To M. Eugene Fromentin
Concerning a Bore
Who Called Himself His Friend
He told me he was very rich,
But had a fear of cholera;
- That mostly he was tight of fist,
But dearly loved the Opera;
- That nature carried him away,
Corot had been a special friend;
- He had no carriage, sad to say,
But he was working towards that end;
- Marble he loved, and brickwork, then
He loved gold trim and ebony;
- That three much-decorated men
Helped him to run his factory;
- That in his large portfolio
Was an investment in the Nord
- That he'd discovered, priced too low,
Some handsome frames by Oppenord,
- For the best curios he'd feel
Inclined to splurge (and at Luzarches!)
- That more than once he'd cut a deal
At the Marche des Patriarches;
-He didn't really like his wife,
Or mother-But would have to say
Their souls should find an afterlife,
And he had read his Niboyet!
- He did believe in love-affairs;
One boring time in Rome, a slim
Young woman of consumptive airs
Had pined away for love of him.
Three hours and a half I spent,
While this fool, native of Tournai,
Unloaded all his life's events;
My brain felt nothing but dismay.
Don't ask me to describe my pain,
I'd never finish with the task;
I told myself, to ease the strain:
'A little sleep is all I ask!'
Like any man who does not dare,
Though ill-at-ease, to stand and go,
I screwed my rump into my chair
And dreamed of skewering my foe.
Bastogne is this monster's name;
He was escaping the disease.
Myself, I'd run as far as Spain,
Or throw myself into the seas,
If in this Paris he can't stand,
When everyone is back to stay,
I'd find again, on any hand,
This pestilence out of Tournai.
Přeložil James McGowan