Eugène Pottier, “Already!” (dedicated to Paule Mink)

Eugène Pottier
To the citizen Paule Mink.
At the break of day, the snow falls,
Swirled by the air;
A sheet of dove’s feathers
Covers the deserted cobblestones.
I soon passed that way again,
Where wheels and men’s feet floundered;
No more snow, alas! but slush!
Was she yet fifteen? Certainly not!
Not yet, but at the same time old.
With a great tint to her face,
But nothing of youth or spring.
The dazed look in her eyes
Told what vulture gnawed at her;
I could sense the corpse in her,
She was filthy and suspect,
Who followed her? Some gray hairs,
To the end of a vile alley,
From which soon issued cries.
An officer entered the fray,
Brutally questioned her,
Then packed her off to Saint-Lazare.
[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur; Source: Chants révolutionnaires (1887)]