scherzo

Smiles, flowers, kisses, and essences
perfume the wind of my nights
after such insipid boredom,
after such dreary absences!

Light up my fantasy,
strew my ideal path and
pour me your ambrosia, lingering glances,
lilies, lips, and sandalwood!

    • *

For I know nothing of decrepit love
and eyes unsealed,
since the gold still blazes
in silky tufts on your white neck.

And yet, my proud friend,
it was a long time ago, wasn’t it?
that, weary of loving, you went to sleep
in my arms one morning.

    • *

It is not carnal things
that make your charm unequaled,
that keep those same
sunbeams in your pupils.

For carnal things die or wither
in fresh air.
But your beauties always remain
within their spiritual halo.

    • *

It is no longer the time for jealous tenderness
nor for false oaths.
Tell me nothing of my mistresses;
I do not count your lovers.

    • *

For you, wandering comet,
often loitering on your path,
letting your fair hair float
in the superhuman ether,

What do a few pale stars matter
in my reason’s troubled sky,
when at long intervals you come
to close my horizon round?

    • *

I do not want to know what poles
your mad orbit left behind it;
give me your breasts and shoulders;
let me kiss them, and that is enough.

Charles Cros

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el desdichado

I am the shadow, the widower, the unconsoled,
the Aquitanian prince with the ruined tower;
my only star is dead, and my star-strewn lute
bears the black sun of Melancholy.

You who consoled me, in the night of the tomb,
give me back Posillipo and the Italian sea,
the flower which please my grief-stricken heart so much,
and the arbour where the vine joints with the rose.

Am I Love or Phoebus?… Lusignan or Biron?
My brow is still red from the queen’s kiss;
I have dreamed in the cave where the siren swims. …

And I have twice crossed Acheron victoriously:
tuning in turn on Orpheus’s lyre
the sighs of the saint and the fairy’s cries.

Gérard de Nerval

le lac

So, always impelled towards new shores,
carried forever into eternal night,
can we never cast anchor
in time’s ocean for a single day?

O lake! The year has hardly finished its course and behold!
I come alone to sit upon this stone where you saw her sit,
near the beloved waves that
she was to have seen once more!

Thus you murmured beneath these steep rocks;
thus you broke upon their torn sides;
thus the wind threw the foam from your waves
on her adorable feet.

One evening, do you remember? We were sailing noiselessly;
we only heard far off, on the water and beneath the skies,
the sound of rowers rhythmically striking
the melodious waves.

All at once strains unknown to earth
struck the echoes of the spell-bound shore;
the waves were attentive, and the voice dear to me
let fall these words:

,,O time, suspend your flight! And you, propitious hours,
suspend your course!
Let us taste the swift delights
of the fairest of our days!

,,Enough unhappy beings pray to you down here on earth:
flow on, flow on for them;
together with their days take away the cares that consume them;
forget those that are happy.

,,But in vain I ask for a few more moments;
time escapes me and flees away;
I say to this night: ,,Go more slowly’’; and dawn
will scatter the night.

,,Let us love then, let us love!
Let us hasten to enjoy the fleeting hours!
Man has no harbor, time has no shore:
it flows on, and we pass by! ‘’

Jealous time, can it be that these moments of intoxication,
when love pours us happiness in long draughts,
fly far away from us with the same speed
as days of misfortune?

What! Can we not preserve their trace at least?
What! Gone for ever? What! All quite lost?
The time that gave them, the time that blots them out
will give them back to us no more?

Eternity, nothingness, past – dark abysses –
what do you do with the days you swallow up?
Speak: will you give us back those sublime
raptures that you snatch from us?

O lake! Silent rocks! Caves! Dark forest!
You whom time spares or can make young again,
keep at least the memory of that night;
keep it, fair landscape!

Let it be in your calms or in your storms,
sweet lake, and in the sight of your laughing hillsides,
and in these black pines, and in these wild rocks
overhanging your waters!

Let it be in the breeze trembling and passing by,
in the sounds of your shores and their echoes,
in the silver-browed star that whitens your surface
with its soft lights!

Let the moaning wind, the sighing reed,
the light perfumes of your scented air,
Let everything that is heard, seen, or breathed,
Let everything say: ,,They loved!’’

Alphonse de Lamartine

nocturnal sky

Not a night goes by
That I fail to praise the moon,
Serene in the distance,
While underneath I am in turmoil
Waiting for him who does not come.

Ki no Tsurayuki

divine love

O Lord, if I worship You because of Fear of Hell,
then burn me in Hell;

If I worship You because I desire Paradise,
then exclude me from Paradise;

But if I worship You for Yourself alone,
then deny me not your Eternal Beauty…

Rābiʿa al-ʿAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya

spring

The lotus pond is bristling with pink buds;
the nights grow shorter while the empyrean’s gem,
its cloak of frost unloosed, grows bold.
Now come the days resounding with the cuckoo
and sweet with mango scent
to cut the hearts of ladies separated from their lovers.

Samghasri

sunset

The sky’s flushed face
waken oases
for love’s nomad

Giuseppe Ungaretti