Gerard De Nerval


Myrtho, enchantress, goddess, on my mind!

Lofty Posillipo, that teemed with light;

Your brow, awash with eastern splendour bright,

Your golden tresses with black grapes entwined!


In your cup, too, I drank down ecstasy, 

And in your laughing eyes’ elusive flare,

That saw me at Iacchus’ feet, in prayer.

The Muse has made a true-born Greek of me!


Again the mount has opened. I know why:

With your quick foot you touched it yestereve,

And suddenly its ashes fill the sky.


A Norman duke destroyed your gods of clay,

Since when, beneath the boughs of Virgil’s bay,

Green myrtles and hortensias interweave!




Translated from French by © Timothy Ades