La tribu prophétique aux prunelles ardentes
Hier s’est mise en route, emportant ses petits
Sur son dos, ou livrant à leurs fiers appétits
Le trésor toujours prêt des mamelles pendantes.Les hommes vont à pied sous leurs armes luisantes
Le long des chariots où les leurs sont blottis,
Promenant sur le ciel des yeux appesantis
Par le morne regret des chimères absentes.

Du fond de son réduit sablonneux, le grillon,
Les regardant passer, redouble sa chanson;
Cybèle, qui les aime, augmente ses verdures,

Fait couler le rocher et fleurir le désert
Devant ces voyageurs, pour lesquels est ouvert
L’empire familier des ténèbres futures.

 

Translation: The Gypsies

They set out yesterday, the tribe of ragged seers
With burning eyes — bearing their little ones in nests
Upon their backs, or giving them, to stop their tears,
The teats of inexhaustible and swarthy breasts.

The men walk shouldering their rifles silently
Beside the hooded wagons with bright tatters hung,
And peer into the sky, as if they hoped to see
Some old mirage that beckoned them when they were young.

No matter where they journey through the meager land,
The cricket will sing louder from his lair of sand,
And Cybele, who loves them, will smile where they advance:

The desert will be fruitful, the arid rock will flow
Before the footsteps of these wayfarers, who go
Eternally into the lightless realm of chance.

— Translated by George Dillon

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