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FIFINE AT THE FAIR
Vous plaît-il, don Juan, nous éclaircir ces beaux mystères ?
Madame, à vous dire la vérité. . .
Ah! que vous savez mal vous défendre pour un homme de cour, et qui doit être accoutumé à ces sortes de choses! J'ai pitié de vous voir la confusion que vous avez. Que ne vous armez-vous le front d'une noble effronterie? Que ne me jurez-vous que vous êtes toujours dans les mêmes sentimens pour moi, que vous m'aimez toujours avec une ardeur sans égale, et que rien n'est capable de vous détacher de moi que la mort ? (Molière, Don Juan, Act 1ier. Scène 3e.)
Don Juan, might you please to help one give a guess,
Madam, if needs I must declare the truth, in short.
Fie, for a man of mode, accustomed at the court
Attempts defence! You move compassion, that's the word Dumb-foundered and chapfallen! Why don't you arm your brow
With noble impudence? Why don't you swear and vow
No sort of change is come to any sentiment
You ever had for me? Affection holds the bent,
You love me now as erst, with passion that makes pale
All ardor else: nor aught in nature can avail
To separate us two, save what, in stopping breath,
THE fancy I had to-day,
Since waves laughed warm and clear.
I lay and looked at the sun,
Live creature, that I could see.
Yes! There came floating by
Because the membraned wings
A handbreadth overhead!
I never shall join its flight,
Can the insect feel the better
Undoubtedly I rejoice
That the air comports so well With a creature which had the choice Of the land once. Who can tell?
What if a certain soul
Which early slipped its sheath,
And has for its home the whole
Thus watch one who, in the world,
But sometimes when the weather
And try a life exempt
From worldly noise and dust,
By passion and thought upborne,
Emancipate through passion
Which sea, to all intent,
Gives flesh such noon-disport
As a finer element
Affords the spirit-sort.
Whatever they are, we seem:
And meantime, yonder streak
If we tire or dread the surge:
Land the solid and safe
To welcome again (confess!) When, high and dry, we chafe The body, and don the dress.
O TRIP and skip, Elvire! Link arm in arm with me!
The tumbling-troupe arrayed, the strollers on their stage,
Now, who supposed the night would play us such a prank?
And Pornic and Saint Gille, whose feast affords the boon
Who saw them make their entry? At wink of eve, be sure ! They love to steal a march, nor lightly risk the lure. They keep their treasure hid, nor stale (improvident) Before the time is ripe, each wonder of their tent Yon six-legged sheep, to wit, and he who beats a gong, Lifts cap and waves salute, exhilarates the throng Their ape of many years and much adventure, grim And gray with pitying fools who find a joke in him. Or, best, the human beauty, Mimi, Toinette, Fifine, Tricot fines down if fat, padding plumps up if lean, Ere, shedding petticoat, modesty, and such toys, They bounce forth, squalid girls transformed to gamesome boys.
No, no, thrice, Pornic, no! Perpend the authentic tale! 'T was not for every Gawain to gaze upon the Grail! But whoso went his rounds, when flew bat, flitted midge,
Might hear across the dusk, where both roads join the bridge, creak a slow caravan,
Hard by the little port,
A chimneyed house on wheels; so shyly-sheathed, began
To broaden out the bud which, bursting unaware,
Now takes away our breath, queen-tulip of the Fair!
Yet morning promised much: for, pitched and slung and reared
On terrace 'neath the tower, 'twixt tree and tree appeared
An airy structure; how the pennon from its dome,
Frenetic to be free! And, do you know, there beats
Why is it that whene'er a faithful few combine
Why is it that, disgraced, they seem to relish life the more?
Misguided ones who give society the slip,
And find too late how boon a parent they despised,