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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Enfantillage
By Sully Prudhomme (René François Armand Prudhomme) (1839–1907)
 
Translation of E. and R. E. Prothero

MY lady! you were little then:
      Twelve years were mine;
Soon forgotten were your lovers,
      All left to pine.
 
When we played among the others,        5
      You still I sought;
When small hands were intertwining,
      ’Twas yours I caught.
 
As in gold and purple glory,
      Poised o’er the rose,        10
Tells the butterfly his story,
      All his heart glows;
 
Leaf by leaf, still nearer drawing,
      Is yet too shy
All the honey-dew to gather        15
      She holds so nigh:
 
So my heart was yearning wildly
      Your lips to press;
’Twas your slender fingers only
      I dared caress.        20
 
Through me thrilled a sudden rapture,
      Then keen as woe:
What gave joy and pain such meeting?
      Love—long ago.
 
Twelve years only—and a lover!        25
      ’Tis not common.
You too, Lady—were you feeling
      Like a woman?
 
Did there come some thought bewildering
      As, half afraid,        30
With your frock and with your dolly
      You stood and played?
 
If I praised—too soon a poet—
      Your tiny feet,
Too soon fair, you leant and touched me        35
      With magic sweet.
 
I at least have ne’er forgotten
      That even-tide
When we set up house together,—
      Bridegroom and bride.        40
 
Gems you dreamed of;—I dreamed over
      My vow to you!
Both were older than our years were,
      Both different too!
 
We played at the dance and dinner:        45
      You wished it so,—
Said that proper weddings must have
      Some pomp and show.
 
You enjoyed it as a pastime,—
      I thought it true,        50
Told my love aloud, and whispered
      “Dearest” to you.
 
On your cheek I ventured, dreaming,
      One kiss to leave.
Play for me has all been over        55
      Since that spring eve.
 
 
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