Parisian Poems

Les Poèmes Parisiennes
Emmanuel Des Essarts

III (translated by Denise DeVries)

Then the young man burst out, “I am, yes,
I am a poet!
Nature shouts out to me and I
interpret its concerts without end.

Mountains, Ocean, and you too, great trees,
Work of God’s hand, created in brilliance,
all a great piano vibrating to my touch.

You transfigure me! You transform my soul!
I feel at last a powerful flame
sparked in my unformed breast,

consuming me, taking my all. Be blessed,
blessed by the one who praises you.
Oh! Even if I die, let me love you!


Puis il [le jeune homme] dit tout a coup: « Je suis, Je suis poète!
La Nature a parle de sa plus haute voix.
De ses concerts sans fin je serai l’interprète.

Montagnes, Océan et vous aussi, grand bois,
Œuvre de Dieu, brillante ainsi que Dieu l’a faite,
Vous tous, clavier géant que vibre sous mes doigts,

Vous me transfigurez ! Vous transformez mon âme !
Je sens que pour jamais il vient de s’allumer
Dans mon sein juvénile une puissante flamme,

Qui me prend tout entier et doit me consumer.
Soyez, soyez bénis par moi qui vous acclame.
Oh ! dussé-je en mourir, laissez-moi vous aimer ! »


When I finally found Les Poèmes Parisiennes, after seeing the book called “fatuous,” I was expecting something like the following quotes:
“Make an amiable intermediary of an egg, which comes between the various parts of food to bring about difficult reconciliations.”
“Take advantage of the gracious condescension of the elegant calf’s kidney, multiply its metamorphoses: you can without giving it any offense, call it the chameleon of cuisine.”

Instead, I saw the rather typical 19th century rhapsodies of a young poet in nature. I’m looking forward to reading more of the collection to see what exactly offended Stéphane Mallarmé.

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