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Larbaud, Valéry: Madame Tussaud’s (Madame Tussaud’s in English)

Portre of Larbaud, Valéry

Madame Tussaud’s (French)

Il me semble que toute la sagesse du monde
Est dans les yeux de ces bonshommes en cire.
Je voudrais être enfermé là toute une nuit,
Une nuit d’hiver, par mégarde,
Surtout dans la salle des criminels,
Des bons criminels en cire,
Faces luisantes, yeux ternes, et corps – en quoi?
Mais, est-ce que ça leur ressemble vraiment?
Alors pourquoi les a-t-on enfermés, électrocutés ou pendus,
Pendant que leur image muette reste ici?
Avec des yeux qui ne peuvent pas dire les horreurs souffertes,
Mais qui rencontrent des yeux partout, sans fin, sans fin.
Les ferment-ils au moins la nuit?

Uploaded byP. T.
Source of the quotation

Madame Tussaud’s (English)

It seems to me that all the world’s wisdom
Is in the eyes of these wax figures.
I’d like to be locked in there all night long,
One winter night, by accident,
Especially in the criminals room,
Fine wax criminals,
Shiny faces, dull eyes, and bodies—of what?
But is this what they really looked like?
Then why were they locked up, electrocuted, or hanged,
While their mute images stand here?
With eyes unable to tell of horrors suffered,
But meeting eyes everywhere, endlessly, endlessly.
Do they close them at least at night?

Uploaded byP. T.
Source of the quotation