the ship

The ship perfumed with garlands of roses,
whose cedar side shines in the sun,
has slipped over the waves far from dreary shores,
and it is noon above land and sea.

Above the forests of shining elms and above the sands
it is noon! The ship creaks and trembles in the winds,
and man holds out his arms to the immortal skies,
and the land is alive, and the skies are alive!

They spread the golden sail; its shadow is radiant;
far away the dark oaks and the green lemon-trees
dwindle on the shore, and the thunderous wave
interrupts the sailors’ song with its din:

,,Farewell, white lakes, oaks, torrents, valleys,
caves full of streams and closed by rocks!
We ride on seas veiled by mists,
for die land is barren and the gods are hidden.

You left the East, O light; you have drunk
so many oceans, climbed so many mountains,
that great age has soiled your bright face;
we see you no more, O light, and we love you.

We bent the iron of coulters into anchors;
the old wind of the furrows blew in the sail;
we carried away the springs in goat-skins;
the ship is swollen with the com of nine harvests,

Over there the other sun appears in fertile skies;
we shall bring it back in our sinewy arms;
we shall scatter towns on the islands of the sea
to the thunder of lutes and fiery trumpets !’’

The prow is a pile of roses; on the poop the men,
who carried fate in their hearts, eat;
the sun sank in their cup and sleep turned
them to stone carved above the board.

Only the pilot watches and bright Diana,
whose lovely silver car cleaves the night air,
holding over them her quivering torch,
guides the sleeping crew, floating upon the sea.

Emmanuel Signoret

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