Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585): Ronsard’s Choice of Epitaph

Translated by Timothy Adès

CELUY QUI GIST SOUS CETTE TOMBE ICY
AIMA PREMIERE UNE BELLE CASSANDRE
AIMA SECONDE UNE MARIE AUSSY,
TANT EN AMOUR IL FUT FACILE A PRENDRE.
DE LA PREMIERE IL EUT LE CŒUR TRANSY,
DE LA SECONDE IL EUT LE CŒUR EN CENDRE,
ET SI DES DEUX IL N’EUT ONCQUES MERCY

He who lies beneath this stone
loved Cassandra for a start;
Mary too, a second one.
Easy prey for Cupid’s dart!
Fair Cassandra pierced his heart,
Mary seared it, burnt it down.
Loved two women, thanked by none.

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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