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« Las babas del diablo (part 1) | Main | For Esmé - with Love and Squalor »
Wednesday
Nov162011

Verlaine, "Adieu"

A work ("Farewell") by this French poet.  You can read the original here.

For this contempt, alas, I was not made;  
A longer path than my hate's chart. 
But why then was a shorn lamb for me laid,  
And why, o why, this outraged heart?   

'Twas mildly proud souls I was born to please, 
The gifted dreamers who shan't try; 
At times all smiles, at times on pious knees,  
Their glance e'er searching tender sky. 

On lives the goodness of sincere caress,
Despite all that which could appear;
With prudish fear of daily shames' distress,  
Through brutal money and rut's blear. 

On live forgiveness and sweet sacrifice! 
Oft wrong was I, beset with woe.
Your mother was my minion: tender, nice;
But she, at least, my cares would know.

For your loss peace she sought for me, not stress;
She's dead; her grave heard my soft plea.
But I doubt much that she'd approve or bless
This current life or find it sweet.  

I fear to think, so earthbound lonely we,  
That the poor child, your son and mine,
Won't greatly venerate your memory,  
O you who shun us both in mind. 

Such things I was not made to say, I whose
Epithalamium, once my pride,  
Exhaled in glory as my lips would choose,   
That morning song where your voice lied. 

'Twas noble souls whom I was born to please, 
Consolement for a world impure;
With songbird's golden crest and fire-red sleeve, 
I shed my Knight's blood on azure. 

I who must die a soft and modest death,
By eagle envied, and by swan;
Despite its harm to you, in final breath  
A spouse's glory shall be won! 

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