A SCEPTIC AT CHRISTMAS

Posted by Admin on Saturday, 23rd February 2008, 00:00

I hear the bells chime Noel through the night,
and, faithless, hold my pen above this page;
O mem’ries, sing! Now all my pride takes flight,
again most bitter thoughts my mind engage.

Nocturnal voices, carolling their praise,
from yonder shining nave reproaches bring;
maternal, sweet, and tender, ev’ry phrase,
my heart, too full, must break to hear them sing.

I listen long to bells across the night;
an outcast, lone, to whom the wind conveys,
amidst his squalor, poignant tidings, bright
with festival of distant, bygone days.

 

A translation of “Noel Sceptique” by Jules Laforgue

Noël! Noël! J’entends les cloches dans la nuit …
et j’ai sur ces feuillets sans foi pose ma plume ;
O souvenirs, chantez ! tout mon orgueil s’enfuit,
et je me sens repris de ma grande amerturne.

Ah ! ces voix dans la nuit chantant Noël ! Noël !
M’apportent de la nef qui, la-bas, s’illume,
un si tendre, un si doux reproche maternel,
que mon cœur trop gouflé crève dans ma poitrine …

Et j’ecoute longtemps les cloches, dans la nuit …
Je suis le paria de la famille humaine,
a qui le vent apporte en son sale réduit
la poignante rumeur d’une fete lointaine.

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.

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