A Former Life
I once lived under vast and columned vaults
Tinged with a thousand fires by ocean suns,
So that their grand, straight pillars would become,
In evening light, like grottoes of basalt.
In surges rolled the images of skies;
With solemn, mystic force the sea combined
Its harmonies, all-powerful, sublime,
With sunset colours, glowing in my eyes.
So there I lived, in a voluptuous calm
Surrounded by the sea, by splendid blue,
And by my slaves, sweet-scented, handsome, nude,
Who cooled my brow with waving of the palms,
And had one care-to probe and make more deep
What made me languish so, my secret grief.
Přeložil James McGowan