Impressions Of Francois-Marie Arouet (De Voltaire)
Phyllidula and the Spoils of Gouvernet
Where, Lady, are the days
When you could go out in a hired hansom
Without footmen and equipments?
And dine in a soggy, cheap restaurant?
Phyllidula now, with your powdered Swiss footman
Clanking the door shut,
And carpets from Savonnier, and from Persia,
And your new service at dinner,
And plates from Germain,
And cabinets and chests from Martin (almost lacquer),
And your white vases from Japan,
And the lustre of diamonds,
Etcetera, etcetera, and etcetera?
To Madame du Châtelet
If you'd have me go on loving you
Give me back the time of the thing.
Will you give me dawn light at evening?
Time has driven me out from the fine plaisaunces,
The parks with the swards all over dew,
And grass going glassy with the light on it,
The green stretches where love is and the grapes
Hang in yellow-white and dark clusters ready for pressing.
And if now we can't fit with our time of life
There is not much but its evil left us.
Life gives us two minutes, two seasons
One to be dull in;
Two deaths and to stop loving and being lovable,
That is the real death,
The other is little beside it.
Crying after the follies gone by me,
Quiet talking is all that is left us
Gentle talking, not like the first talking, less lively;
And to follow after friendship, as they call it,
Weeping that we can follow naught else.
To Madame Lullin
You'll wonder that an old man of eighty
Can go on writing you verses. . . .
Grass showing under the snow,
Birds singing late in the year!
And Tibullus could say of his death, in his Latin:
'Delia, I would look on you, dying.'
And Delia herself fading out,
Forgetting even her beauty.