At first, Sir John, I must confess to you
that Lady Helen's white and ruby glow
is only hers, if truth is to be told,
in that her money's spent to make it so.
But after that I also must confess
the beauty of her lie is so extreme
that never could a rival hope to try
her loveliness to best by natural means.
Yet do not be surprised that my desire
pursues this clear deceit, since we all know
that Nature's ways are surely devious too:
for that blue heaven that we all admire
is neither blue nor heaven. What a shame
that such great beauty should be so untrue!
Bartolomé Leonardo de Argensola
Translation by Alix Ingber