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Ballade: In Favour Of Those Called Decadents And Symbolists Translation of Paul Verlaines Poem: Ballade

for Léon Vanier*

(The texts I use for my translations are from: Yves-Alain Favre, Ed.
Paul Verlaine: Œuvres Poétiques Complètes.
Paris: Robert Laffont,1992, XCIX-939p.
) Some few in all this Paris: We live off pride, yet flat broke we’re Even if with the bottle a bit too free We drink above all fresh water Being very sparing when taken with hunger.
With other fine fare and wines of high-estate Likewise with beauty: sour-tempered never.
We are the writers of good taste.
Phoebé when all the cats gray be Highly sharpened to a point much harsher Our bodies nourrished by glory Hell licks its lips and in ambush does cower And with his dart Phoebus pierces us ever The night cradling us through dreamy waste Strewn with seeds of peach beds over.
We are the writers of good taste.
A good many of the best minds rally Holding high Man’s standard: toffee-nosed scoffer And Lemerre* retains with success poetry’s destiny.
More than one poet then helter-skelter Sought to join the rest through the narrow fissure; But Vanier at the very end made haste The only lucky one to assume the rôle of Fisher*.
We are the writers of good taste.
ENVOI Even if our stock exchange tends to dither Princes hold sway: gentle folk and the divining caste.
Whatever one might say or pours forth the preacher, We are the writers of good taste.
*One of Verlaine’s publishers who first published his near-collected works at 19, quai Saint-Michel, Paris-V.
* Alphonse Lemerre (1838-1912) , one of Verlaine’s publishers at 47, Passage Choiseul, Paris, where from 1866 onwards the Parnassians met regularly.
*Vanier first specialised in articles for fishing as a sport.
© T.
Wignesan – Paris,2013

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