Swann's Way/To E. J. C.

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To E. J. C.  (1922) 
by Charles Kenneth Scott-Moncrieff

C. K. Scott-Moncrieff dedicated his translation of the first volume of Proust's mammoth work, Remembrance of Things Past (now usually translated as In Search of Lost Time), to a certain E. J. C. in the form of a poem, To E. J. C., which was then impertinently published with Proust's work - though he did acknowledge that he was the author. Otherwise, the book is translated exactly as Proust had written it.

To E.J.C.

Here, Summer lingering, loiter I
When I, with Summer, should be gone...
Where only London lights the sky
I go, and with me journeys 'Swann'

Whose pages' dull laborious woof
Covers a warp of working-time,
Of firelit nights beneath your roof
And sunlit days beneath the limes,

While both at once or each in turn,
Sharp tongued but smooth, like buttered knifes,
We pared, with studied unconcern,
The problems of our private lives;

Those tiny problems, dense yet clear,
Like ivory balls by Chinese craft
Pierced (where each hole absorbed a tear)
And rounded (where the assembly laughed).

Did all our laughter muffle pain,
Our candour simulate pretence?
Fear not. I shall not come again
To tease you with indifference.

Yet I may gaze for Oakham spire
Where London suns set, watery pale,
And dream, while tides of crimson fire
Sweep, smoking, over Catmos vale.

Michaelmas 1921
C. K. S. M.