Carcassonne, (c. 1887; with translation by John Reuben Thompson)
Je me fais vieux, j’ai soixante ans,
J’ai travaillé toute ma vie,
Sans avoir, durant tout ce temps.
Pu satisfaire mon envie.
Je vois bien qu’il n’est ici-bas
De bonheur complet pour personne.
Mon vœu ne s’accomplira pas:
Je n’ai jamais vu Carcassonne!
I’m growing old, I’m sixty years;
I’ve labored all my life in vain.
In all that time of hopes and fears,
I’ve failed my dearest wish to gain.
I see full well that here below
Bliss unalloyed there is for none
My prayer would else fulfilment know —
Never have I seen Carcassonne!
Yet could I these two days have spent,
While still the autumn sweetly shone,
Ah, me! I might have died content
When I had looked on Carcassonne.
They tell me every day is there
Not more nor less than Sunday gay;
In shining robes and garments fair
The people walk upon their way.
One gazes there on castle walls
As grand as those of Babylon,
A bishop and two generals!
What joy to be in Carcassonne!
Ah! might I but see Carcassonne!
The vicar’s right; he says that we
Are ever wayward, weak and blind;
He tells us in his homily
Ambition ruins all mankind;
Thy pardon, Father, I beseech,
In this my prayer if I offend;
One something sees beyond his reach
From childhood to his journey’s end.
My wife, our little boy Aignan,
Have travelled even to Narbonne;
My grandchild has seen Perpignan;
And I — have not seen Carcassonne.