LES FAUX BEAUX JOURS ... THE FALSE FINE DAYS (from Sagesse, 1880)
Paul Verlaine trans. Allen Prowle

Les faux beaux jours ont lui tout le jour, ma pauvre âme,
Et les voici vibrer aux cuivres du couchant.
Ferme les yeux, pauvre âme, et rentre sur-le-champ;
Une tentation des pires. Fuis l’Infâme.

Ils ont lui tout le jour en longs grêlons de flamme,
Battant toute vendange aux collines, couchant
Toute moisson de la vallée, et ravageant
Le ciel tout bleu, le ciel chanteur qui te réclame.

Ô pâlis, et va-t’en, lente et joignant les mains.
Si ces hiers allaient manger nos beaux demains?
Si la vieille folie était encore en route?

Ces souvenirs, va-t-il falloir les retuer?
Un assaut furieux, le suprême sans doute!
Ô, va prier contre l’orage, va prier.

The false fine days, my soul, have shone all day,
and now they tremble in the copper sunset.
Then close your eyes, my soul, return in haste:
of the very worst is this temptation. Flee its infamy.

They have shone all day, pouring down their fiery hail,
thrashing the hillside’s vines, flattening
the valley’s crops, and ravaging
the bright blue sky, the sky whose song is your call.

Turn pale, and slowly go away, clasping your hands.
What if these yesterdays should eat away our fine tomorrows?
What if it were still at large, that madness?

Must I again those memories slay?
a furious assault, doubtless the very last!
Oh, go pray against the storm, go and pray.

Trans. copyright © Allen Prowle 2010


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