When I was a young girl I spent a wonderful holiday week in France, with my family and a dear Aunt.

Amongst the souvenirs purchased and brought home, my mother purchased an ashtray which, as well as being pretty, had a beautiful verse:

"Je t'aime aujourd hui plus q'hier, moins que demain"
(which I understood to mean:   "I love you today, more than yesterday, but less than tomorrow").

Although the ashtray is no longer in my possession, those words I have never forgotten.

This well-known expression of romantic love is an extract from verse of the poem of Rosemond Gerard to her husband Edmond Rostand.

Louise-Rose-Etienne Gerard known as Rosemonde Etienne Gerard was a French poet and playwright - the grand-daughter of Etienne Maurice Gerard, one of Napoleon's marshals and a Prime Minister of France.  

Her husband, Edmond Eugene Alexis Rostand was born in Marseille, France, into a wealthy cultured Provencal family.  He was a French poet and dramatist.  He is associated with neo-romanticism, and is best known for his play, Cyrans de Bergerac.  Rostand's romantic plays provided an alternative to the naturalistic theatre popule during the late 19th century.  Another of Rostand's works, Les Romanesques, was adapted to the musical comedy, The Fantasticks.

Rosemonde's poem: L'eternelle chanson (the Eternal Song) she wrote to Rostand in 1889.  It was published in 1890 but did not enjoy immediate success.

The phrase, however,  became celebrated as an expression of ever-growing love when, in 1907 (17 years after its publication), a Lyon jeweller, Alphonse Augis, had the idea of making a brass medallion with the core portion of the verse engraved on it.  This edited the words to "+qu hier - que demain".   The medallions became quite popular and led to the production of other similarly-decorated jewellery items, such as earrings and matchboxes, many older examples include Augis' name.

"Plus qu'hier Moins Que Demain" is also the title of a song by Levis Bouliane, a French film about a family in the countryside of France (1999). 


Les Pipeaux
Car, vois tu, chaque jour je t'aime davantage,
Au'jourd'hui plus qu'hier et bien moins que demain


For you see, each day I love you more,
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow
     (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemonde)

In the website globalaging.org/elderrights/world - I came across the poem, written by Rosemonde to her husband, translated in full: 

When you are old and I am old,
When will my blond hair white hair
In May, the garden s'ensoleille,
We'll warm our old limbs trembling.
As the revival will our hearts in celebration,
We will believe even young lovers,
And I'll smile while shaking his head,
And we'll do a couple of lovely old.
We will look, sitting under our vine,
With small eyes softened and bright
When you are old and I am old,
When will my blonde hair white hair.

On our bench friend, all green with moss,
On the bench once we return caused
We have joy and gentle tenderness,
The sentence always ending with a kiss.
How many times in the past I could say "I love you"?
Then with great care we recount.
We ressouviendrons thousand things, even
From exquisite little things we drool.
A ray will come down, a gentle caress,
Among our hair white, pink, arise
When our old bench while green moss,
On the bench once we return to talk.

And as each day I love you more,
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.
What mattered then facial wrinkles?
My love will become more serious - and serene
Remember that every day memories crowded,
My memories of me will be yours too.
These shared memories always more we entangle
And we constantly weaving between other links.
True, we are old, very old, feeble with age,
But stronger each day I shake your hand
For you see every day I love you more
Today, more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.

And the dear love that passes like a dream
I want to keep everything in the bottom of my heart,
Remember it may feel too short
For the latest ressavourer slowly.
I buried everything that comes to him as a miser
Hoarding hard for my old age;
I'm rich, so rich a rare
I kept all the gold in my young love!
So this past happy ending,
My memory sometimes makes me the sweetness;
And the dear love that passes like a dream
I kept everything in the bottom of my heart. 

When you are old and I am old,
When will my blonde hair white hair
In May, the garden s'ensoleille,
We'll warm our old limbs trembling.
As the revival will our hearts in celebration,
We will believe even the happy days of yore,
And I'll smile while shaking his head,
And you talk to me of love quavering.
We will look, sitting under vine,
With small eyes softened and bright.
When you are old and I am old
When will my blond hair white hair.