Mon cœur a beau vous voir prendre, ici, sa querelle

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t k

Senior Member
Korean - Korea
Bonjour.
Please explain "Mon cœur a beau vous voir prendre, ici, sa querelle".
The translation (act 5 scene 6) goes "However warmly you espouse my cause", but I don't know how it came about.
Please help.
Merci. --- tk

Mon cœur a beau vous voir prendre, ici, sa querelle,
1720 Il n'est point en état de payer ce grand zèle;
Et ce n'est pas à vous, que je pourrai songer,
Si, par un autre choix, je cherche à me venger.
(from Le Misanthrope by Molière; a larger context is here)
 
  • intrigue

    New Member
    British English
    I think "avoir beau" has a kind of sense of futility about it,
    For example
    You may well ask (but you won't get an answer).
    You may well give him good advice (but it won't do any good because he won't take it).

    So,
    My heart may well see you take its side in the quarrel (but it can't thank you properly and I'm not asking you to do it).

    I hope that helps. Could be wrong but if so, hopefully this will prompt other responses.
     

    JiPiJou

    Senior Member
    French
    "avoir beau + verb" is often translated by "No matter how hard..." or "Whatever you do..."

    An example : "J'ai beau essayer d'apprendre ce poème, je ne le mémorise pas" : "No matter how hard I try to learn that poem, I can't remember it".

    A song by J.-J. Goldman (meaning : "Whatever I do, I cannot help it. I think of you")
    J’ai beau me dire qu’il faut du temps
    J’ai beau l’écrire si noir sur blanc
    Quoi que je fasse, où que je sois
    Rien ne t’efface, je pense à toi.
     
    Last edited:

    JiPiJou

    Senior Member
    French
    prendre sa querelle :
    >>> querelle : disagreement
    >>> "prendre sa querelle" is not used any more nowadays. Without the context, I would not have been sure of the exact meaning, which is that you take the person's side on a point of disagreement.
     
    Last edited:

    Bezoard

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Please check some of the many threads regarding "avoir beau" :
    Search results for query: avoir beau

    For the obsolete expression "prendre querelle", see an old Dictionary :
    On dit aussi, Embrasser, espouser, prendre la querelle de quelqu’un, pour dire, Prendre le parti de quelqu’un contre ceux avec qui il a querelle : Et, Prendre querelle pour quelqu’un, pour dire, Declarer qu’on entreprend de le venger de ceux qui l’ont offensé.
    Dictionnaire de l’Académie française
     

    lentulax

    Senior Member
    UK English
    lease explain "Mon cœur a beau vous voir prendre, ici, sa querelle".
    The translation (act 5 scene 6) goes "However warmly you espouse my cause", but I don't know how it came about.
    The translator has simply reworked the two sentences 'Mon cœur a beau vous voir prendre, ici, sa querelle, Il n'est point en état de payer ce grand zèle' and turned them into one, 'However warmly you espouse my cause, I'm in no way to pay your zeal in kind'; the 'warmly' picks up the idea of 'ce grand zèle' (more literally, 'Seeing you take up the cudgels on my behalf leaves my heart unmoved; my heart is not in such a state as to repay your great zeal in kind' - so, unless you think that the idea that 'mon coeur a beau ...' and 'mon coeur n'est point en état de...' somehow relate to separate states of feeling, the translator has found a neat solution). [I think you'd have to be very pedantic to argue that 'however warmly you espouse' might more accurately be 'though you warmly espouse']
     
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