Paul Verlaine

(1844-1896 / France)

Give Ear Unto The Gentle Lay


Give ear unto the gentle lay
That's only sad that it may please;
It is discreet, and light it is:
A whiff of wind o'er buds in May.

The voice was known to you (and dear?),
But it is muffled latterly
As is a widow,-still, as she
It doth its sorrow proudly bear,

And through the sweeping mourning veil
That in the gusts of Autumn blows,
Unto the heart that wonders, shows
Truth like a star now flash, now fail.

It says,-the voice you knew again!-
That kindness, goodness is our life,
And that of envy, hatred, strife,
When death is come, shall naught remain.

It says how glorious to be
Like children, without more delay,
The tender gladness it doth say
Of peace not bought with victory.

Accept the voice,-ah, hear the whole
Of its persistent, artless strain:
Naught so can soothe a soul's own pain,
As making glad another soul!

It pines in bonds but for a day,
The soul that without murmur bears. . . .
How unperplexed, how free it fares!
Oh, listen to the gentle lay!

Submitted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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