The bridge (Victor Hugo)

This is my attempt at translating this poem. I am not sure it is the best translation one could come up with but I will correct it as time passes by. If you can find a better translation than mine feel free to submit it.

LE PONT

The Bridge

J’avais devant les yeux les ténèbres. L’abîme

Darkness filled my sight. The Abyss

Qui n’a pas de rivage et qui n’a pas de cime,

Which has neither shore nore summit

Était là, morne, immense; et rien n’y remuait.

It was there, glum, immense and nothing stired

Je me sentais perdu dans l’infini muet.

I felt lost facing the dumb infinity

Au fond, à travers l’ombre, impénétrable voile,

Far, through the shadow which was as an impenetrable veil,

On apercevait Dieu comme une sombre étoile.

One could see God like a somber star

Je m’écriai: – Mon âme, ô mon âme! il faudrait,

I cried out: My soul, ô my soul! One must,

Pour traverser ce gouffre où nul bord n’apparaît,

In order to cross this gap to which no edge is to be seen,

Et pour qu’en cette nuit jusqu’à ton Dieu tu marches,

And for you to walk to your God through this night,

Bâtir un pont géant sur des millions d’arches.

Build a bridge over thousands of arches.

Qui le pourra jamais! Personne! ô deuil! effroi!

Who could ever do it! No one! Mournings! Fear!

Pleure! – Un fantôme blanc se dressa devant moi

Cry! A white ghost stood in front of me

Pendant que je jetai sur l’ombre un oeil d’alarme,

As I took a frightened glance at the shadow

Et ce fantôme avait la forme d’une larme;

And the gost took the shape of a tear.

C’était un front de vierge avec des mains d’enfant;

It had a virgin’s forehead with the hands of a child

Il ressemblait au lys que la blancheur défend;

It looked like the lily whose whitness is a shield

Ses mains en se joignant faisaient de la lumière.

When gathered its hands made light

Il me montra l’abîme où va toute poussière,

It showed me the abyss where all the dust goes

Si profond, que jamais un écho n’y répond;

So deep that never the echo is heard back

Et me dit: – Si tu veux je bâtirai le pont.

And said: If you want I will build the bridge

Vers ce pâle inconnu je levai ma paupière.

I raised my look to this pale stranger

– Quel est ton nom? lui dis-je. Il me dit: – La prière.

-What is your name? I asked. And it answered:-Prayer.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s