The Forerunners (Romain Rolland)/I
|←Introduction|| The Forerunners (Romain Rolland) by , translated by Eden and Cedar Paul
I. Ara Pacis
|II. Upwards, Along a Winding Road→|
- DE profundis clamans, out of the abyss of all the hates,
- To thee, Divine Peace, will I lift up my song.
- The din of the armies shall not drown it.
- Imperturbable, I behold the rising flood incarnadine,
- Which bears the beauteous body of mutilated Europe,
- And I hear the raging wind which stirs the souls of men.
- Though I stand alone, I shall be faithful to thee.
- I shall not take my place at the sacrilegious communion of blood.
- I shall not eat my share of the Son of Man.
- I am brother to all, and I love you all,
- Men, ephemerals who rob yourselves of your one brief day.
- Above the laurels of glory and above the oaks,
- May there spring from my heart upon the Holy Mount,
- The olive tree, with the sunlight in its boughs, where the cicadas sing.
- Sublime Peace who boldest,
- Beneath thy sovran sway,
- The turmoil of the world,
- And who, from out the hurtling of the waves,
- Makest the rhythm of the seas;
- Cathedral established
- Upon the perfect balance of opposing forces;
- Dazzling rose-window,
- Where the blood of the sun
- Gushes forth in diapered sheaves of flame
- Which the harmonising eye of the artist has bound together;
- Like to a huge bird
- Which soars in the zenith,
- Sheltering the plain beneath its wings,
- Thy flight embraces,
- Beyond what is, that which has been and will be.
- Thou art sister to joy and sister to sorrow,
- Youngest and wisest of sisters;
- Thou boldest them both by the hand.
- Thus art thou like a limpid channel linking two rivers,
- A channel wherein the skies are mirrored betwixt two rows of pale poplars.
- Thou art the divine messenger,
- Passing to and fro like the swallow
- From bank to bank,
- Uniting them.
- To some saying,
- "Weep not, joy will come again";
- To others,
- "Be not over-confident, happiness is fleeting."
- Thy shapely arms tenderly enfold
- Thy froward children,
- And thou smilest, gazing on them
- As they bite thy swelling breast.
- Thou joinest the hands and the hearts
- Of those who, while seeking one another, flee one another;
- And thou subjectest to the yoke the unruly bulls,
- So that instead of wasting
- In fights the passion which makes their flanks to smoke,
- Thou turnest this passion to account for ploughing in the womb of the land
- The furrow long and deep where the seed will germinate.
- Thou art the faithful helpmate
- Who welcomest the weary wrestlers on their return.
- Victors or vanquished, they have an equal share of thy love.
- For the prize of battle
- Is not a strip of land
- Which one day the fat of the victor
- Will nourish, mingled with that of his foe.
- The prize is, to have been the tool of Destiny,
- And not to have bent in her hand.
- O my Peace who smilest, thy soft eyes filled with tears,
- Summer rainbow, sunny evening,
- Who, with thy golden fingers,
- Fondlest the besprinkled fields,
- Carest for the fallen fruits,
- And healest the wounds
- Of the trees which the wind and the hail have bruised;
- Shed on us thy healing balm, and lull our sorrows to sleep!
- They will pass, and we also.
- Thou alone endurest for ever.
- Brothers, let us unite ; and you, too, forces within me,
- Which clash one upon another in my riven heart!
- Join hands and dance along!
- We move forward calmly and without haste,
- For Time is not our quarry.
- Time is on our side.
- With the osiers of the ages my Peace weaves her nest.
* * *
- I am like the cricket who chirps in the fields.
- A storm bursts, rain falls in torrents, drowning
- The furrows and the chirping.
- But as soon as the flurry is over,
- The little musician, undaunted, resumes his song.
- In like manner, having heard, in the smoking east, on the devastated earth,
- The thunderous charge of the Four Horsemen,
- Whose gallop rings still from the distance,
- I uplift my head and resume my song,
- Puny, but obstinate.
- Written August 15 to 25, 1914.
- and 25, 1915; "Les Tablettes," Geneva, July, 1917.
- Written August 15 to 25, 1914.
- Except the last two stanzas, which were composed in the autumn of the same year.