universiteit van Sheffield verbonden is, vertaalt Bas Jongenelen Nederlandse gedichten in het Engels, onder meer van Jan van der Noot. Hier zijn er een paar, de eerste vier sonnetten uit Het Bosken:


Venus to Cupid On the Nature of Things


True, you have tried to catch him by surprise,

And spread your nets wide to pin down your prey,

But your strategy was flawed, I must say:

You need to determine where his heart lies.


Is it with a rich girl, with noble blood-ties?

Or one that indulges in all forms of play

At every banquet? Is it one who may

Pursue honour in fine array and rich guise?


Or a girl full of piety and cleanness?

Or a crazed beast? A kinswoman of Venus?

Or is it one whose virtue is well known?


This young man's nature is good, kind and warm,

And each man is entranced by his own form:

Find a girl whose face resembles his own.





I saw a gentle doe, her hide shining white,

In a lush green glen where many trees sway,

As I went walking in the sweet time of May.

She lay by a river of waters bright,


Beside a forest, dense and dark like night,

As the sun's hands began to shape the day.

What I saw was comely and neat, true to say:

Her face was to me such a beautiful sight


That I had to follow, leaving all else in haste.

The words 'No man may move me' had been traced

In fine diamonds around her graceful throat


On a gold collar. I wished to stay alert:

I swore that I would, for she may yet be hurt

By brutes in some foreign land, cruel and remote.





Like two fine, gleaming emeralds are her eyes,

Excellently polished, perfect and clear:

Well-set to every witness they appear.

They are inlaid with pearl; on each soft dew lies,


As when Aurora warms the eastern skies.

Even precious gold brings my heart less cheer

Than her brows and braided hair, which have no peer:

Their colours make me gasp; they tantalise.


Whiter than fair ivory are her teeth

Sheathed in banks of coral, above and beneath.

All these shades are seen at their most pure


In her face, which is matchless, without flaw.

This is why she makes my heart twist and race:

My love is as pure as the colours in her face.





Where will you go, my dear, where do you plan to go?

You turn from me, my sweet, before you know my mind.

Why do you torture me, heaping pain on top of woe?

My love is fair, true and faithful, good and refined.


Why do you flee from me? Where do you plan to go?

My love for you is faithful, good and refined,

So, do not torture me, heaping pain on top of woe,

But stay, my love, and learn how my heart is inclined.


Your beauty, your purity, your sweet and gentle mores,

Your wisdom and your wit, which follow virtue's laws,

Your eyes, alluring and clear, the honour you arouse,


Your pure blonde tresses, echoed by fine eyebrows:

All this pleases me. Until time itself is spent

I want to be near you, through both joy and torment.




En dit is het refereynken uit Mariken van Nieumeghen in het Engels:



Oh rhetoric, of all arts truest and best,

It shames me to say, that while I rank you first,

Other men traduce you

And even abuse you:

Your loyal followers now feel sore pressed.

To him I say Fie!, who like some brute, cursed,

Pays you little heed.

Fie! Such a woeful deed

Drives me to despair.

But I know that there

Are many who will weep when they hear me mourn:

It is the artless who have left art so forlorn.


Good art should give pleasure, states an old saying,

Which I hold for a fable, not worth a bean.

If there is a fine artist, skilled in portraying,

And a third-rate hack whose knowledge is mean,

The latter will be everywhere heard and seen,

While the real artist starves and shivers, in scorn.

The panderer will always grow fat and preen.

One day the truth will on every man dawn:

It is the artless who have left art so forlorn.


Fie on the boorish, dull, rude and obtuse,

Who think that they can such things understand!

The purest art should every man seduce:

Art should before all other things stand;

Art should be the pride of each lovely land;

Every true artist honour should adorn.

Fie on art's detractors, the brutish and bland!

Because of you this conclusion I have drawn:

It is the artless who have left art so forlorn.


Prince-like, to the true arts I will turn

And as well as I can the arts I will learn,

For no man with skill in the arts was born.

It is for all artists a source of concern,

That uncultured men the arts always spurn.