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Songs

Placet futile (1913)


Part of a series or song cycle:

3 Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé


Placet futile

Princesse! à jalouser le destin d’une Hébé
Qui poind sur cette tasse au baiser de vos lèvres,
J’use mes feux mais n’ai rang discret que d’abbé
Et ne figurerai même nu sur le Sèvres.
Comme je ne suis pas ton bichon embarbé,
Ni la pastille, ni du rouge, ni jeux mièvres
Et que sur moi je sais ton regard clos tombé,
Blonde dont les coiffeurs divins sont des orfèvres!
Nommez-nous … toi de qui tant de ris framboisés
Se joignent en troupeau d’agneaux apprivoisés
Chez tous broutant les vœux et bêlant aux délires,
Nommez-nous … pour qu’Amour ailé d’un éventail
M’y peigne flûte aux doigts endormant ce bercail,
Princesse, nommez-nous berger de vos sourires.

Futile supplication

Princess! In envying the fate of a Hebe
Who appears on this cup at the kiss of your lips,
I expend my ardour but have only the modest rank of abbé
And shall not figure even naked on the Sèvres.
Since I am not your bearded lap-dog,
Nor lozenge, nor rouge, nor affected games,
And know you look on me with indifferent eyes,
Blonde, whose divine coiffeurs are goldsmiths—
Appoint me … you whose many laughs like raspberries
Are gathered among the flocks of docile lambs
Grazing through all vows and bleating at all frenzies,
Appoint me … so that Love winged with a fan
May paint me there, fingering a flute and lulling this fold,
Princess, appoint me shepherd of your smiles.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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