Oswald Durand

Poem Title or First Line

Le Chanteur des rues / The Street Performer

Authors

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Author

Oswald Durand

Translation By

Guervens Guermilus

Translator Biography

Guervens Germilus is pursuing a BA in French with a concentration in translation at Montclair State University. Born and raised in Haïti, currently living in East Orange, NJ, he speaks Haitian Creole, English, and French. He has a background in sports and serves as Director of Intramural and Club Sports at the Montclair State Recreation Center. In his free time, he enjoys doing parkour and acrobatics.

Publication Date

2022

Description

English translation of Oswald Durand's "Le Chanteur des rues" by Guervens Guermilus

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Le Chanteur des rues / The Street Performer

English translation of Oswald Durand's "Le Chanteur des rues" by Guervens Guermilus

Original Work

Le Chanteur des rues


“Puisque c’est ton métier, misérable poète” (A. de Musset)


Puisque c’est ton sort, chanteur misérable,

D’amuser la foule avec tes chansons;

Puisque pour ton coeur rien n’est préférable

Aux joyeux oiseaux de nos verts buissons ;

Puisque les heureux, ceux que la fortune

Couvre de ses dons, convie à ses jeux,

Écoutent parfois ta voix importune,

–Soupir de la brise ou vent orageux ;–


Puisque du balcon où ta chanson quête

Leurs bravos flatteurs, il tombe parfois

Quelques maigres sous, — tend-leur ta casquette !

Chante, donc ami de l’oiseau des bois !


Poem by Oswald Durand, Rire et Pleurs, vol. 1, p. 33. Read by Guervens Guermilus

Translated Work

The Street Performer


"Since it is your profession, miserable poet" (A. de Musset)*


Since it is your fate, miserable singer,

To amuse crowds with your songs;

Since, for your heart, nothing is preferable

To the joyful birds of our green bushes;

Since the happy, those whom fortune

Showers with her gifts, invites to her games,

Sometimes listen to your unwelcome voice,

–Sigh of the breeze or stormy wind;–


Since from the balcony where your song begs

For flattering applause, there sometimes

fall a few meager pennies, — hand them your cap!

Sing, then, friend of the forest birds!


Translated by Guervens Guermilus


*Translator's Note: Alfred de Musset was a prominent Romantic poet and this line is drawn from the poem "Les Voeux stériles," which evokes the misery of a poet's life.