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Charles Williams  (1886-1945)

After Ronsard

When you are old, and I - if that should be -
   Lying afar in undistinguished earth,
And you no more have all your will of me,
   To teach me morals, idleness, and mirth,
But, curtained from the bleak December nights,
   You sit beside the else-departed fire
And 'neath the glow of double-poléd lights,
   Till your alert eyes and quick judgement tire,
Turn some new poet's page, and to yourself
   Praise his new satisfaction of new need,
Then pause and look a little toward the shelf
   Where my books stand which none but you shall read:
And say: 'I too was not ungently sung
When I was happy, beautiful, and young.'

"Quand vous serez bien vieille... (When you are old...)" - Pierre de Ronsard (from "Sonnets pour Hélène")
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revised 24 November 2005
URL http://www.wussu.com/poems/cwar.htm