The Poet and the Crowd

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
The Poet and the Crowd
by Théophile Gautier, translated by Robert Sanderson
original title “Le Poète et la Foule”

One day the plain said to the idle mountain: —
Nothing ever grows upon thy wind-beaten brow!
To the poet, bending thoughtful over his lyre.
The crowd also said: — Dreamer, of what use art thou?

Full of wrath, the mountain answered the plain: —
It is I who make the harvests grow upon thy soil;
I temper the breath of the noon sun,
I stop in the skies the clouds as they fly by.

With my fingers I knead the snow into avalanches.
In my crucible I dissolve the crystals of glaciers,
And I pour out, from the tip of my white breasts,
In long silver threads, the nourishing streams.

The poet, in his turn, answered the crowd: —
Allow my pale brow to rest upon my hand.
Have I not from my side, from which runs out my soul,
Made a spring gush to slake men’s thirst?