L’ORIGINE DES MÉTIERS THE ORIGIN OF TRADES
François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire trans. William F. Fleming
Quand Prométhée eut formé son image
D’un marbre blanc façonné par ses mains,
Il épousa, comme on sait, son ouvrage:
Pandore fut la mère des humains.
Dès qu’elle put se voir et se connaître,
Elle essaya son sourire enchanteur,
Son doux parler, son maintien séducteur,
Parut aimer, et captiva son maître;
Et Prométhée, à lui plaire occupé,
Premier époux, fut le premier trompé.

Mars visita cette beauté nouvelle:
L’éclat du dieu, son air mâle et guerrier,
Son casque d’or, son large bouclier,
Tout le servit, et Mars triompha d’elle.
Le dieu des mers, en son humide cour,
Ayant appris cette bonne fortune,
Chercha la belle, et lui parla d’amour:
Qui cède à Mars peut se rendre à Neptune.
Le blond Phébus, de son brillant séjour,
Vit leurs plaisirs, eut la même espérance:
Elle ne put faire de résistance
Au dieu des vers, des beaux-arts, et du jour.

Mercure était le dieu de l’éloquence:
Il sut parler, il eut aussi son tour.
Vulcain, sortant de sa forge embrasée,
Déplut d’abord, et fut fort maltraité
Mais il obtint par importunité
Cette conquête aux autres dieux aisée.
Ainsi Pandore occupa ses beaux ans,
Puis s’ennuya sans en savoir la cause.
Quand une femme aima dans son printemps,
Elle ne peut jamais faire autre chose;
Mais pour les dieux, ils n’aiment pas longtemps.
Elle avait eu pour eux des complaisances:
Ils la quittaient; elle vit dans les champs
Un gros satyre, et lui fit les avances.

Nous sommes nés de tous ces passe-temps;
C’est des humains l’origine première:
Voilà pourquoi nos esprits, nos talents,
Nos passions, nos emplois, tout diffère.
L’un eut Vulcain, l’autre eut Mars pour son père,
L’autre un satyre; et bien peu d’entre nous
Sont descendus du dieu, de la lumière.
De nos parents nous tenons tous nos goûts.
Mais le métier de la belle Pandore,
Quoique peu rare, est encor le plus doux;
Et c’est celui que tout Paris honore.
When with a skilful hand Prometheus made
A statue that the human form displayed,
Pandora, his own work, to wed he chose,
And from those two the human race arose.
When first to know herself the fair began,
She played her smile's enchantment upon man;
By softness and alluring speech she gained
The ascendant, and her master soon enchained;
Her beauty on Prometheus' sense ne'er palled,
And the first husband was the first enthralled.
The god of war soon saw the new-formed fair;
His manly beauty and his martial air,
His golden casque and all his glittering arms
Pandora pleased, and he enjoyed her charms.
When the sea's ruler in his humid court
Had heard of this intrigue from fame's report,
The fair he sought, a like reception found,
Could Neptune fail where Mars a triumph found?
Day's light-haired god from his resplendent height
Their pleasures saw, and hoped the same delight;
She could not to refuse him have the heart,
Who o'er the day presides and every art.
Mercury with eloquence declared his flame,
And in his turn he triumphed o'er the dame.
Squalid and sooty from his forge, at first
Vulcan was ill-received, and gave disgust;
But he by importunity obtained
What other gods with so much ease had gained.
Pandora's prime thus winged with pleasure flew,
Then she in languor lived, nor wherefore knew.
She that devotes to love her life's first spring,
As years increase can do no other thing;
For e'en to gods inconstancy is known,
And those who dwell in heaven to change are prone.
Pandora of her favors had been free
To gods who left her; happening then to see
A satyr who through plains and meadows strayed,
Smit with his mien, she love-advances made.
To these amours our race existence owes,
From such amusements all mankind arose;
Hence those varieties in talents spring,
In genius, passions, business, everything:
To Vulcan one, to Mars one owes his birth,
This to a satyr; very few on earth
Claim any kindred with the god of day,
Few that celestial origin display.
From parents each his taste and turn derives:
But most of all trades now Pandora's thrives;
The most delightful, though least rare it seems,
And is the trade all Paris most esteems.
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