Orage à Salazie (Storm in Salazie)
How the sky changes! And shadowy night Has amplified darkness over the pinnacles; The firmament's flickering light Veiled beneath its more somber veil. In the distance the storm advances: On all sides reigns a mournful silence; And it appears as if nature, dumb with terror, Is listening to the dull sound Of the coming storm across the clouds, And contemplates night in its sublime horror.
The air weighs heavily. A fetid heat From the heart of the ground spreads Into the air; and occasionally a livid light From the horizon crisscrosses the wilds. Oh! What a night! the sky in its wrath Is going to make a spectacle of itself before the earth! And, tearing its mysterious veils, In its intoxication and its reckless high spirits,
Will reveal to my astonished spirit Something great, imposing and dreadful!
In his fury, a mortal man takes umbrage, Bending his head in silence and darkness, Falls dumb with frenzy and rage: Lightning ignites and flashes from his eyes, His fixed stare sparks with light, And all his features reflect his spirit. Behind his eyelids one sees no tears, But his eye has shone with vengeance; And suddenly, emerging from his silence, In words of flame he pours out his anger.
Night is like that too. Dark and glorious night, You were not destined for repose! In its ecstasy my impudent spirit Wants to merge with your vast chaos. The rain has not yet spent its torrent; Thunder approaches these heights And rumbles and rolls in the sky with splendor;
Its great voice like a mountain crumbling, Or like the sea on its shores unfurling, Fills the immensity with a deep clamor.
But let us listen! The tempest's voice Rises, increases and grows in the air; Overhead the firmament ignites From the vigorous bolts of blood-red fire; The sky is roused, the north wind howls, Echoes resound with a dreadful noise, Upon the rocks, in the forest's heart, A scarlet flame shines and extinguishes, And the thunder bursts and roars, And leaps rumbling from summit to summit.
Wake up, earth, it is yours to try! Come forth from the languor of a noble slumber! From your rest, profaning the mystery, Lightning has just pressed you to stir. Wake up! From your glorious heights, From your forests, from your deep abysses, Let sound your strongest echoes; Make your voice answer the cloud's voice; To the thousand rushes of wind and tempest To their thunderous ecstasies reply with your ecstasies!
And the thunder, sounding so hideous, Opens the cloud and vomits it fury; And the rocks' loud, fearsome voice Seems to struggle in horror and disarray. O lightning, O tempests, O gales, Transport me to the places where you dwell, Surround me with your glory! And, unleashing your chaos upon my head, Let me share the voluptuous mood Of your manly pleasures and wild play.
Oh! If only I could, as thunder does, In my delirium astonish mortals! If only I too possessed earth's hundred voices To reveal my solemn principles! But beneath my fingers, I vainly press My impotent lyre's responding notes; My voice is frail and my sounds listless.
Lightning with wings of fire, earth, skies, night, O, lend to me, so I can breathe out my spirit, Lend me your voice! Lend me your accents!
Les cloches du soir (Evening Bells)
When the evening bells' melancholy voice Summon to their country roof the pastor and his flocks, Scattered through the fields, with plaintive resonance; The memory of my bygone years stirs; And with evening's voices I seem to be lending an ear To the voice of my past days.
Where are my childhood games? With my gorgeous Springtimes they have flown away; fearful swallows, Toward azure climates spreading feeble wings, They feared the too-rough breath of winters . . . Oh! return sometimes to ease my loneliness Sweet ghosts of past days!
Where are my companions of youth and love? Heaven which adored them has broken its pledge; The best are reposing in death's embrace; The souls of those remaining are neglectful and vain . . . Remind my heart of their early affection Sweet voices of my past days!
Where then is that very blonde and trusting girl That I loved while still young with such friendship and zeal? From the path of suffering her footsteps have been wiped away; And of the evening bells, in your dark residence, You no longer hear the voice trembling, mourning your loss, Sweet sylph of my past days!
O bell which in past times, like a holy mother, Called me at night to say my prayers; When warmth will flee from my frozen limbs, May your plaintive tones reach and comfort me; To heaven with your sounds may my soul flee, Sweet voice of my past days!