(Poem written in March 1861 that I would Verlaine had
dedicated to the Grand Dear Old Man of Letters: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra - with kind permission, of course, sought by me and which I know he wouldn’t withhold. T. Wignesan)
O! Don Quixote, medieval princely champion, incomparable
Only in vain does the absurd and vile crowd laugh at you:
You died as a martyr and your life remains a poem,
And the windmills wronged you, O! King true!
Always keep going, keep going, protected by your faith,
Astride your fantastic charger that I cannot but love.
Sublime gleaner, forward! – those the law wraps in moth
Balls are more numerous, more staggering than bygone days
Hurrah! We follow in your steps, we, the saintly horde of poets
Dishevelled, our heads wrapped in verveine tights.
Lead us on to assault high-strung fantasies,
And soon enough, in spite of every form of treason,
Up on high will flap our winged standard of Poesies
Over the hoary skull of our inept reason!