I do not write of love: I am no lover.
I do not write of beauty: I have no woman.
I do not write of gentleness but the human
rudeness I see. And my pleasures are all over,
so I do not try to write of pleasure, but only
misery. Favors? No, I am on my own.
I do not write of riches: I have none.
Or of life at court, when I'm far from it and lonely.
I do not write of health, for I'm often ill.
I cannot write of France from a Roman hill.
Or honor? I see so little of that about.
I cannot write of friendship but only pretence.
I will not write of virtue, here in its absence.
Or knowledge or faith, in ignorance and doubt.