From the French of Pierre Ronsard


When you are very old, at night time, all alone,

Seated beside the fire, life drawn exceeding fine,

Perhaps you’ll say, reciting this or that true line;

‘The beauty of my youth woke his undying tone.’


Alas, there will be no one there who once had known

How beautiful you were, more Greek than Florentine,

To sigh, when you recall this famous name of mine,

And praise you for the poems you did not wish to own.


I shall be gone, a singing phantom from your youth,

Who, in the cypress shadow, lightly sang the truth:

‘The rose is soon forgotten when the wind has blown.’


Will not my face in flickering memory bring you pain?

If so, believe me now, give up this curt disdain.

Be kind, and let the beauty of your heart be shown.