Charles Cros - 'The River' - with Manet etchings, 1874 (English Trans.)

t

T'HERIVER
'"[i"'<IfI~liue.d~ill~~rn~i.s:h by ll.LQe,

'i:\ (;;_-~~' ./:;0 ~ e. "~ '-..;._:..:-....
po

)..t LSllA La I.

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:PARIS ~'.lii

.HI-

fl)K

I

,~/" 1= ~J"lIt, ,I ItCH

(II

THE RIVER

C I~A Rt ES C ROg

THE RIVER

P';i\~~S
~18~AIJ:l;IE
I)~

J.c·Ji1kU-¥OIil_TE:

THE RIVER

dearrnernorues ·of the ''NOliter"",l:I!ucl!J ~s .Eu.:Fi, .~ha~ df:~~!me.rl thu$ S!.'lngof Ihe Rt'lier. DeHg~~fI

Beh~lI'Iil.he bl)d21ln "",1'~'l)'!1i!'·ell'l~, ftli;ls~far" f{l~':ller, 81ecrn(J!Y1ilil:~l!is. U~eirrp'e~s as 110 ~~fII.e!)~ sar~ conile*ijl'le ~r' .jne wind sends.

Wh:er:e the g~aci.er endlessly accroes, burttwlhich In~]l~ the base and bott:om by-gnawing thehard rock. Belew; not far rrmill the green fur trees, pure laughter spr~Hg~ low aoQJ1.:t~ ~I:ide~cenrftmoss.

aTILd! the sand ofwOl!S1!erocks. en 'The ravine there spells anether current,
;01thousaad more. Untiil OJ! torrent g.FOW5·
wh~clJ deseends to theplain and begillis the RiVeF.

218811 toe new to Fertiliz.eifu.e S{)iul. O[l~]e6e jagged j:leID!iimeb;lrs, hawtthorn, lavender and! thyme, golden bli'OQII'lS find shelter OIlly in the cracks or stones. Hemetie torrent breab down ~i,ers, sand and rocks rfthem~l1{e$ are dragged. It is a r~ U strays FIlidiet:oUTS ein, wh~.clJ cailms its fury.Al1d ~ fffi¥ &lnglll trees fonowifue 50~J:J]dsofW<1iJter{)ll sallJdstQnea'nld rn aml~"5., These h:iHsarre thelasts~ini[Jg~ of giant mQl!.!JIltOlluIl5 •. steams, offr'GZeIli Ocean5, flowing granite h:llls:i~~'ii. )]QW turn green m,m()ttI~d spots, White arrJdredis stirabcut m:(ll'e Iike Il;lWe: or small livestock, Their nnglng hells m~ngJe w~th the dllJrl lnlJ[lJluri[lg

But tne stJaI~ow water is teosaarp and it!';

eX;P~C:1i~he un'eXpecte~, llluuJ!ing walt:e-rbrings

fflakes· olIgoldt, ~p]]D~S. Cliili!il"lilonds and. robi:e~, flhp;~e Toeh, wr SQ 1.UanIYsJ;tlffer!lIlg ~iCi:rm:s. tiI[QP f'mm the ooUtOT.l1, of theirmiinw mass,
1,!I1Il~

tH1e ~L~~~:[J:g

cold infiUR,

~tul;ibQUI.ly"

Water.
El<'!lllk~of ;snm:p pop]acs ~ove:the p.~;lin. A~:reaciL)rtheir p~~s.iiveli[J;~~ e:~cort;. here OlH]dhece the ca]m ;l!nd ~trOllg: River. f The fi~~d~ areowned by- the ]J(l'werfiuL At the b;l![Jik$ •. t[hQl~e whQhal\i'~ 11Q1!: the hope of "ll111l !ha.rve~t"go(ulligmQb

TI]e Satll.lj \li:ash~, ]]kepn:;l]n~ed dreams, f'o' a bitt of gord, fin;dly. Ol!t the oottomot the i'>~,e'I(e! "Take yOO[ sitick, diggtld The cityi5 jfar aw.ay, sqLll[ty eres peek ulli~id.e yQliJlT bag." othenl wQrk l1aro.ca'ifilUglaa:ge lead sinkered nets; wiggl ill!!, silver fish sweJ.I~l"rresifl: grey wefls, pro(iJJJc~n~sme]~ t"re~ih ~ and! blanddilligillig t{l· their fishillggeal[,

f'in~ w~~~ ~f BiJjt.•he $~n l~pr~jo'u:s,ilInd more than mae ~CalI f.il.U!>, !;~IIe.1:1J ~(tirpS$.~"~ the, b~LlH.III!I!l:rn();w_ ~
i.nl~e evenil!l~

~ily;;)lld rusnes.FioWlil:lg ~le f1.e.~dsnce,

golden

11Ie .EI.:ive.rc<umies everylihi.ng eISe\.'lihere . 'IV.tll hus axe !l'Ie h,l!mi;"le.fJllrokgmoms!he rllQliinl~ii:'ls, fel ~s hi.cil ftr ~re~s. wh~?~ entr~SiIS to nhe cur.rem. he,

hoe:low, Ihe md!llS"t~~ol.l$ :1,Q.w~mn. talkes Ihese ~ree~, ~rj, as ala <tQcomIT1Hce'to !be Riv,er (fti.$mem1;),e~$ tlteral. iiI !Jphe of IlIle~r' f,;1)UJj"'I:¢'i/(I~f.

\

at maich. ~il:l"Hlh drink fmm the banks: Oxen, hCJ:Se!J' vvnl:i~e upslream ~erWomell ,;;l]am 'e~r bealtm) on l~ne.tlJ(Wd Stones_ Or ph,Jl1ge '!!Iei ~pei!rly <lI'.rnsin Ihe runniLl£ waler, .~ ..a~!$nQWitlJ_glhBi r ~e~!. ' Ih~~r I~tllle pe.1t~~I~, S<il'lg o}·ooti:S aoo'Ul~ a Km~ s m'ilma~e. Son~ bare. feet.omd whme arms, dUSLr~t ~~esh~l'I!.'ed ad~l~ Jet their t~red horse gg, ~w ~lS chest Sl:e~~tl!g I'll line "iI4I!rer~ by tlae curves of lrlle. Fo-rdl.

Thf:fil !ilia p.~ail:lJMt~ hs h<lit"ve.:)L, I~len !lie h;mtl.e"_'"

''iI~ ..

Th~ Co'

~ike~'

'WI~nf()r

C9'~~r'~ ;!1:lJ~"~ir,~ i~I~4 Ita ~ (fui.ef &re~J:j_

Bi!llliP dose, 'Ute ~tfjpes H0Wris;e. Rocks (liften In~:e.rmN 'ibe. 'Cliltur,e,di @,Iopes. Aj)f'(I!;s!~e Slniil!! oountuy, ~].er,e Ihe R~vet [nelOUliclel;'!;, I'Ij)11,JJrisll.e!), paor <I1N;lI1ilO"~W, I5l11!mbJ~es and \,l.erm~ll, ]'he c-urr.erltget_., S!!illiI1:Q;led In. rovines, II ' ng upon tneerods, Qr:l!>le~ m ~h.e hcdes· it . BUll I~lewater 'l,i,!i.~~ I.SliOp ~ISad'!;':entl[Il'Q'l!L~ OOi!l~e M de*H~ both works Qlld $~ee~. IJere. ~e the hre<ldles open Ilprlln an hl)lli:mn obscurea

Next ,are lhi~l!i'Df errot~c Mep.s., -sn1l!ll1waQth; ~Q.s:e:r'l~lhe 'water, wpl.(U'~ (lIld wHIQw. The River nOW 'e-xp~d.e{J!,!i~QWS, :

./i)!

~ the dU$~y v.-.a!-er.Us f1M

S1l!;Iil.e

l;ie>cl

:sh!ll'1Plye~d!>, and ~heW1:Q""lh.eQ.ViI~P~Qi1ledl,~I:'.e$lk:'l {lui i:tlJM endn.ess ro~. A!. 111.e ®!IUrru. tile f·ods @CMt~ Iike die (!fi:er:":l1l~1J OIf~b!:tlIl!$,artdiib:re~ !Jr.e Vi<I!~Bl' Ofil &~~trll~ ~es, 111tile rjlSlanC(t, every!llll1lg is Wet. Aj~.cf(lil,ls green. (:hes's~~,i.rrI ~4 e::.;h:fl~1ll1:lle;F~gmerrll.ed br~g~l!lless t

diroWllilll~ itlJ utiterna>1;ILe !lope.

"Fhe w,aterf:io\ll.'!; mlily i:J,e,weell lihdf pJlOPef dacks, All ~ea. tI~rrI§l1U~1.ec.(l'tlU. c'il!l~ d~(h,~ ?f slilidcle.. a /\ I~'>S,Y tace rII'IIge<i! gros$~y wi 1111 ox~de,

Qftl:te fo~nyfaff~s,

UnIX! CQwm;:io~s:and b~acll: r ~hegreen ~ l:iigh~,!lo!!$?~ !l~rie4 p~1 iW~ i'I~1 !;pM~ed. A~ ~~e por" :;:~e!J ~ bl'(l~e~ llruli fmlsilled. The d:ay WDi1e~~mI .t\~.
rUt h.eQ.vi~y. ·e,Hclt hfill! cries.

~.~:ere I!ih.efbt ,(;;Oillrrl!f~ a£l\IIM extends it!l Sl!lrrQ~rudtn~ its hiU"Jf$t. l":i liers, fftllill )/QfJ.l. know w11.er,e, !!pr.kiQ1;f!: ~1!liI~wu':;l G p run the fie~dI~ ~i~e\dng !h~~!hey WliHalwa~"S live adt;lmed II!! !ill.eu~YOil,l!ihJu1 flowers. _ _, BUI ~t.e "ktotlol,lS Ri\i"~r :'J'Oi'~ ~llel't1JI' '.ecm$SJrlg, . I .and $~I~l:"Ices dae :I:!ll,lgtr•.er ~rrIil;sbrQad, wise CP1.lilSe.. 'Jhe shores 3n~ .hQ.!M:I!I~!;move as ene, Ilere us'ihe di~oor&I~1 il'lOOs!f}i 9f ~irlae.. "Ji'he.rrligla~~n~es., 1.lp$e:1 boy noise and OO(Ily pl,Ii\.II.l;, le{l:v~~!bef~e$l:t·f~.cecI'W'Ood£.

OM unused q~<l'.Yf: ~fdl!:;JQinled smne .!l.upport drab houses wtlllt pOltllly roofs. Ponr \1,\(Inilell WI~l skkuny <lmas ~Iii Ihdr rags.

the rain I»mi (heI:1Jl(ml!~rrlg: sCeliJlted.Uly ()fllle VWJley. 'Jhe>sw'l ~ways; ~liJl:e~,Qrrld man !lIw~y~ W<I!!l;h~~ -rhUsb, whm!le h:;l!JffiiQdec wh~ <).llil.i(lc;b; tl:te wiU.Qw trees, w~ of 'h~e ~r.iGik$,

'Jhe U Is~des and wl:tf:re the 'WOilf ~UtlJ!>" ~e ruiilledl,. a
~i,JJI,at.ed t1(l"W w-iiJb.lN"Illte hmrri!,'!S <6"liCI :rac!ofiies 'WIith me!:hQdi caBy pail'llied brick $1]l9~e~~aCk.~ 'Jhe ~uie~ nver, et!J~ uv~,~[he p.1~11_ YOllng men, !l!mfil~ O!ll£ll;.e:w!:i:fi!l~,!alm~ ~1e WII!e:r, and for:gf:t, lhl'{)l;.Ig,illtllei.r rQWlIlg;, thei!' ~~:;JivL~l. pl(ll. jlI:1id gQ, hll!ppy, wi!~ 'Wqmer.i., ne~e I~ daetlly, -fhe m.:;Jitnfnnlh d~ wi'8] Il!U ~!St.o~il<1·Me crisi,s,

!lnr;! .~i.e, [11;110now. 1

Pl;\(f~~

~I~$,

n~p 'W<II"e-~ [liil~i,1.p
Cl;.lrl
c

I,ip.Qfl SOl1l'le greiM

yet fu~,~d Ill!> I~~i\l~ ~ik»i:~~ _ l.:::t thenlse1v.e$ cmlmhl.eltru'qrLl~I.1:l' In:lifI!~le water_

Mdse

UI

sa f!lill (It'tl1)ise
ff.'():m oars.

We: see leS$ of ~ihestli\l':s Uri the $~ owlth !he ~~ghtf)ofdbe dQek$ arri.i;lt~lecs~~!S
f1l'!1d

blillil,$l.~nB MJ sanly, pror;billUl ~l.Qt t!lie iOee is arelen!less, ~ ~$(iapOJJdle (:If WD!e.r.

The

$aa..~ hi.U!Ji4'es:,

the res!il~~ sr.:y,Ihe air tfll~~hN and b1.!Jrstil:l!g $ky_

boister(ll;.lS vUdces

..Jai,cih ol'lcefel~

[mEl

se..vers vomiting blaek w;~r, hor~do,~s ~l!Im, :ral:l!k~oo.l:l!~1Ir11:, !Ofi,lS~e<I ......tlt the j](JII:.~, d~e""~jjj,~ of. distlU'li peaks. Th@ do.gs. Ihe CII~:;;'I!.~l~ :sp()ii~.the C"l,lIr.rel:"l~. effectiv,e1y ~""'ILrlijjj!r~ihe _gr,e~trlv)'T \llith~~le moon, a ",i.~ver: ye;, s,peJ.;JJde'~he-sllirfrn:;e. e Rl,ilt, no m~tter ~lhehlllm~ ~tife ~le WlI!er ~b~n~!f, the fil!h, ·the imilflerf'Oe ,~ro~ anti ~.ayhaH!l:'? W~ter. jjj~t tl1esf: ~ack~,es.!;.@f!hm~

()I:"ILy, ~1l.e I~Wer 4oel; ~Q~ l~€:h undee !he1r.ut and heavy bln'.@e~, If I arnd~tifir~.Ln the I;Iepjhs

De gJI1e!J~ !U,e b~okew IlIOW, aowJtS:'lrearn Qf'\ft:e. Man. hal) ~1a"¢djfl$d·~f.J!he i '!.If:t b~ 1'Il~d@ rIQ,.;:'!e r i~ illY"" th.n i~ U$so brnacl IIndJ.>O deep, The sea, by !~\ie.$'Sel ~ L:>l~.n'wi~iLltlJ~~~f:t frf!,~.c~ te<lUn~ off~awf!Y lDt1lff~wfle:rever ~heWilld blQws .. The IRI",e~, bel.o'!.l,ed(lf hillman II:li~l!l'>trry. oonl!hri,J.e's; ~hl:'Q~. the ~mw~gni . .Atl:l!~~~ i~a:divarLoes tri.\lll]l]lhlllrll, CQf;1~nj)(ed} 'WIfh n~i~eo l.~a"".i.l'Ig ellilpea~~ed '&iih f~'e$11 ani;!! clew jii!l'

~w._

liherll, ~n!~le mornmg, beyQt1J th,~~e$ (lif~l~ ci'1Y: c(nIllPQ:res y_pcn. tnei:l1aJil, be~d 'I!I(JII)I:"I velvet je'\!ilel~en> $.k,l'(:Ie~ IXirged ilrllh~~r fol~~~ fiarm~ 'Wiifih lrurge ;t'Q(if1>, low and Il1~S·O(lve.l;¢tI. t~pestJ~,es Q:f endless mea;~ws ~e~eo fil1a_gl)ies flat~OiLi~. RIJ:lhnes$ :oo.ftly ~k"el:l! wh~)oho.nly oome th.i)"lJ_ghtf!li1 p~!l;!!tl!! elm assess l,Vhet-a wh~ppirlg his oM ill:"lrl w.inded ..mll,]~e,

there

Theosea de:m0n~ allcsprioe, anti then, sometimes
j~~[~~

The

[U v e.~..viU @Iw.ay:r:; 'Widen, !I:;;I(l:ng ,Qs~he bs.nk:s l(l<t.e ~hidr f:ugi.!i.ve ~~Ile..~'~\!;.llr&; ~le hQU.~Z(JtlL

!he. tribll~:es Qihhe River, Ihe ~jlt ~ !!he ~he corpses, dne bi:oiketl! rod:.s (lit QiistMtl:"lll)Ul'lcainlS. fr(JIm~he fOl1tlan&. !be hllnn~e.fS,dne VII!)t~~ains. It $l(l~e tl:blltw :feed dle se(l,

And everyihing is·piLed up, an Qbs!a{:;~ell) dle .ru..re~_ 'The proud man bese is !he tlistliDct debn!; of £<v-ery lr'e~t,.
the dlark t~l!Jles where his rm:ce W:;)$ I1fil

bo.rn.

'lh*, land ~8J01ce~S.Frol'lil (lfflli" ~e c;ack'~ c~~ c~0.Ck"S haze. ArllQ.rlgSlt ~he pooJs. and dbdt:;:, !he and l'I"nfloreoclllOWtf:., the cri·~~~ ohhe c.aps;ta.nr.r~~, 'W"Ine:l:e~ dm(usand, porle~.s, ~re IlIn~Qad!i.ngf:oolll, bales Md b<lrreis, metal b~rs alldwheai, all thllt Y~I.lI'I~l!lhi fil'l(i!in fll)taway filult ~~ops, hl. the ~rnol-y r.:a~eu;, sai~(jit$CQ-n3r~sate tomenaae ill e:l:9ifC ~~l2:"U<I!..ge~. 'Fhe,. w.!Uer

geiU.rlg

(IIr the

~O~I, In

~.e UJ1i!Jl,p.ei!killle,

Ri~ver s1.'Of!'~ ." hi.i ~~u'bJ~dI, beFore ~11 fim.:!): Itl!fim~y.

I~$lib~ ~ h.~!l~en ~g;l.IIhw: Hne: i squadrons g!ill.lBpung, tai;~ ng dusr, the wi;lve=:;of!.he ~~ .a.rrive tQ gre~t ~l~L~ 'Whi'~ew~da fnW:ll, 'i,!~cliflrk'lIi~ airs, anclllilen 1:eIUrri ~n.~ !lle R~ver .I.~p'en.i.ng. wilh f,,';!fe~ tile. Sllilall~. ~",Id flows (If fl'esh~[ceil'. The sea flees, hl;ll ~rr~~ Iliad clj!lpe~f:::!>froteYer, r.lulik by Ulli:, all nheserilows, the snus of tI~slaJat!:rqml'lilu!S

OIHresh ~, where" in. the e\'('5fl.i,n.g, Ihe sw~.u~w is an.cll"1)re,j, Foil' I foUowedi~s flow ~o dne i:llIgiary sea. So It r~ads, my frieuds, tl:"lu~ $OfIIg, qrl,lie~ ('!J11di pmud, in '1Ime~of fever >ifI(I in days o:f CI'ioQll.en~f I! hl!I.~$(!!nes h~":t wHh Ilhe .lliImm!U!I' of ~e R~v:e:r .

Mruse.. C~elU'"e,yed..Mllif,:e, ~e bje:l:!:ffi!' D~ph~ yow long di~daitl~ng, ll'I.y Si)i1ofl ~$9"..·~r, i;J¢cause you harye oonoo~eJ" me w.1lin al~YO:llr' Rl~~ki ~ s~'-l,Uids, yC1"1,! have sho ........ a me (l.neofm.y grea~ell'men1oi'ies, gl.~I!r:u:ner$[O ·.ill~ Ihe ~Ler,ri,tia~ ~!l~lbabbl.es
.Flaru@.hty

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~,

J'I'.

~_h"'. ,

~!rI:j!'t'mO:;
,~t;I ••

~I PIl' D'E LA 'W R Ii!" ~,.~1;ni

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P,;,~.

!41:1"

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