Imitation from Colardeau.

Imitation from Colardeau.

"Tu plains mes jours troublés &c" [1] 

No longer weep my days in sorrows past,
Tho' clouds and storms pursue me to the last,
For wisdom's lessons are by sorrow taught
And reason claims the woe-instructed thought.
When uncurbed youth all wild with passion's fire5
Abandoned every rein to mad desire,
Scarce had I felt the raptured, feverish dream,
Ere one rude flash, one strong resistless beam
From Truth's bright torch aroused me from the trance
And all my pleasures vanished at her glance;10
To faithless Love I gave my willing soul,
Woo'd his deceits, and loved his proud control,
Nay when he fled regretted even my pains,
And loathed the freedom which had burst my chains.
Daughters of Memory! to your shrine I flew,15
And offered all my bleeding heart to you!
To you for fame presumptuously I bowed,
And thought your flattering smiles the claim allowed.
But Judgment still repulsed me with a frown
And withered with a look my laurel crown.20
How clouded every view that smiled from far!
How dimmed the lustre of my ruling star!
Ere yet it reached its bright meridian blaze,
Pale thro' malignant vapours gleamed its rays;
No golden threads the fates my days allow,25
Spun all with lingering hand, and sullen brow;
No pleasure strews my path with fairy flowers.
Me Glory calls not from his glittering towers.
Ah! why must life resign its charms so soon,
And shades untimely blacken o'er its noon!30
For bright illusions had its morning drest,
Awhile in flattering dreams my soul was blest,
Too transient error! vanished ere enjoyed,
Why were thy false delights so soon destroyed?
Yet friendship, eloquent the soul to calm,35
Shall o'er my sorrows shed her healing balm,
She loves the thorny couch of care to smooth,
And share the anguish which she best can sooth.
And sure some pleasure this sad heart has left,
While of her soft support not quite bereft,40
This shipwrecked bark its course shall yet maintain,
And piloted by her, the shores of peace shall gain.
When stern Misfortune's lips our hopes reprove,
Bid us despair to please, and cease to love,
How sweet even then the heart to interest,45
And with soft pity touch the generous breast,
And when Love's magic charms for ever end,
Oh! how consoling is the name of friend!


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Imitation from Colardeau" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary. It presents a verse translation of Charles Pierre Colardeau's 36-line poem "A Mon Ami. Stances" which was set to music by Francois-Adrien Boieldieu in 1801:

Tu plains mes jours troublés par tant d'orages,
Mes jours affreux, d'ombres environnés.
Va, les douleurs m'ont mis au rang des sages;
Et la raison suit les infortunés.
A tous les goûts d'une folle jeunesse 5
J'abandonnai l'essor de mes desirs:
A peine, hélas! j'en ai senti l'ivresse,
Qu'un prompt réveil a détruit mes plaisirs.
Brûlant d'amour et des feux du bel âge,
J'idolâtrai de trompeuses beautés. 10
J'aimois les fers d'un si doux esclavage;
En les brisant, je les ai regrettés.
J'offris alors aux filles de mémoire
Un fugitif de sa chaîne échappé;
Mais je ne pus arracher à la gloire 15
Qu'un vain laurier que la foudre a frappé.
Enfin j'ai vu de mes jeunes années
L'astre palir au midi de son cours:
Depuis long-temps la main des destinées
Tourne à regret le fuseau de mes jours. 20
Gloire, plaisir, cet éclat de la vie,
Bientôt pour moi tout s'est évanoui;
Ce songe heureux dont l'erreur m'est ravie
Fut trop rapide, et j'en ai peu joui.
Mais l'amitié sait, par son éloquence, 25
Calmer des maux qu'elle aime à partager;
Et chaque jour ma pénible existence
Devient près d'elle un fardeau plus léger.
Jusqu'au tombeau si son appui me reste,
Il est encor des plaisirs pour mon coeur; 30
Et ce débris d'un naufrage funeste
Pourra lui seul me conduire au bonheur.
Quand l'infortune ôte le droit de plaire,
Intéresser est le bien le plus doux;
Et l'amitié nous est encor plus chere, 35
Lorsque l'amour s'envole loin de nous.
The epigraph literally translates as "you pity my troubled days." BACK