Monday, January 17, 2011

One Must Approach Without Fear

El Desdichado (The disinherited)
Gérard De Nerval (translation: Richard Sieburth)

I am the man of gloom - widowed - unconsoled
The prince of Aquitaine, his tower in ruin:
My sole star is dead - and my constellated lute
Bears the Black Sun of Melancholia.

In the night of the tomb, you, my consolation,
Give me back Posillipo and the Italian sea,
The flower that so eased my heart's desolation,
And the trellis that twines the rose into the vine.

Am I Eros or Phoebus? Lusignan or Biron?
My brow is still red with the kiss of the queen;
I have dreamt in the grotto where the siren swims. . .

And, twice victorious, I have crossed Acheron:
My Orphic lyre in turn modulating the strains
Of the sighs of the saint and the cries of the fay.

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