My cradle rocked below the stacks of books -
That Babel of instructions, novels, verse
Where Roman rubbish mixed with Grecian dust.
I was no taller than a folio,
But heard two voices. One, beguiling, bold
Proclaimed, 'The world is just a sweetened cake!
And I, to give you endless joy, offer
You appetite to take it in a bite!'
But then the other: 'Come, dream-voyager,
Beyond the possible, beyond the known!'
And that one chanted like the seaside wind,
A wailing phantom out of God knows where,
Caressing, yet still frightening the ear.
I answered, 'Yes, sweet voice!' And from that time,
That date, my wound was named, my fate was sealed.
Behind the scenery of this immense
Existence, through abysmal blackness, I
Distinctly see the wonder of new worlds,
And, fervid victim of my clairvoyance,
I walk with serpents striking at my shoes.
And it is since that time that, prophet-like,
I love so tenderly the desert wastes;
I laugh in pain and cry on holidays
And tempt my palate with the sourest wine;
I take for truth what others call a lie
And, eyes to heaven, trip into a ditch.
But then my voice says, 'Madman, keep your dreams;
The wise have nothing beautiful as they!'
Přeložil James McGowan