L’amour , Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Came across this translation of French poet,Marceline Desbordes-Valmore’s ‘L’amour’ (Love)…

You asked if love makes one happy.
His promise’s yes, be it for a day.
Ah, who wouldn’t want to live one day for love
Then die? For life does live in love.

As lover full of gentleness and fear,
With his fires I painted his suffering,
On his portrait I shed so many tears
That his image became much less charming.

If smile, that unexpected gleam,
Broke out sometimes amidst my tears,
It was love, unarmed, it was him,
And heaven with him disappears.

Deprived of love, the heart’s icy.
Yet he burns all, and poisons all.
He sure knows how to rend a soul.
Ask him if he makes one happy!

You’ll know, whatever may occur,
That love will win by force or grace;
And in the slow-healing fever he made
You will suffer and make others suffer.

Once found, his absence is torture,
And when he’s back, one shakes every hour.
Often it’s death that lives in love.
And yet, love does make one happy.

Translated by Thomas D. Le

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