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Séverac - Les hiboux

Les hiboux

Séverac (1898)

Sous les ifs noirs qui les abritent,
Les hiboux se tiennent ranges,
Ainsi que des dieux étrangers,
Dardant leur œil rouge. Ils méditent.

Sans remuer ils se tiendront
Jusqu'à l'heure mélancolique
Où, poussant le soleil oblique,
Les ténèbres s'établiront.

Leur attitude au sage enseigne
Qu'il faut en ce monde qu'il craigne
Le tumulte et le mouvement.

L'homme ivre d'une ombre qui passe
Porte toujours le châtiment
D'avoir voulu changer de place.

Charles Baudelaire

Compare Gray's Elergy.

The owls


Beneath the dark yews which shelter them
the owls stand in a line
like strange Gods;
darting with their red eyes. They meditate.

Without moving they will remain
until the melancholic hour
when, pushing back the oblique sun,
darkness takes hold.

Their stance teaches the wise
that in this world they should fear
tumult and movement.

Man, intoxicated by a passing shadow,
still bears the punishment
of having wanted to swap places.

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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