LE GALANT TIREUR (poème en prose)THE GALLANT SHOT (prose poem)
Charles Baudelairetrans. Christopher Mulrooney
Comme la voiture traversait le bois, il la fit arrêter dans le voisinage d’un tir, disant qu'il lui serait agréable de tirer quelques balles pour tuer le Temps. Tuer ce monstre-là, n'est-ce pas l’occupation la plus ordinaire et la plus légitime de chacun? - Et il offrit galamment la main à sa chère, délicieuse et exécrable femme, à cette mystérieuse femme à laquelle il doit tant de plaisirs, tant de douleurs, et peut-être aussi une grande partie de son génie.

Plusieurs balles frappèrent loin du but proposé l'une d'elles s’enfonça même dans le plafond; et comme la charmante créature riait follement, se moquant de la maladresse de son époux, celui-ci se tourna brusquement vers elle, et lui dit: "Observez cette poupée, là-bas, à droite, qui porte le nez en l’air et qui a la mine si hautaine. Et bien! cher ange, je me figure que c'est vous." Et il ferma les yeux et il lâcha la détente. La poupée fut nettement décapitée.

Alors s'inclinant vers sa chère, sa délicieuse, son exécrable femme, son inévitable et impitoyable Muse, et lui baisant respectueusement la main, il ajouta: "Ah! mon cher ange, combien je vous remercie de mon adresse!"
As the carriage crossed the wood, he made it stop near the whereabouts of a shooting gallery, saying it would be agreeable to him to shoot a few rounds to kill Time. Killing that monster, is that not the most ordinary and legitimate occupation of everyone? And he gallantly offered his hand to his dear, delicious and execrable wife, to that mysterious wife to whom he owed so many pleasures, so many pains, and perhaps as well a great part of his genius.

Several rounds hit far from the proposed target; one of them even sank into the ceiling; and as the charming creature laughed madly, making fun of her husband's skillessness, he turned brusquely toward her, and said, "Observe that doll, over there, to the right, with its nose in the air and such a haughty look. Fine! dear angel, I'll imagine it's you." And he closed his eyes and pulled the trigger. The doll was neatly beheaded.

Then leaning toward his dear, his delicious, his execrable wife, his inevitable and pitiless Muse, and respectfully kissing her hand, he added, "Ah! my dear angel, how I thank you for my skill!"

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Christopher Mulrooney 2003


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