Classic Novels, Ranked in Order of How Easy They Are to Study
Let those who are in favor with their stars
Of public honor and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlooked for joy in that I honor most.
Great princes' favorites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun’s eye,
And in themselves their pride lies burièd,
For at a frown they in their glory die.
The painful warrior famousèd for worth,
After a thousand victories once foiled,
Is from the book of honor razèd quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toiled.
Then happy I that love and am belovèd
Where I may not remove nor be removèd.
Let fortunate people boast about their prizes and their titles, while I—who am not lucky enough to get such rewards—experience unexpected joy in what I honor most: your love. Those courtiers who enjoy high status because they’re the favorites of great princes are like marigolds. They bloom as long as the sun shines on them, but their pride is fragile—one frown will kill them. And once a famous warrior who has painfully endured and won a thousand battles is defeated, he’s stripped of all his honors, and all of the successes that he worked for are forgotten. How much happier am I, who love and am loved in a place I cannot leave and from which others cannot remove me.