E. Armand, “Regrets” (1922)

Regrets

Ah! j’aurais bien voulu me montrer vrai toujours ;
Mais souvent, trop souvent, d’infliger de la peine
J’eus crainte et cette peur, empoisonnant mes jours,
Me fut plus qu’une charge: — une effroyable chaine.

Me montrer naturel. Sans masque, sans couleurs,
Souriant quand la joie illuminait ma route;
Aux heures de revers : triste ou versant des pleurs,
Et le front soucieux quand m’obsédait le doute.

Me montrer naturel. Sans voiler mes passions;
De mes désirs éteindre alors qu’il flambe, intense,
L’éclat. Sans redouter d’afficher mes actions
Ou de n’en dire mot, selon que bon j’en pense.

J’ai préféré me taire ou parler comme un sourd,
Comprimant mes élans dans un effort immense.
De n’avoir point osé me montrer vrai toujours
Que j’ai perdu, gâché d’heures da jouissance !

E. Armand.

Regrets

Ah! I would have liked to always show myself honestly;
But often, too often, I was afraid of the punishments that might be imposed.
I was afraid, and this fear, poisoning my days,
Was a heavy burden to bear: — a dreadful chain.

To show myself, naturally, unmasked, uncolored,
Smiling when joy lights my way;
In times of setbacks: sad or shedding tears,
And my brow furrowed when haunted by doubt.

To show myself, naturally, without veiling my passions,
Extinguishing the glare of my desires as they blaze, intensely;
Without fearing to flaunt my actions
Or to say nothing of them, as I think best.

I preferred to be silent or to speak like a deaf man,
Holding back my urges with an tremendous effort.
By not daring to always show myself honestly
How many hours of pleasure I have lost, squandered!

E. Armand, “Regrets,” L’En dehors 1 no. 4 (fin Décembre 1922): 1.

[Adapted to English by Shawn P. Wilbur]

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2417 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.