GEORGES FOUREST (1867-1945): Le Cid

Translated by Timothy Adès

Le palais de Gormaz, comte et gobernador,
est en deuil : pour jamais dort couché sous la pierre
l’hidalgo dont le sang a rougi la rapière
de Rodrigue appelé le Cid Campeador.

Le soir tombe. Invoquant les deux saints Paul et Pierre
Chimène, en voile noire, s’accoude au mirador
et ses yeux dont les pleurs ont brûlé la paupière
regarde, sans rien voir, mourir le soleil d’or…

Mais un éclair, soudain, fulgure en sa prunelle :
sur la plaza Rodrigue est debout devant elle !
Impassible et hautain, drapé dans sa capa,
 
le héros meurtrier à pas lents se promène :
– Dieu! soupire à part soi la plaintive Chimène,
qu’il est joli garçon l’assassin de Papa !

There is death at Count Gormaz the Governor’s hall:
beneath the cold capstone for ever is laid
the hidalgo whose blood has just reddened the blade
of Rodrigo the Cid, greatest champ of them all.

Black-draped on the mirador – evening must fall –
Chimène is entreating Saints Peter and Paul.
Her eyes are all fiery with tears as she prays:
she watches, unseeing, the last golden rays.

But suddenly lightning has flashed in her face!
In his cape in the plaza below her he stands,
impassive and haughty, with blood on his hands!

The hero goes strolling at moderate pace,
and Chimène turns aside to sigh wistfully, “La!
What a good-looking fellow has butchered papa!”

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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