Archive for February 12th, 2019

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

L’Avare [The Miser] by Guillaume Alexis

L’homme convoiteux est hatif*, &c.

He who for selfish gain would live
Is quick to take, and slow to give,
Knows well the secret to refuse,
And can his niggard deeds excuse.
If aught he gives will straight repent,
Holds all as lost he may have spent.
His gold counts daily o’er and o’er,
And seeks in books no other lore.
From morn till night is restless still
To watch how soon his coffers fill.
Sighs, listens, breathless at a sound,
Lest lurking spies should hover round:
Cares not to pay, at each demand
Doles forth his coin with trembling hand:
He gives but that his gains may grow,
And gains not ever to bestow;
Free, if to others goods belong,
But, on his own, his clutch is strong:
To give his miser hand is closed,
To take his eager palm exposed.

*The covetous man is hasty, etc.

From: Costello, Louisa Stuart (ed. and transl.), Specimens of the Early Poetry of France: From the Time of the Troubadours and Trouveres to the Reign of Henri Quatre, 1835, William Pickering: London, pp. 164-165.

Date: 15th century (original in French); 1835 (translation in English)

By: Guillaume Alexis (15th century)

Translated by: Louisa Stuart Costello (14799-1870)