“Le Paresseux” de Marc Antoine Girard de Saint-Amant

This poem in middle French, from the 17th century, is an hymn to indolence. Saint-Amant was a libertin poet, who enjoyed all the pleasures of life, liked to eat, drink, smoke and rest, as depicted in this poem.

1 – Poem

Accablé de paresse et de mélancolie,
Je resve dans un lict où je suis fagoté,
Comme un lièvre sans os qui dort dans un pasté,
Ou comme un Dom Quichot en sa morne folie.

Là, sans me soucier des guerres d’Italie,
Du comte Palatin, ny de sa royauté,
Je consacre un bel hymne à cette oisiveté
Où mon ame en langueur est comme ensevelie.

Je trouve ce plaisir si doux et si charmant,
Que je croy que les biens me viendront en dormant,
Puisque je voy des-jà s’en enfler ma bedaine,

Et hay tant le travail, que, les yeux entr’ouverts,
Une main hors des draps, cher Baudoin, à peine
Ay-je pu me résoudre à t’escrire ces vers.

2 – Traduction

Overwhelmed by laziness and melancholy,
I dream in a bed where I am bound,
Like a deboned hare sleeping in a pâté,
Or like a Don Quixote in his uneventful madness.

[adblock]There, without caring about the wars in Italy,
Nor the Palatine Count, nor its royalty,
I consecrate a beautiful hymn to this idleness
Where my soul languishes as if it were buried.

I find this pleasure so sweet and charming
That I believe that goods will come to me in sleeping,
Since I already see that my paunch is swelling,
And I hate work so much that, my eyes half-open,
One hand out of the sheets, dear Baudoin, just barely
have I been able to resolve to write you these lines.