Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
Descriptive Poems: I. Personal: Rulers; Statesmen; Warriors
To Mary Stuart
Pierre de Ronsard (1524–1585)
From the French by Louise Stuart Costello

ALL beauty, granted as a boon to earth,
That is, has been, or ever can have birth,
Compared to hers, is void, and Nature’s care
Ne’er formed a creature so divinely fair.
In spring amidst the lilies she was born,        5
And purer tints her peerless face adorn;
And though Adonis’ blood the rose may paint,
Beside her bloom the rose’s hues are faint:
With all his richest store Love decked her eyes;
The Graces each, those daughters of the skies,        10
Strove which should make her to the world most dear,
And, to attend her, left their native sphere.
The day that was to bear her far away,—
Why was I mortal to behold that day?
O, had I senseless grown, nor heard, nor seen!        15
Or that my eyes a ceaseless fount had been,
That I might weep, as weep amidst their bowers
The nymphs, when winter winds have cropped their flowers,
Or when rude torrents the clear streams deform,
Or when the trees are riven by the storm!        20
Or rather, would that I some bird had been
Still to be near her in each changing scene,
Still on the highest mast to watch all day,
And like a star to mark her vessel’s way:
The dangerous billows past, on shore, on sea,        25
Near that dear face it still were mine to be!
O France! where are thy ancient champions gone,—
Roland, Rinaldo?—is there living none
Her steps to follow and her safety guard,
And deem her lovely looks their best reward,—        30
Which might subdue the pride of mighty Jove
To leave his heaven, and languish for her love?
No fault is hers, but in her royal state,—
For simple Love dreads to approach the great;
He flies from regal pomp, that treacherous snare,        35
Where truth unmarked may wither in despair.
Wherever destiny her path may lead,
Fresh-springing flowers will bloom beneath her tread,
All nature will rejoice, the waves be bright,
The tempest check its fury at her sight,        40
The sea be calm: her beauty to behold,
The sun shall crown her with his rays of gold,—
Unless he fears, should he approach her throne
Her majesty should quite eclipse his own.

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