Les Amours d’Hélène: XLIV by Pierre de Ronsard

By candlelight, at eve, when you are gray,
And seated by the fire to spin and wind,
In wonder then my verses call to mind,
“These Ronsard spun in my once-blooming day.”

Then there can be no maid, in slumber lying,
Though weary from long labor she lie drowsing,
Who will not hear you speak my name, and rousing,
Pour blessings on your name with praise undying.

A formless wraith I shall be, earth-enshrouded,
At rest beneath the myrtles darkly crowded,
And you a withered crone beside the grate,

Lamenting lost love and cold pride in sorrow.
O Listen! Live, and wait not for tomorrow,
But reap the blooms of life ere it is late.

-translated by Kathryn Boswell
………

Quand vous serez bien vieille, au soir, à la chandelle,
Assise auprès du feu, dévidant et filant,
Direz, chantant mes vers, en vous émerveillant:
«Ronsard me célébrait du temps que j’étais belle.»

Lors vous n’aurez servante oyant telle nouvelle,
Déjà sous le labeur à demi sommeillant,
Qui au bruit de Ronsard ne s’aille réveillant,
Bénissant votre nom de louange immortelle.

Je serai sous la terre, et fantôme sans os
Par les ombres myrteux je prendrai mon repos:
Vous serez au foyer une vieille accroupie,

Regrettant mon amour et votre fier dédain.
Vivez, si m’en croyez, n’attendez à demain:
Cueillez dès aujourd’hui les roses de la vie.

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One Comment on “Les Amours d’Hélène: XLIV by Pierre de Ronsard”

  1. russellboyle Says:

    I did not know this poet; thank you for the introduction. And congratulations to Kathryn on the translation. I love the final stanza.


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