To Mary


(From the French of Pierre de Ronsard)

As one sees on a stem a rose in May
In all its youthful beauty and first flower
Give back unto the jealous sky colour
When dewy dawn slow pearls the breaking day;
The graceful petal where love doth repose
Embalms the trees and gardens with odour;
But with its weeping or its own ardour
Languishing, there it dies, its petals close.
Thus in your youthful grace and chastity
When ground and sky copied your rare beauty,
This life killed you, in earth deep you repose.
Take as a tribute all my tears and prayers,
This jug of milk, this basket of sweet tares,
For dead or living, you are still a rose!