Théophile Gautier – The Ghost of the Rose

4 Jun

A very dreamy, romantic and eerie poem by a French Romantic poet Théophile Gautier.

Stanislaw Wyspianki, Double portrait d’Eliza Pareńska, 1905

The Ghost of the Rose

Open your eyelids now closed

That brush on a maidens dream;

I am the ghost of the rose

That you wore at the ball last night.

You plucked me still silvered with pearls

Sprinkled like tears from the hose,

And throughout the glittering scene

Paraded all night was I seen.

 

O you who have caused my death

Unable to chase it away

Throughout the night, my ghost of a rose

Will come to dance by your bed.

But have no fear, I shall claim

No mass nor De Profundis;

This faint perfume is my soul

And from paradise do I come.

 

My destiny may serve for envy;

For no better death could one have

Than thus to have given ones life.

For, I have your breast as my tomb

And there on the headstone where I repose

A poet has left me a kiss

And written: “Here lies a rose

Of which, kings are inclined to be jealous”.

(translated by David Paley)

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2 Responses to “Théophile Gautier – The Ghost of the Rose”

  1. Frank Hudson 15th Jun 2019 at 3:11 am #

    I had not found this Gautier poem before seeing it here. The poem inspired a ballet that Nijinsky danced and from there gave it’s name to famous Modernist parodying literary hoax

    https://frankhudson.org/2018/12/12/two-men-walk-into-a-hotel-room-and/

    Anyway, now having been able to read Gautier’s poem in translation due to your post I got to savor it’s dark romanticism. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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