STANCES À DU PERRIER - SUR LA
MORTE DE SA FILLE
TO PERRIER: ON THE DEATH OF HIS
DAUGHTER
François de Malherbe trans. Peter Dean


Ta douleur, du Perrier, sera donc éternelle?
..........Et les tristes discours
Que te met en l’esprit l’amitié paternelle
..........L’augmenteront toujours?

Le malheur de ta fille au tombeau descendue
..........Par un commun trépas,
Est-ce quelque dédale où ta raison perdue
..........Ne se retrouve pas?

Mais elle était du monde où les plus belles choses
..........Ont le pire destin;
Et, rose, elle a vécu ce que vivent les roses,
..........L’espace d’un matin.

La mort a des rigueurs à nulle autre pareilles;
..........On a beau la prier,
La cruelle qu’elle est se bouche les oreilles,
..........Et nous laisse crier.

La pauvre en sa cabane, où le chaume le couvre,
..........Est sujet à ses lois;
Et la garde qui veille aux barriéres du Louvre
..........N’en défend point nos rois.


Is your grieving, Perrier, then a grief without ending?
..........And the sad self-communing
With which kind fatherhood is now your soul thus rending
..........Not easing off, no time soon?

Will the fate of your girl, sent unripe to the tomb -
..........But fate common to all -
Prove to be at the cost of your lost sense’s doom,
..........No reprieve from the fall?

But she was from that world where the loveliest of things
..........Have the worst of a share;
And, though rose herself, outlived those rose glimmerings -
..........The space of one day’s dare.

For death calls in his due with incomparable command;
..........To appeal is in vain,
Merciless as he is, his ears deaf to our demand,
..........He’ll not answer our pain.

Poor old girl in her hut with its stubble-thatch roof
..........Is subject to his stings;
And the guard who stands watch at the Louvre no proof
..........Of their safety to kings.

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Peter Dean 2007


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