Friday, May 29, 2015

Sophy Elegy V

Odisseas (c. 1850)
Jean Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, France

An evening's lament, midnight commemorating the day

To rest my weary limbs upon my bed I lay,

One eye shut, the other open stood,

To catch day's fading light, as my thoughts seek the good.

Like a peek at cookies baking in the oven,

Or bread being past its date, and mold not yet begun.

Such joy to shame our laments must be shown,

Where they must sort themselves, and seem to us unknown.

Then came doubt in a long flowing gown,

Her discontent hid with tresses hanging down:

Resembling fair indecision when going to wed

Or the confusion of a thousand wooers' eagerness sped.

I admired her gown, being thin, the threat was indeed small,

Yet strove she did to be covetous of all.

And striving thus as one that would be in haste,

Betray our thoughts, and yield to imaginary fates.

Stand naked as the sun lies in the sky,

Not one body covers its rays or betrays my eyes.

What we tell ourselves we see,

What impressions exist are filtered first through me.

How smooth a lie under doubt saw I?

How large a farce, and what a joyous sigh?

When I actually realized that all was well,

I smiled in her presence and her power over me fell...

Judge you the rest, being tired we forget,

Jove moves along after days such as this. 

Jupiter et Thétis (1811)
Jean Ingres

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