Or­age à Salazie (Storm in Salazie)

New England Review - - Translations - The sky is changed! —By­ron

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!

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