Wednesday, 19 December 2018

The Smoker - Marc-Antoine Girard

Upon a faggot set, with pipe in hand and pot,
Loins 'gainst a chimney-back disconsolately leant,
Soul in revolt and eyes to earth in sadness bent,
I chew the cruel cud of my inhuman lot.
Hope, till to-morrow's sun that, will I, will I not.
Still puts me off, essays to temper my lament
And promising me still my fortune's betterment,
O'er th'emperor of Rome would raise me up, poor sot.
But scarcely is the weed to ashes burned away
Than needs forthright I must my high estate down-lay
And all my old annoys pass over in my mind.
Nay, when all's weighed, in fine, I find but little scope
Of difference between tobaccoing and hope;
The one is only smoke; the other is but wind.

Marc-Antoine Girard, Sieur de Saint-Amant (1594-1661) France
Translated by John Payne
Source: Flowers of France: The Renaissance Period, from Ronsard to Saint-Amant, Representative Poems of the Sixteenth Century, translated by John Payne. Villon Society, 1907

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