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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 Faun with the Mirror
By Henri de Régnier (1864–1936)
 
From ‘Six French Poets’: Translation of Amy Lowell

SORROW, I have built your house, and the trees mingle their chequering with the stains of your marbles. Sorrow, I have built your green and black palace, where the yew of mourning mingles with the myrtles of hope; in the crystal panes of your windows are reflected the gardens, with balustrades and waters whose exactness frames the sky; the dismal echo converses with solitude who seeks herself among the cypresses; farther off is silence and all the forest, the rude life, and the prowling wind, the lush grass on which is printed, according to what thing passes, an animal shoe in place of a divine foot; farther off is the Satyr; and still farther, the God of the Woods and the Nymph, who, naked, inhabits the solitary fountains where, near the Thessalian waters, the Centaur nicks the pebbles in kicking; and then, gray sands after red sands, the monsters of Desire, the monsters of the Flesh, and beyond the arid beach is the Sea. Sorrow, I have built your house, and the trees have mottled the crystals of your basins like a marble; the white swan sees its black shadow in the water, as pale Joy sees in the lake of my memory her silver wings dimmed by a twilight through which her naked face, recoiling from her, makes signs to her across the forever that she is dead; and I, who have come in without shutting the door, I am afraid in the darkness of some hand on the key; and I walk from room to room, and I have veiled my dreams not to see myself in them any more; but, from beyond, I still feel shadows dogging my footsteps; and the crystal which tinkles, and the watered silk which my perpetually-weary hand crumples, warn my anguish, for I hear in the hypocritical, sleeping chandelier the sound of silver water laughing in golden flowers, and the dripping of antique fountains where Narcissus drank, lips pressed to his own lips, for which the spring laughed at the anxious drinker; and I cursed my mouth, and I cursed my eyes, for having seen the warm skin and touched the cold water, and when my fingers again wrinkle the stiff stuff, I hear, out of my gossiping past which will not be still, the leaves and the wind of the old forest; and I walk among the solitary rooms where some one speaks with a pretence of being silent, for my life has the eyes of a sister who is not dead, and I am afraid, when I enter, of seeing from the threshold of the door some laughing and ghostly monster come from the shadow with the smell of the woods on his naked hide, some Faun who still has mud, and grass, and leaves, sticking to his resonant shoes, and of seeing him, in the silent room, dancing upon the polished floor and laughing to himself in the mirrors!  1
 
 
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