PENDANT QUE LE MARIN ... WHILE THE SAILOR ...
Victor Hugo trans. C.K.Stead


Pendant que le marin, qui calcule et qui doute
Demande son chemin aux constellations;
Pendant que le berger, l'oeil plein de visions,
Cherche au milieu des bois son étoile et sa route;
Pendant que l'astronome, inondé de rayons,

Pse un globe à travers des millions de lieues,
Moi, je cherche autre chose en ce ciel vaste et pur.
Mais que ce saphir sombre est un abme obscur!
On ne peut distinguer, la nuit, les robes bleues
Des anges frissonnants qui glissent dans l'azur.




While the sailor, doubting his calculations,
Asks the constellations to show him the way;
While the shepherd, frightened by moving shadows,
seeks the faintest star to light his path through the wood;
While the astronomer places a single orb

Among a million brilliant points of light -
I must ask something other of the vast pure sky.
But what a black hole that dark sapphire has become!
How can I now, so late, learn to distinguish
Night itself from the blue-robed angel of death?

Les Contemplations, IV x

Trans. copyright © C.K.Stead 2007 - publ. PN Review


next
index
translator's next