Tony Cousins: ‘From Ronsard’


From Ronsard
(Quand vous serez bien vieille)

When in old age, at night, by candlelight
You’re seated near the fire, spinning your wool,
You’ll say—singing my verse, and full of wonder—
“Ronsard praised me when I was beautiful”.
Then, not a maid hearing what you say,
(And though she’s half-asleep as she works)
Who at my name’s sound will not start awake—
Blessing your name made deathless by my praise.
I shall be underground: a boneless ghost.
By the myrtles’ shadows I’ll find rest.
You’ll be a crone squatting by her fire,
Regretting my love and your high disdain.
Live, if you understand; don’t look ahead.
Gather this day the roses of this life.

Tony Cousins

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