The Moment of Phoebus’ Return & As a Red Hill Fled Before Us

By Guy de Maupassant
Translated from the French by John Foster

The Moment of Phoebus’ Return

When Phoebus returned, 
	   	   the moon in flight before his chariot, 
		I wanted to walk through nature 

		and visit verdant groves, 

to wander through the woods 
	       	       and by the streams,

	       	       to pick violets 
		     		     and listen to the birds behind my house. 

God forsook the sky 
	     	     and Thetis left alone.

		The day dawned, 

		shaking off sleep, 
						and found the Christian joyous to be awoken. 

				Then the farmer, 
						brimming with noble courage,
		took up his daily burden.

		I walked in silence
		 		 by a trickle of water
	     	     flowing below a pure and gorgeous sky.

Sometimes he crossed the flowered plain
	     	     and made detours through the meadow,
		and sometimes, 
		    		    coming across a rock,
				he gathered all this unto himself.

As a Red Hill Fled Before Us

Earth smiled at the azure sky	
	     	     because she was singing here 	
		and through all the world.

	       	       Our parents quarreled, 
								though I don’t know why—
	    	    perhaps because they were at war 	

from morn till night. 
	      	      I sat down on the dewy moss
		at her feet

			   			   as a red hill fled before us,
				   				   pursued by lusty sun. 
						Do you see that grassy dome?
		she asked. This rebel’s ravine?
		       		       I saw nothing save that she was beautiful.
				A young elm barred our way,

tenuous like air	
		     		     across our verdant vault.
		I stood up like a crownèd spire 

						As she passed beneath the tree.
				And then
								how she sang!
		We moved against each other, timid,
						looking at our feet in wet grass.

A mocking blackbird

		whistled at us. I didn’t notice.
				The fields around were silent.
In our young hearts 
	      	      our stolen gaze gave birth
		to many other thoughts,

speaking low,	
	    	    saying that we did not dare.

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