William Makepeace Thackeray

(1811-1863 / India)

Ronsard To His Mistress


'Quand vous serez bien vielle, le soir a la chandelle
Assise aupres du feu devisant et filant,
Direz, chantant mes vers en vous esmerveillant,
Ronsard m'a celebre du temps que j'etois belle.'

Some winter night, shut snugly in
Beside the fagot in the hall,
I think I see you sit and spin,
Surrounded by your maidens all.
Old tales are told, old songs are sung,
Old days come back to memory;
You say, 'When I was fair and young,
A poet sang of me!'

There's not a maiden in your hall,
Though tired and sleepy ever so,
But wakes, as you my name recall,
And longs the history to know.
And, as the piteous tale is said,
Of lady cold and lover true,
Each, musing, carries it to bed,
And sighs and envies you!

'Our lady's old and feeble now,'
They'll say; 'she once was fresh and fair,
And yet she spurn'd her lover's vow,
And heartless left him to despair:
The lover lies in silent earth,
No kindly mate the lady cheers;
She sits beside a lonely hearth,
With threescore and ten years!'

Ah! dreary thoughts and dreams are those,
But wherefore yield me to despair,
While yet the poet's bosom glows,
While yet the dame is peerless fair!
Sweet lady mine! while yet 'tis time
Requite my passion and my truth,
And gather in their blushing prime
The roses of your youth!

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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