by Anonymous / Unidentified Author and sometimes misattributed to William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
Translation by François-Victor Hugo (1828 - 1873)

Fair is my love, but not so fair as...
Language: English 
[Fair is my love, but not so fair as fickle;
Mild as a dove, but neither true nor trusty;
Brighter than glass, and yet, as glass is, brittle;
Softer than wax, and yet, as iron, rusty:
A lily pale, with damask dye to grace her,
None fairer, nor none falser to deface her.

Her lips to mine how often hath she joined,
Between each kiss her oaths of true love swearing!
How many tales to please me hath she coined,
Dreading my love, the loss thereof still fearing!
Yet in the midst of all her pure protestings,
Her faith, her oaths, her tears, and all were jestings.]1

She burn'd with love, as straw with fire flameth;
She burn'd out love, as soon as straw outburneth;
[She framed the love, and yet she foil'd the framing;
She bade love last, and yet she fell a-turning.
Was this a lover, or a lecher whether?
Bad in the best, though excellent in neither.]1

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website: 2004-10-20 00:00:00
Last modified: 2019-07-24 20:02:53
Line count: 18
Word count: 160

Jolie est ma bien‑aimée, mais moins...
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Jolie est ma bien-aimée, mais moins jolie que capricieuse ;
douce comme une colombe, mais ni fidèle, ni digne de confiance ;
plus brillante que le verre, mais, comme le verre, fragile ;
plus molle que la cire, et pourtant, comme le fer, sujette à la rouille.

Pâle lis, embelli de nuances rosées !
En éclat nulle ne l’éclipse, nulle en fausseté !

Que de fois elle a joint ses lèvres aux miennes,
proférant entre chaque baiser un serment d’amour !
Que de contes elle a forgés pour me plaire,
redoutant mon amour, mais sans cesse en craignant la perte !

Pourtant, au milieu de toutes ces pures protestations,
sa parole, ses serments, ses larmes, tout était dérisoire.

Elle a brûlé d’amour, comme la paille prend feu ;
elle a brûlé l’amour, aussi vite que le feu brûle la paille.
Elle a édifié l’amour, et pourtant elle en a dégradé l’édifice.
Elle a fait vœu d’amour durable, et pourtant elle est tombée dans l’inconstance.
Était-ce là une amoureuse, ou une libertine ?
Elle était mauvaise en ce qu’elle avait de meilleur, sans exceller en rien.

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Researcher for this text: Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website: 2016-01-25 00:00:00
Last modified: 2016-01-25 16:31:37
Line count: 18
Word count: 185