THE POEM THAT INSPIRED HIM

Below is an English rendering aiming prosaically to convey the meaning of the French poems

Il pleure dans mon cœur

Paul Verlain

Tears in my heart

like rain on the city.

What is this ache

that enters my heart?

 

O soft sound of the rain

on the ground and on the roofs!

For a longing heart,

o the song of the rain!

 

No reason for tears

in this disheartened heart.

What! No treason?

This grief has no reason.

 

It is a strange penalty

not to know why,

with no love and no hate,

my heart has so much pain.

Viens, une flûte invisible

Victor Hugo
 

Come! An invisible flute

whispers in the orchards. –

The most peaceful song

Is the song of the shepherds.

 

Under the holly oak the wind rustles

The dark rampart of the waters.

The most joyful song

Is the song of the birds.

 

Let no care torment you.

Let us love! Let us love always! –

The most delightful song

Is the song of love.

Le Pont
Mirabeau

Guillaume Apollinaire

Under Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine

and our loves.

Must I remember it?

Joy always followed pain.

 

Come the night, strike the hour.

The days go by and I remain.

 

Hands in hands let us stay face to face

while under

the bridge of our arms flow

the waters so weary of everlasting gazes.

 

Come the night, strike the hour.

The days go by and I remain.

 

Love passes like this running water,

love passes.

How slow life is

and how hope is violent.

 

Come the night, strike the hour.

The days go by and I remain.

 

The days pass and the weeks pass,

neither past times

nor loves return.

Under Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine.

 

Come the night, strike the hour.

The days go by and I remain.

Je  vis, je

meurs

Louise Labé
 

I live, I die; I burn and drown; I am extremely hot enduring cold: to me life is too soft and too hard. I have great care mixed with joy.

 

All at once I laugh and cry, and while happy many grave torments I endure; my delight goes by, and forever it lasts; all at once I dry up and grow green.

 

Thus love inconstantly leads me; and when I think to have more grief, without thinking I find myself out of pain.

 

Then, when I believe my joy to be certain, and to be at the height of my happiness, it brings me back to my first misery.

And many other...