HEUREUX QUI, COMME ULYSSE ... HAPPY THE TRAVELLER ...
Joachim du Bellay tr. Stan Solomons

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 the traveller who like Ulysses,
Or the bold man who took the Golden Fleece,
And then, returning to his native clime,
Lived out the sober balance of his time.

Alas, when shall I see the like again,
The smoking chimneys of my own dear village?
When shall I see the garden of my cottage,
Which is to me a kingdom and a gain?

Better the dwellings ancestors have made,
Than lofty palaces with proud facade.
My poor roof of slate than marble Rome.

Better the river Loire than Roman fountains,
My native village than Italian mountains
Better than sea breeze is the breath of home.

Click here 6 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Stan Solomons 2006


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