SONNET FROM "LES REGRETS"SONNET FROM "LES REGRETS"
Joachim du Bellaytr. James Kirkup (tanka)
Heureux qui, comme Ulysse, a fait un beau voyage,
Ou comme cestuy là qui conquit la toison,
Et puis est retourné, plein d'usage et raison,
Vivre entre ses parents le reste de son aage!


Quand revoiray-je, helas, de mon petit village
Fumer la cheminée: et en quelle saison
Revoiray-je le clos de ma pauvre maison,
Qui m'est une province, et beaucoup d'avantage?


Plus me plaist le sejour qu'ont basty mes ayeux,
Que des palais Romains le front audacieux:
Plus que le marbre dur me plaist l'ardoise fine,


Plus mon Loyre Gaulois, que le Tybre Latin,
Plus mon petit Lyré, que le mont Palatin,
Et plus que l'air marin la doulceur Angevine.
Happy he who, like
Ulysses, completes a great
voyage; or like he
who gained the Golden Fleece - then
returned, well versed in knowledge,

to his family,
there to spend his days in peace!
Alas, when shall I
see once more rising the smoke
from my small village chimney?

And in what season
shall I see again my poor
dwelling's little plot,
that is to me an entire
province - even more than that?

I feel more pleasure
in my ancestors' works than
in Roman palaces,
so audacious in their pride!
more than marble love fine slate,

Our Gallic Loire than
Latin Tiber; my modest
Lyré than the Mount
Palatine - than salt sea air
our Angevine mellowness.

Click here 3 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © James Kirkup 2002


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