Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Inspirational French Love Poem

There are many candidates for the greatest French love poem. One of the greatest French love poems in the opinion of Luxury Hedonist  is by Rosemonde Gérard, entitled ‘Lorsque tu seras vieux’, or ‘When you are old’*.

Rosemonde Gérard is a poet and playwright who was the wife of Edmond Rostand, author of Cyrano de Bergerac. The poem was written to Rostand in 1889. Amazingly enough the poem did not achieve immediate success, probably because her husband’s writing had made him much more famous than her.  These days Rosemonde Gérard is famous for the lines:-
Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage,
Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain.
For, you see, each day I love you more,
Today more than yesterday and much less than tomorrow.

The poem became more famous because the phrase was used in a medallion by a jeweler from Lyon 17 years after its publication in 1907, when it became a popular phrase used to express ever-growing love.

The poem starts with a look into the future-

Lorsque tu seras vieux et que je serai vieille,
Lorsque mes cheveux blonds seront des cheveux blancs,
Au mois de mai, dans le jardin qui s’ensoleille,
Nous irons réchauffer nos vieux membres tremblants,
Comme le renouveau mettra nos cœurs en fête,
Nous nous croirons encor de jeunes amoureux,
Et je te sourirai tout en branlant la tête,
Et nous ferons un couple adorable de vieux ;

When you are old, and I am also old,
When my blond hair will be white hair,
In the month of May in the sunny garden
We will heat up our shaky old limbs,
Like a new lease of life would put our hearts in celebration,
We would think ourselves to be still young lovers
And I would smile at you while nodding my head
And we would make an adorable old couple;

Then they begin to chat:-

Sur le banc d’autrefois nous reviendrons causer ;
Nous aurons une joie attendrie et très douce,
La phrase finissant souvent par un baiser,
Combien de fois jadis j’ai pu dire ‘Je t’aime !’

On the old bench we would go back to chatting;
We would have a sweet and emotional happiness,
The sentence often finishing with a kiss,
How many times in the olden days I said ‘I love you’

And an ever increasing love is evident...

Et comme chaque jour je t’aime davantage,
-Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain-
Qu’importeront alors les rides du visage,

And as each day I love you more,
-Today more than yesterday and a lot less than tomorrow-
What does it matter the wrinkles on the face…

….Mes souvenirs a moi seront aussi les tiens,
Ces communs souvenirs toujours plus nous enlacent
…Mais plus fort chaque jour je serrerai la main,
Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage :
Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain !

….My memories will be also yours,
These joint memories will always bind us more
….But every day I will hold your hand tighter
Because, you see, every day I love you more:
Today more than yesterday and much less than tomorrow!

Et de ce cher amour que passe comme un rêve
Je veux tout conserver dans le fond de mon cœur,
Retenir, s’il se peut, l’impression trop brève,
Pour la ressavourer plus tard avec lenteur ;

And of this dear love that passes like a dream
I want to keep everything in the depths of my heart,
Hold, if I can, its fleeting effect
To savour it later with plenty of time;

…Je serai riche alors d’une richesse rare,
J’aurai garde tout l’or de mes jeunes amours ;
Ainsi, de ce passe de bonheur qui s’achève,
Ma mémoire parfois me rendra la douceur,
Et de cher amour que passe comme un rêve
J’aurai tout conservé dans le fond de mon cœur.

I will be rich, but with a rare wealth,
I will have stored all the gold from my young loves
So that if this happiness ever passes,
My memory will sometimes give me back the sweetness,
And of this sweet love which passes like a dream
I will have kept everything in the bottom of my heart.

This love is rich, pure, vibrant and very intense. This couple needs time together, they can almost get lost in each other. Many people talk about ‘growing old together’. This is a wonderful beacon of how it should be done.

You can imagine this couple walking through the lavender fields of Grasse, the same lavender fields that give the sweet smells to the perfume industry. Except that this is their own perfume of love. The glamour of the Cote D’Azur is close by, but they are isolated from this in their very own world. A world of love that grows old together, and like the poem itself takes its time to establish itself and keep growing ever stronger every day.


*Please note that all translations may not convey the exact meaning nor the beauty of the words in the original language, and there may be some unintentional errors in translation.


  1. If you liked this poem, trying looking at Camoes-also truly inspirational.

  2. Thankyou for putting up a very lovely poem!

    I've put part of this poem on a clear stamp, planning to incorporate it on mint pastiles - my next food art project ��

    Feel free to check it out at my page http://facebook.com/stylishfood


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