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Chanson d'automne

by Paul Verlaine

Les sanglots longs
Des violons
   De l'automne
Blessent mon coeur
D'une langueur
   Monotone.

Tout suffocant
Et blme, quand
   Sonne l'heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
   Et je pleure;

Et je m'en vais
Au vent mauvais
   Qui m'emporte
De , de l,
Pareil la
   Feuille morte.

Autumn Song

LONG sobbing winds,
The violins
   Of autumn drone,
Wounding my heart
With languorous smart
   In monotone.

Choking and pale,
When on the gale
   The hour sounds deep,
I call to mind
Dead years behind,
   And I weep.

And I, going,
Borne by blowing
   Winds and grief,
Flutter, here— there,
As on the air
   The dying leaf.

Translated by Bergen Weeks Applegate
from Paul Verlaine: His Absinthe-tinted Song (1916)

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(1844-1896)

"I am sorry that I ever met Paul Verlaine, for the remembrance of the devastation which had been wrought in the perishable body of that immortal genius must always be a poignant sorrow. My first sight of this great, simple, beautiful poet and child was in the basement of a café on the Place St. Michel, where there used to be singing, and where the poets gathered. Verlaine was drunk that night, and, as usual, was dressed in rags. He had a false nose on his face (for it was carnival time), and he was piping on a little tin whistle. The spectacle had the terrible comedy touch of Aristophanes. It was tragedy made grotesque. The man had the head and face of Socrates, and here we saw Socrates playing the buffoon. It was 'the glory that was Greece' swathed in the mire of the Paris gutter. I could not bear the sight, and hurried home." ~ Robert Harborough Sherard

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Chanson D'Automne


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