French Poem – Le Pélican by A. de Musset

Alfred de Musset, La Nuit de Mai, Le Pélican

Lorsque le pélican, lassé d’un long voyage,
Dans les brouillards du soir retourne à ses roseaux,
Ses petits affamés courent sur le rivage
En le voyant au loin s’abattre sur les eaux.

Déjà, croyant saisir et partager leur proie,
Ils courent à leur père avec des cris de joie
En secouant leurs becs sur leurs goitres hideux.

Lui, gagnant à pas lents une roche élevée,
De son aile pendante abritant sa couvée,
Pécheur mélancolique, il regarde les cieux.

Le sang coule à longs flots de sa poitrine ouverte:
En vain il a des mers fouillé la profondeur:
L’Océan était vide et la plage déserte:
Pour toute nourriture il apporte son coeur.

Sombre et silencieux, étendu sur la pierre
Partageant à ses fils ses entrailles de pére,
Dans son amour sublime il berce sa douleur,

Et, regardant couler sa sanglante mamelle,
Sur son festin de mort il s’affaisse et chancelle,
Ivre de volupté, de tendresse et d’horreur.

Mais parfois, au milieu du divin sacrifice,
Fatigué de mourir dans un trop long supplice,
Il craint que ses enfants ne le laissent vivant

Alors il se souléve, ouvre son aile au vent,
Et, se frappant le coeur avec un cri sauvage,

Il pousse dans la nuit un si funèbre adieu,
Que les oiseaux des mers désertent le rivage,
Et que le voyageur attardé sur la plage,
Sentant passer la mort, se recommande à Dieu.

(Repeat faster).

Translation from the Video:

The May Night, The Pelican

When the pelican tired of a long journey,
In the evening mists returns to his reeds,
His starving youngs run on the bank
When they see him from afar dropping to the waters.

Already, thinking to seize and share their prey,
They run to their father with cries of joy,
Shaking their beaks on their hideous goiters.

He, reaching with slow steps a raised rock,
With his dangling wing protecting his brood,
Sad fisherman, he looks to the skies.

The blood flows in long waves from his open chest;
In vain heas he searched the depths of the sea;
The Ocean was empty and the shore deserted;
All the food he can bring is his hear.

Dark and silent, stretched out on the rock
Sharing his fatherly entrails to his sons,
In his sublime love he soothes his pain;

And, watching his bloody breast drop,
On this death-feast he sinks and staggers,
Drunk on pleasure, on tenderness and horror.

But sometimes, in the middle of the divine sacrifice,
Weary to die in a too long torment,
He fears that his children will leave him alive;

Then he raises himself, opens his wing to the wind,
And, striking his heart with a wild cry,
He lets out in the night such a mournful farewell,
That the sea birds leave the shore,
And the traveler who stayed late on the beach,
Feeling death passing, commend himself to God.

My Translation:

When the pelican, tired from a long journey,
in the evening mist he returns to his reeds,
his little hungry ones run on the shore
Seeing him land on the water.

Already believing in a capture and sharing their prey,
they run to their father with joy
Shaking their beaks on their hideous goiters

He, slowly gaining a high rock,
for his waiting wing to sheltering his brood,
Sad fisherman, watching the skies.

Blood flows in long streams in his open chest:
In vain he searched the depths of the seas:
The ocean was empty and the beach deserted:
For all food he brings his heart.

Dark and silent, lying on the stone
Sharing with his sons his fatherly womb,
in his sublime love he cradles his pain,

And looking sunken his bloody breast,
on his death feast he staggers and collapses,
Drunk on lust, tenderness and horror.

But sometimes, in the middle of the divine sacrifice,
Tired of dying in an overly long ordeal,
he fears that his children leave the living

Then he raises his wing opens to the wind,
and, striking his heart with a wild cry,

he grows in the night so funereal farewell,
That the sea birds desert the shore,
and the traveler lingered on the beach
Feeling death pass, he recommends himself to God.

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