To Daniel Halévy



If I had a large bag of gold or copper coins
With a little nerve in loins, lips or hands
Abandoning my vanity - horse, senate or book,
I would flee far away, yesterday, this evening or tomorrow

To the raspberry strewn lawn - emerald or carmine! -
Free from rustic irritations, wasps dew or frost
I want to sleep with, love or live for ever
With a warm boy, Jacques, Pierre or Firmin.

Be gone the timid scorn of Those who judge!1
Doves, send down your snow! Sing, young elms! Ripen, apples!
I want to breathe his scent until I die!

Beneath the gold of reddening suns, beneath the pearl of moons
I want... to faint away and believe myself dead
Far from the mournful knell of importunate Virtues!


Written November 1888.

1. Difficult to translate: "Arrière le mépris timide des Prud'hommes!" Prud'homme can mean a member of a tribunal, a skillful artist/tradesman but is presumably also a reference to the poet Sully Prudhomme.


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