by Pierre de Ronsard (1524 - 1585)
Translation © by John Glenn Paton

Je ne saurois aimer autre que vous
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG ENG
  Je ne saurois aimer autre que vous,
Non, Dame, non, je ne saurois le faire:
Autre que vous ne me sauroit complaire,
Et fust Venus descendue entre nous.

   Vos yeus me sont si gracieus et dous,
Que d'un seul clin ils me peuvent defaire,
D'un autre clin tout soudain me refaire,
Me faisans vivre ou mourir en deux coups.

   Quand je serois cinq cens mille ans en vie,
Autre que vous, ma mignonne [m'amie]1,
Ne me feroit amoureus devenir.
   Il me faudroit refaire d'autres venes,
Les miennes sont de vostre amour si plenes,
Qu'un autre amour n'y sauroit plus tenir.

J. Castro sets lines 1-8

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Bertrand: "ma vie"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Faith J. Cormier) , "I wouldn't know how to love any but you", copyright © 2000, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (John Glenn Paton) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: John Glenn Paton [Guest Editor]
I could not love anyone but you
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
I could not love anyone but you,
no, lady, no, I could not do it;
no other than you could please me,
even if Venus herself came down among us.

Your eyes are so gracious and sweet to me
that they can undo me with a single wink,
and suddenly make me who again with another wink,
making me live or die in two strokes.

If I lived five hundred thousand years,
no other than you, my darling, [my love]1,
could make me become a lover.
I would have to remake myself with other veins;
my own are so full of love for you
that they could not hold another love.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Bertrand: "my life"


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2011 by John Glenn Paton, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on