floridum mare

The harvest overflowing the multi-colored plain rolls,
undulates, and unfurls in the cool wind cradling it;
and the profile of some harrow on the distant sky
seems like a ship pitching and raising a dark bowsprit.

And beneath my feet the sea, right to the purple west,
sky-blue or pink or violet or ultramarine or
the white horses scattered by the ebb,
becomes infinitely green, like a huge meadow.

The gulls, too, following the flood,
flew in whirlwinds with joyful cries
towards the ripe com swollen by a golden tide;

While from the land a honeyed breeze spread
flights of butterflies over the flowery ocean
after the desire of their winged ecstasy.

José-Maria de Heredia

Advertisements

the bulls

The sea plains, motionless and bare,
cut the depth of the clouds with a long streak of gold.
Only a pink mist, dawdling in the sky,
twists languidly like a slender snake
on the jagged crest of the silent mountains.
A slow breath filled with subtle intoxication
floats over the savannah and the mossy slopes
where muscular, hump-backed bulls with glossy coats,
long horns, and hollow, bloodshot eyes are grazing
upon the short salty grass of the coasts.
Two lean Antongil negroes, loins bent, elbows on knees,
palms beneath their chins, squatting on their hams,
smoke their black pipes absorbed
in the stupidity of a long dream.
But the usual head of the savage herd,
feeling the shadow coming and the hour for the corral,
with silver foam at both corners of his mouth,
stretches out his flat muzzle and bellows over the waves.

Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle

noon

Noon, king of summers, spread over the plain,
falls in silver sheets from the heights of the blue sky.
Everything is quiet. Breathlessly the air flames and burns;
earth drowses in its fiery dress.

The expanse is vast, the fields have no shade,
and the spring where the flocks used to drink is dried up;
the distant forest, whose edge is dark,
motionlessly slumbers over there in a heavy sleep.

Only the great ripe cornfields, like a golden sea,
roll far away disdaining sleep;
as peaceful children of the sacred earth,
fearlessly they drain the sun’s cup.

Sometimes, like a sigh from their burning soul,
from the bosom of the heavy ears, murmuring among themselves,
a majestically slow undulation awakens and
goes to die on the dusty horizon.

Not far away some white oxen lying in the grass
dribble slowly on their heavy dewlaps
and follow with their proud, languid eyes
the inner dream they never finish.

Man, if towards noon you passed into the blazing fields
with your heart full of joy or bitterness,
flee! Nature is empty and the sun devours:
nothing is living here, nothing is sad or joyful.

But if, disillusioned with tears or laughter,
parched for forgetfulness of this busy world,
no longer knowing how to pardon or to curse,
you wish to taste a last desolate pleasure,

Come! The sun speaks to you in sublime words;
be endlessly absorbed in its relentless flame;
and return with slow steps towards the abject cities,
your heart seven times bathed in the divine void.

Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle

barbarina’s song

Handsome knight going to the war,
what will you do
so far from here?
Do you not see that the night is deep
and that the world
brings only trouble?

You who think that an abandoned love
disappears from the mind so, alas! alas!
Seekers of fame,
your smoke too
flies away.

Handsome knight going to the war,
what will you do
so far from us?
I shall weep for it, I who let myself be told
that my smile was
so sweet.

Alfred de Musset

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

an alley in the Luxembourg Gardens

The young girl passed by
as lively and quick as a bird:
in her hand a shining flower,
in her mouth a new song.

She is, perhaps the only one in the world
whose heart would answer mine,
who coming into my deep night,
would light it up with a single glance.

But no, – my youth is over…
Farewell, sweet beam that shone on me, –
perfume, young girl, melody…
Happiness passed by, – it has fled!

Gérard de Nerval

ave, dea; moriturus te salutat

to Judith Gautier

Death and beauty are two deep things
which hold so much shade and light,
that one might say they were two sisters equally terrible and fertile,
holding the same enigma and the same secret.

O women, voices, looks, black hair, blonde plaits,
shine, I am dying! Hold brightness, love, fascination,
O pearls that the sea mingles with its great waves,
O shining birds of the dark forest!

Judith, our two fates are nearer one another
than one would think, to see my face and yours:
the whole divine abyss appears in your eyes,
An I feel the starry gulf in my soul;
we are both neighbors of heaven, Madame,
since you are beautiful and I am old.

Victor Hugo