Thursday, 30 July 2009

Thursday With Théophile

...Gautier, that is. I thought today, especially for the curious amongst you, I'd let you see one of those favourite, French poems that I mentioned yesterday. Here it is.

Pastel

J'aime à vous voir en vos cadres ovales,
Portraits jaunis des belles du vieux temps,
Tenant en main des roses un peu pâles,
Comme il convient à des fleurs de cent ans.

Le vent d'hiver, en vous touchant la joue,
A fait mourir vos oeillets et vos lis,
Vous n'avez plus que des mouches de boue
Et sur les quais vous gisez tout salis.

Il est passé, le doux règne des belles;
La Parabère avec la Pompadour
Ne trouveraient que des sujets rebelles,
Et sous leur tombe est enterré l'amour.

Vous, cependant, vieux portraits qu'on oublie,
Vous respirez vos bouquets sans parfums,
Et souriez avec mélancolie
Au souvenir de vos galants défunts.

While I'm at it, I've decided I may as well post another of Gautier's poems that I love. If nothing else, it may make a few of you use your grey cells in a new way, as you endeavour to translate. Nowhere does Blogger say we have to stick to the English language, what, what, what?!


Chinoiserie

Ce n'est pas vous, non, madame, que j'aime,
Ni vous non plus, Juliette, ni vous,
Ophélia, ni Béatrix, ni même
Laure la blonde, avec ses grands yeux doux.

Celle que j'aime à présent, est en Chine;
Elle demeure avec ses vieux parents,
Dans une tour de porcelain fine,
Au fleuve Jaune, où sont les cormorans.

Elle a des yeux retroussés vers les tempes,
Un pied petit à tenir dans la main,
Le teint plus clair que le cuivre des lampes,
Les ongles longs et rougis de carmin.

Par son treillis elle passe sa tête,
Que l'hirondelle en volant vient toucher,
Et, chaque soir, aussi bien qu'un poëte,
Chante le saule et la fleur du pêcher.

I promise to tell the stories of both the poems, eventually, once I've let them confound you for starters. Who knows, there may be talented, multi-lingual Bloggers who won't be able to wait to leave a comment and translate the lot today!

12 comments:

  1. now you want to make us work?????? heee heee heeee

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  2. I just spoke French for the first time...it sounded pretty good...My g/daughter could translate for me...it was a major for her in school and college.

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  3. Hello Jinksy,

    They both sound beautiful to speak. As they say, French is the language of love! And I have zapped them though the translator, to get the gist but I shall be happy to wait for your renditions.

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  4. French is such a beautiful language. If I could chose a second language it would be French. I wish I could read these lovely poems. Sigh.

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  5. I like the second one better.

    I am concerned about vos cadres ovales.

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  6. I'm going to have to wait on the translation (and I had a year of French....) Does that tell you that I paid 'zero' attention in class... :))
    Smiles,
    Jackie

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  7. Ouch - my brain hurts Jinksy!
    I am not bad on the noun vocab - but the grammar is rusty. I await your translation with eagerness.

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  8. My French is too rusty... domage.

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  9. Bon jour. Merci beaucoup. Je ne parle pas Francais. That's about all the French I know, so I'll *have* to be patient.

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  10. Sadly, when it comes to languages other than English I only speak food, so I'll have to wait for your translations.

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  11. It is unfortunate that I do not know how to read and pronounce French, because then I could read it out loud and hear the rhythm. I have been thinking lately that I would like to learn how to speak French.

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