Timothy Adès : Poet and Translator

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Victor Hugo (1802–1885): Demain, dès l’Aube / His Daughter’s Grave

Translated by Timothy Adès

Léopoldine had died in a boating accident, along with her husband and unborn first child.

Demain, dès l’aube, à l’heure où blanchit la campagne,
Je partirai. Vois–tu, je sais que tu m’attends.
J’irai par la forêt, j’irai par la montagne.
Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps.

Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées,
Sans rien voir au dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit,
Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.

Je ne regarderai ni l’or du soir qui tombe,
Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur,
Et quand j’arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe
Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur.

Tomorrow, soon as dawn has lit the land,
I’ll start. I know you’re waiting there, you see.
I’ll walk the woods and hills. I cannot stand
Another day, having you far from me.

My eyes will fasten on my thoughts. I’ll tread,
Hearing no voice, seeing no outward sight,
Nameless, alone, hands folded, lowered head,
In sadness: and my day shall be as night.

I shall not watch the falling gold of eve,
The distant sails borne down towards Harfleur.
I’ll come and lay my tribute on your grave:
Green holly, gathered tight with ling in flower.

Translation: copyright © Timothy Adès

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