(1694 - 1778 / Paris / France)

From Love To Friendship

If you would have me love once more,
The blissful age of love restore;
From wine's free joys, and lovers' cares,
Relentless time, who no man spares,
Urges me quickly to retire,
And no more to such bliss aspire.
From such austerity exact,
Let's, if we can, some good extract;
Whose way of thinking with this age
Suits not, can ne'er be deemed a sage.
Let sprightly youth its follies gay,
Its follies amiable display;
Life to two moments is confined,
Let one to wisdom be consigned.
You sweet delusions of my mind,
Still to my ruling passion kind,
Which always brought a sure relief
To life's accurst companion, grief.
Will you forever from me fly,
And must I joyless, friendless die?
No mortal e'er resigns his breath
I see, without a double death;
Who loves, and is beloved no more,
His hapless fate may well deplore;
Life's loss may easily be borne,
Of love bereft man is forlorn.
'Twas thus those pleasures I lamented,
Which I so oft in youth repented;
My soul replete with soft desire,
Vainly regretted youthful fire.
But friendship then, celestial maid,
From heaven descended to my aid;
Less lively than the amorous flame,
Although her tenderness the same.
The charms of friendship I admired,
My soul was with new beauty fired;
I then made one in friendship's train,
But destitute of love, complain.

User Rating: 3,1 / 5 ( 51 votes ) 15

Comments (15)

Read Voltaire for the first time and find his lines intriguing.
'Twas thus those pleasures I lamented, Which I so oft in youth repented; Well-thought and beautifully penned! ! ! !
This first part of the poem reminds me Voltaire's remarks on the Thoughts of Pascal. Unlike Condorcet, Voltaire was a pessimistic thinker regarding the human condition, ''Urges me quickly to retire, /And no more to such bliss aspire..'' The delusions come from this discrepancy between the freedom of God, Who is 'not infinite, eternal' and His capability to impose restrictions on the liberty of the human condition, ''Let one to wisdom be consigned. You sweet delusions of my mind.'' As Locke, he thinks that the infinity has also a negative aspect. I like the lines in which he expressed the idea of two negatives regarding the duality of the Demiurge, ''No mortal e'er resigns his breath/I see, without a double death; '' The first death is so beautifully suggested in the last line, ''But destitute of love, complain. '' Wonderful poem- voted 10
How they said, Let's just be friends in the gilded age. :)
A classical poem whose cadence and rhyme form a beautiful support to the very romantic language employed without distraction. Well deserved legacy of the classical age.
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