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Paul Verlaine: The joy of sweet peace without victory

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Paul Verlaine
Hear The Sweetest Song (1880)
Translated by A. S. Kline

Hear the sweetest song pass
That weeps for your sole delight.
It is discreet and so light:
A water-drop trembling on glass!

A voice known to you (and dear?)
But at present misted and veiled
Like a widow desolate, assailed,
Yet like her still proud, it appears,

And in the long folds of a veil
Stirred by the autumn breeze,
Hidden, to startled heart reveals
The truth like the star so pale.

It says, that voice you know,
That our life is goodness at last,
That hatred and envy pass,
Nothing’s left, death lays all low.

It speaks to us also of glory
Of humility, of asking no more,
And the marriage of golden ore
To sweet joy of peace without victory.

Welcome the voice that persists
In its naïve epithalamium,
Nothing more for the soul, now, come,
Than to render soul-sadness less.

It is hard-pressed, and passing by,
The suffering soul without anger,
And the moral is all too clear!
Listen to the song that is wise.

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