Paul Verlaine (1844-1896 / France)
A La Promenade
The milky sky, the hazy, slender trees,
Seem smiling on the light costumes we wear,-
Our gauzy floating veils that have an air
Of wings, our satins fluttering in the breeze.
And in the marble bowl the ripples gleam,
And through the lindens of the avenue
The sifted golden sun comes to us blue
And dying, like the sunshine of a dream.
Exquisite triflers and deceivers rare,
Tender of heart, but little tied by vows,
Deliciously we dally 'neath the boughs,
And playfully the lovers plague the fair.
Receiving, should they overstep a point,
A buffet from a hand absurdly small,
At which upon a gallant knee they fall
To kiss the little finger's littlest joint.
And as this is a shocking liberty,
A frigid glance rewards the daring swain,-
Not quite o'erbalancing with its disdain
The red mouth's reassuring clemency.
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