Transcript of 'Sea Breeze' ('Brise Marine') poem by Stéphane Mallarmé

In English

Both the flesh and the spirit weary me; I am no longer
in love and I have read all my books. I long to get away,
to flee from this world to where the birds are wild with
joy to be flying across unknown seas and skies. Nothing
shall hold me back from my heart's desire to plunge deep
into the sea and to vanish into the night; neither the old
gardens I see around me, nor the unbroken circle of light
from my lamp, falling on the blank sheet of paper and its
forbidding whiteness, nor my wife suckling her child. I shall
abandon everything and board a steamer with swaying masts
setting off for some exotic land. For such is my weariness,
overwhelmed by disappointed hopes, that I still cherish the
illusion that one can really escape, that handkerchiefs can
wave in a truly final farewell. Even though these masts
may perhaps run into storms so that my dreams of escape
will lead only to the shipwreck of my hopes, instead of to the
welcoming island I visualise, my heart still finds it hard to
resist the idea of escape and the appeal of sailors’ songs.

In French

La chair est triste, hélas! et j'ai lu tous les livres
Fuir! là-bas fuir! Je sens que les oiseaux sont ivres
D'être parmi l'écume inconnue et les cieux!
Rien, ni les vieux jardins reflétés par les yeux
Ne retiendra ce coeur qui dans le mer se trempe,
O nuits! ni la clarté déserte de ma lampe
Sur le vide papier que la blancheur défend
Et ni la jeune femme allaitant son enfant.
Je partirai! Steamer balaçant ta mâture,
Léve l'ancre pour une exotique nature!

Un Ennui, désol par les cruels espoirs,
Croit encore à l'adieu suprême des mouchoirs!
Et peut-être les mâts, ni fertiles ilôts...
Mais, ô mon coeur, entends le chant des matelots!