Avec ces quatre dromadaires
Don Pedro d'Alfaroubeira2
Courut le monde et l'admira.
Il fit ce que je voudrais faire
Si j'avais quatre dromadaires.
Les poils de cette chèvre et même
Ceux d'or pour qui prit tant de peine
Jason, ne valent rien aux prix3
Des cheveux dont je suis épris.
Voici la fine sauterelle,
La nourriture de Saint Jean.4
Puissent mes vers être comme elle,
Le régal des meilleures gens.
Dauphins, vous jouez dans la mer,
Mais le flot est toujours amer.
Parfois, ma joie éclate-t-elle?
La vie est encore cruelle.
Incertitude, ô mes délices
Vous et mois nous nous en allons
Comme s'en vont les écrevisses,
A reculons, à reculons.
Dans vos viviers, dans vos étangs,5
Carpes, que vous vivez longtemps!
Est-ce que la mort vous oublie,
Poissons de la mélancolie?
1These texts are taken from a sequence of thirty poems.
Louis Durey set most of these to music. Poulec set twelve,
rejecting six of his settings. He later set one more, "La
2Don Pedro d'Alfaroubeira, Infanta of Protugal. One of his companions, Gomez de Santistevan, narrated in his "Historia del Infanta D. Pedro.." that he set off to visit the seven parts of the world with twelve companions and four dromedaries, returning home after three years and four months.
3Jason of the Argonauts, who sailed in quest of the Golden Fleece.
4St. John the Bapist in the desert.
5In the formal pools of the gardens of French Chateaux the carp grow big and old, rarely seeming to move in the still water.
With his four dromedaries
Don Pedro of Alfaroubeira
wandered throughout the world and admired it.
He did what I would wish to do
if I had four dromedaries.
The hair of this goat, and even
that of gold for which Jason made such an effort,
is worth nothing when compared to the value
of the hair with which I am in love.
Here is the fragile grasshopper,
the nourishment of Saint John.
May my verses be like it:
a treat for the very best people.
Dolphins, you play in the sea,
yet the waves are still bitter.
Does my joy ever burst out?
Life is still cruel.
Uncertainty, o my delicacies
you and I, we move about
as crayfish move about,
In your moats, in your ponds,
carp, how long you live!
Has death forgotten you,
fish of melancholy?
© translated by Christopher Goldsack
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