When you are old, at evening candle-lit
beside the fire bending to your wool,
read out my verse and murmur, “Ronsard writ
this praise for me when I was beautiful.”
And not a maid but, at the sound of it,
though nodding at the stitch on broidered stool,
will start awake, and bless love’s benefit
whose long fidelities bring Time to school.
I shall be thin and ghost beneath the earth
by myrtle shade in quiet after pain,
but you, a crone, will crouch beside the hearth
mourning my love and all your proud disdain.
And since what comes to-morrow who can say?
Live, pluck the roses of the world to-day.
Pierre de Ronsard