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La caravane (1887)

La caravane

La caravane humaine, au Zahara du monde,
Par ce chemin des ans qui n'a plus de retour,
S'en va, trainant le pied, brulée aux feux du jour,
Et buvant sur ses bras la sueur qui l'inonde.
Le grand lion rugit et la tempête gronde;
A l'horizon fuyard, ni minaret, ni tour.
La seule ombre qu'on ait, c'est l'ombre du vautour
Qui traverse le ciel cherchant sa proie immonde.
L'on avance toujours et voici que l'on voit
Quelque chose de vert que l'on se montre au doigt,
C'est un bois de cyprès semé de blanches pierres.
Dieu. Pour vous reposer, dans le désert du temps
Comme des oasis a mis les cimetières …
Couchez vous, et dormez, voyageurs haletants!

The caravan

The human caravan in the Sahara of the world,
Along this road of years that has no return,
Trudges on, burned by the heat of day,
And drinking from its arms the coursing sweat.
The great lion roars and the storm rumbles;
No minaret, no tower on the fleeing horizon.
The only shade is the vulture's shadow
Sweeping the sky for its obscene prey.
On it moves,-and something green now
Is glimpsed, which each points out to the other,
A cypress grove scattered with white stones.
God, for your repose. In the desert of time
Has set, like oases, cemetaries …
Gasping travellers, lie down and sleep!

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Amédée-Ernest Chausson was a French romantic composer. From 1886 until his death in 1899, Chausson was secretary of the Société Nationale de Musique, met with a number of notable figures during his short lifetime, including the composers Henri Duparc, Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, and Isaac Albéniz, the poet Stéphane Mallarmé, the Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, and the impressionist painter Claude Monet. He died at the age of 44 in bicycle accident.

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Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier was a French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, and art and literary critic.

While Gautier was an ardent defender of Romanticism, his work is difficult to classify and remains a point of reference for many subsequent literary traditions such as Parnassianism, Symbolism, Decadence and Modernism. He was widely esteemed by writers as diverse as Balzac, Baudelaire, the Goncourt brothers, Flaubert, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Henry James, Proust and Oscar Wilde.

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