Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois


to Mlle de S***, under the name of Climène

Translated from French
by Alla Jacobs


The god of Lust, that naughty deity
Whose arrows you fire, Climène,
To you enslaved my liberty
But I should like to break my chain.
Tell me, is this not cruelty?
Among your suitors, him who’s most
Faithful to you, you treat the worst!
In front of a too cruel belle,
When a lover must sigh in vain,
Pleasure is nothing more but pain,
And the lover seeks to rebel.
And so this rebellious slave
Asks you, Climène, to strike or save!
Should you your Kindness’ counsel take,
Of pain, my pleasure you would make;
Or else, should Pride your counsellor be,
Teach me insensitivity.

Version originale en français - Original French version by J.-M. Collot d'Herbois

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