Le Temps (Time), An Epic Poem Video

I met Gérard’s phantom right before recording the video.

gerard-de-nerval-portrait-colorProfound darkness, gothic style, I was shocked by his attitude, hat on the head, heavy clockwork sound. Was he Nerval or Kronos the timekeeper?

He told me how poverty-stricken and disoriented he was before committing suicide. He hung himself from the bar of a cellar window in the Old-Lantern street (rue de la Vieille-Lanterne) and left a brief note to his aunt: “Do not wait up for me this evening, for the night will be black and white.”

The discoverers of his body were baffled by the fact that his hat was still on his head.

Hosting Nerval’s spirit has not been only a dark journey; choosing to let him speak his poem Le Temps (Time) gave me some visions. I thought about victorian steampunk machines, Jules Verne, and his famous novels and fairy tales.

The poem immersed me in the 19th century, surrounded by steampunk tools, goth ambient and synth sounds to reflect the timeless aspect of this epic poem:

The 12th track of my first album, Le Temps, is available here.
You will find the translation below.

Le Temps

I

Le Temps ne surprend pas le sage ;
Mais du Temps le sage se rit,
Car lui seul en connaît l’usage ;
Des plaisirs que Dieu nous offrit,
Il sait embellir l’existence ;
Il sait sourire à l’espérance,
Quand l’espérance lui sourit.

II

Le bonheur n’est pas dans la gloire,
Dans les fers dorés d’une cour,
Dans les transports de la victoire,
Mais dans la lyre et dans l’amour.
Choisissons une jeune amante,
Un luth qui lui plaise et l’enchante ;
Aimons et chantons tour à tour !

III

” Illusions ! vaines images ! “
Nous dirons les tristes leçons
De ces mortels prétendus sages
Sur qui l’âge étend ses glaçons ;
” Le bonheur n’est point sur la terre,
Votre amour n’est qu’une chimère,
Votre lyre n’a que des sons ! “

IV

Ah ! préférons cette chimère
À leur froide moralité ;
Fuyons leur voix triste et sévère ;
Si le mal est réalité,
Et si le bonheur est un songe,
Fixons les yeux sur le mensonge,
Pour ne pas voir la vérité.

V

Aimons au printemps de la vie,
Afin que d’un noir repentir
L’automne ne soit point suivie ;
Ne cherchons pas dans l’avenir
Le bonheur que Dieu nous dispense ;
Quand nous n’aurons plus l’espérance,
Nous garderons le souvenir.

VI

Jouissons de ce temps rapide
Qui laisse après lui des remords,
Si l’amour, dont l’ardeur nous guide,
N’a d’aussi rapides transports :
Profitons de l’adolescence,
Car la coupe de l’existence
Ne pétille que sur ses bords !

Time

I

Time does not surprise the wise;
But of Time the wise laughs,
Only him knows the use of it;
Of the pleasures that God gave us,
He knows how to embellish existence;
He knows how to smile at hope,
When hope smiles on him.

II

Happiness is not in glory,
In the golden gates of a courtyard,
In the march of victory,
But in the lyre and in love.
Let us choose a young lover,
A lute that pleases and enchants her;
Let’s love and sing in turn!

III

“Illusions! Vain images!”
Will say the sad lessons
Of these supposedly wise mortals
On whom age spreads its ice cubes;
“Happiness is not on earth,
Your love is nothing but a chimera,
Your lyre only has sounds! “

IV

Ah! Let’s prefer this chimera
To their cold morality;
Let us run away from their sad and severe voice;
If the evil is real,
And if happiness is a dream,
Let us fix our eyes on the lie,
So that we do not see the truth.

V

Let us love at the prime of life
So that from a black repentance
Autumn is not followed;
Let us not look into the future
The happiness that God gives us;
When we no longer have hope,
We will keep the memory.

VI

Let us enjoy this fast time
Which leaves remorse after itself,
If love, the ardor of which guides us,
Doesn’t have such quick transport :
Let us enjoy adolescence,
Because the cup of existence
Only sparkles on its edges!

Translation by Le Fantôme.