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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Gad-Fly
By Pierre Jean de Béranger (1780–1857)
 
(La Mouche)

Translation of Walter Learned

IN the midst of our laughter and singing,
  ’Mid the clink of our glasses so gay,
What gad-fly is over us winging,
  That returns when we drive him away?
’Tis some god. Yes, I have a suspicion        5
  Of our happiness jealous, he’s come:
Let us drive him away to perdition,
  That he bore us no more with his hum.
 
Transformed to a gad-fly unseemly,
  I am certain that we must have here        10
Old Reason, the grumbler, extremely
  Annoyed by our joy and our cheer.
He tells us in tones of monition
  Of the clouds and the tempests to come:
Let us drive him away to perdition,        15
  That he bore us no more with his hum.
 
It is Reason who comes to me, quaffing,
  And says, “It is time to retire:
At your age one stops drinking and laughing,
  Stops loving, nor sings with such fire;”—        20
An alarm that sounds ever its mission
  When the sweetest of flames overcome:
Let us drive him away to perdition,
  That he bore us no more with his hum.
 
It is Reason! Look out there for Lizzie!        25
  His dart is a menace alway.
He has touched her, she swoons—she is dizzy:
  Come, Cupid, and drive him away.
Pursue him; compel his submission,
  Until under your strokes he succumb.        30
Let us drive him away to perdition,
  That he bore us no more with his hum.
 
Hurrah, Victory! See, he is drowning
  In the wine that Lizzetta has poured.
Come, the head of Joy let us be crowning,        35
  That again he may reign at our board.
He was threatened just now with dismission,
  And a fly made us all rather glum:
But we’ve sent him away to perdition;
  He will bore us no more with his hum.        40
 
 
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