Friday, December 13, 2013

Paul and Virginia 1851

as taken from the book translated by HMW of  a J.B.H DE SAINT PIERRE novel.

The following translation of  "Paul and Virginia" was written at Paris, amidst the horrors of Robespierre's tyranny.  During that gloomy epocha it was difficult to find occupations which might cheat the days of calamity of their weary length.  Society had vanished; amidst the minute vexations of Jacobinical despotism, which while it murdered in mass, persecuted in detail, the resources of writing, and even reading, were encompassed with danger.  The researches of domiciliary visits had already compelled me to commit to the flames a manuscript volume, where I had traced the political scenes of which I had been a witness, with the colouring of their first impressions on my mind, with those fresh tints that fade from recollection; and since my pen, accustomed to follow th eimpulse of my feeling, could only have drawn, at that fatal period those images of desolation and despair which haunted my imagination, and dwelt upon my heart, writing was forbidden employment.  ...
...In this situation I gave myself the task of employing a few hours every day in translating the charming little novel of Bernardin St. Pierre, entitled "Paul and Virginia;" and I found the most soothing relief in wandering from my own gloomy reflections to those enchanting scenes of the Mauritius, which he has so admirably described.   ...
...With respect to the translation, I can only hope to deserve the humble merit of not having deformed the beauty of the original. I have, indeed, taken one liberty with my author, which it is fit I should acknowledge, that of omitting several pages of general observations, which, however excellent in themselves, would be passed over with impatience by the English reader, when they interrupt the pathetic narrative.  In this respect the two nations seem to change characters; and while serious and reflecting Englishman requires, in novel writing, as well as on the theatre, a rapid succession of incidents, must bustle and stage effect, without suffering the author to appear himself, and stop the progress of the story; the gay and restless Frenchman listens attentively to long philosophical reflections, while catastrophe of the drama hangs in suspense.  ...
...I can scarcely flatter myself that my ear is become more attuned to the harmony of a language, with the sounds of which it is seldom gladdened; or that my poetical taste is improved by living in a country where arts have given place to arms.  But the public will, perhaps receive with indulgence a work written under such peculiar circumstances; not composed in the calm of literary leisure, or in pursuit of literary fame, but amidst the turbulence of the most cruel sensations, and in order to escape awhile from overwhelming misery.
This work was originally published by a New York Publisher D Appleton and Company. 1851
It was translated from the French.

Monday, May 14, 2012


I would have spelt it with an o, but spell check knows best. In the business I am in, a jibe is taken in good stride. A younger more experienced associate was kidding me about my knowledge of playing the game of soccer.  I had played in High School, College and even on a Italian German Team in my post college days. We had uniforms and a dues and a league with a schedule, practices and families made the trek out to watch their people win or lose.  When I commented what year I played in High School, surprisingly I found out my associate was two at the time I graduated High School.

So what he missed when I was in High School was Race riots in 1973, and the moon landing in 1969. These are all things I grew up enjoying and not enjoying.  I also remember the milkman delivering fresh milk and cottage cheese to the front steps of the house.  I remember Elsie the Cow on the label.  What else he missed during my era was the Pope coming to Boston and Boston streets being completely shut down to any traffic except for Federal Vehicles, the Postal trucks being federally owned still were able to navigate the street and deliver the mails. These were the only vehicles navigating the streets in those days, empty streets but the white postal trucks emblazoned with an Eagle.   In those days in the late 70' in Boston they still had Gas Street lights that lined the streets of the Commonwealth.  A man used to have to go light by light and turn the gas on and light each light at night. He retired in 1979 and the town was converted to electricity. I am talking 1979 people not 1879.  Gas Lights in Boston in the late 70's.  It was Groovy Baby.  We were the Peace and Love Generation.  They were different times, no cell phones, but we did have MTV, when MTV played music.

I could go on and talk about the Franciscan Friars Monastery I grew up adjacent to, a thirty acre estate that we were allowed to do whatever we wanted on and we did, but that is gone and mysteries that revealed themselves to us post monastery are intriguing speculation that make for good books and not blogs.

What small mystery has gone forever that you have lived through that may never bee seen or heard of because some new younger person will never be made aware and carry a truth forward?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


It is the first day of spring, a mysterious fog wandered through the harbor, at Noon from North to South it sauntered.
 By 1 PM, the fog and icy cold breeze lifted.  Mysterious rock formations were found on the Beaches, stacks of rocks pointing to the sky.
As I wrote declaring it was the Spring Witch and that she would return to my facebook friend even more mysteriously the note backspaced the screens back and this beautifully fluid poem meant to impress my facebook readers was wiped clean.  I gave warning that the Spring witch would return, and it had in my note.  So I have high tailed it here to Blogger to scream read me.
 The Magnolias are ready to blossom, the Johnny Jump Ups are bloomed, The rose Bush is baron, nude of any beauty, thorny in its appeal.
 The fish having had babies late last year, June Babies, Summer Babies not spring babies, seem to want to lay their eggs earlier. They are all hovering in the laying fields of the pond.  The children at one inch and most children still all black are hovering about everywhere else. The few that are golden and one is Gold and White can be seen with wonder in their eye not having yet learned of the evil egress or the horny toad willing to swallow them without remorse. This  hovering in the corner could mean one of two things. Everyone of the older siblings is having a go at fertilizing the laid eggs or there is a demon rogue frog at the bottom of the pond scaring the begeezus out of the school, forcing them to take to the high ground.  They are eating the spring pond flake, so that is a good sign.

The temperature today approached 70, yet the mysterious fog and chill was unusual.  It is the 20th of March and the seasons are due to change.  So formal a change is rarely greeted.  As I cut my 150 length Hedges that run the length of my Drive and the front hedges, neighbors stop by and compliment me on how wonderful the yard always look they watch it all year, having to drive by and stop at the stops sign mounted at the mouth of our driveway.  It is unique living at a stops sign,, when you get to your Driveway inevitably someone is blocking your entrance and they are surely mystified with why are you staring at them smiling and turning precariously toward them, then it dawns on them that you live there and you are quietly waiting there departure.  When we first moved in, we thought how wonderful everyone is stopping to look at the house or maybe they are lost, only in reality they are just stopping at the stop sign performing a civic obligation.

When my 100 year old Japanese maple one year turned yellow leaves and fell early from the weather instruction that year I was blessed to see this lush miracle, now every year I wonder if this will be that year when the tree gives up its yellow leaves instead of bronzing them and holding back on letting them drop as it so often does.