When you are old, when candle and evening cloud
Decay beside you spinning in your chair,
Then sing this song and marvel and cry aloud,
“Great Ronsard praised me in the days when I was fair.”
There shall no maiden spin with you or sing
But shall say “Ronsard” and the name shall ring
And sound your name with everlasting praise.
I shall lie buried and a boneless shade,
By the pale myrtles pluck my last repose;
You will be sitting where the embers fade
Nodding and gazing as the last ash glows,
An old grey woman in grey garments furled.
You shall regret my love and your disdain.
Oh do not linger. Oh, before all is vain.
Gather, Oh gather the roses of the World.
This poem is a translation of Pierre de Ronsard’s Quand Vous Serez Bien Vielle.