Translation From Alfred De Musset’s Ode To Malibran by Frances Anne Kemble
O Maria Felicia! the Painter and Bard,
Behind them in dying leave undying heirs,
The night of oblivion their memory spares,
And their great eager souls, other action debarred,
Against Death, against Time, having valiantly warr’d,
Though struck down in the strife claim its trophies as theirs.
In the iron engraved, one his thought leaves enshrin’d,
With a golden sweet cadence another’s entwin’d,
Makes for ever all those who shall hear it his friends,
Though he died, on the canvas lives Raphael’s mind,
And from death’s darkest doom till this world of ours ends,
The mother-clasp’d Infant, his glory defends.
As the lamp guards the flame, so the bare marble halls
Of the Parthenon, keep in their desolate space,
The memory of Phidias enshrin’d in their walls,
And Praxiteles’ child, the young Venus, yet calls
From the altar where smiling she still holds her place,
The centuries vanquish’d, to worship her grace.
Thus from Age after Age while new life they receive
To rest at God’s feet, the old glories are gone,
And the accents of Genius their echoes still weave
With the great human voice till their speech is but one.
While for thee—dead but yesterday—fame does but leave
A cross in the dim chapel’s darkness alone.
A Cross, and Oblivion, and Silence, and Death,
Hark! the wind’s softest sob, hark! the breeze’s deep breath,
Hark! the fisher-boy singing his way o’er the plain,
Of thy glory, thy hopes, thy young beauty’s bright wreath,
Not a trace—not a sigh—not an echo remain!