ICAREICARUS
Philippe Desportestr. James Kirkup (tanka)
Icare est cheut icy, le jeune audacieux,
Qui pour voler au ciel eut assez de courage:
Icy tomba son corps degarny de plumage,
Laissant tous braves coeurs de sa cheute envieux.

Ô bien-heureux travail d'un esprit glorieux,
Qui tire un si grand gain d'un si petit dommage!
Ô bien-heureux malheur, plein de tant d'avantage
Qu'il rende le vaincu des ans victorieux!

Un chemin si nouveau n'estonna sa jeunesse,
Le pouvoir lui faillit, mais non la hardiesse:
Il eut, pour le brûler, des astres le plus beau.

Il mourut poursuivant une haute advanture,
Le ciel fut son desir, la mer sa sepulture:
Est-il plus beau dessein, ou plus riche tombeau?
Icarus fell here,
that bold youth who had courage
enough to take wing
towards the heavens. Here fell
his body stripped of feathers,

Leaving all brave hearts
envious of his downfall.
O blessèd workings
of a glorious spirit
Who harvests now such great fame

from such littlle harm!
O blessèd misfortune full
of such advantage
that it makes a victor of
one who is vanquished by years!

A path so new did
not dismay his youthfulness.
Strength failed him, but not
courageousness, for he was burned
by the most splendid of suns.

He died pursuing
a great adventure: the sky
was all his desire,
the Sea his sepulchre - no
finer fate, no richer tomb.

Trans. Copyright © James Kirkup 2002


next
index
translator's next