08 March 2012

Le Spectre de la Rose

A rose, plucked from its stem, worn by a young girl to a ball.  Pinned to her dress—just there, over her heart—its cool petals resting against the warmth of her skin as she dances throughout the evening.

After the ball she returns home and undresses languorously: removing her tiny dancing pumps and glittering gown, letting the pins fall from her hair so the curls droop around her face, loosening her corset and petticoats and slipping daintily from her chemise, pulling the soft dressing gown over her shoulders and slipping into bed.

The music of the ball dances through her head as she falls asleep.  The wilted rose rests on her dressing table, lifeless and pale.

But while she sleeps, a dream!  A young man with a narrow, delicate frame and pale lips hovers near, leaning over her bed. He whispers to her, his words caressing her face delicately.

Souleve ta paupiere close..
  he whispers, open your eyes, closed in sleep, dreaming as a virgin dreams.  ‘Tis I.. le Spectre de la rose...

(It is the rose, you see, come to haunt her.)

... the rose you wore last night at the ball, taking me from the garden, still covered in pearls of dew.  Pinning me just here...

He touches her breast gently, making her smile even as she sleeps. She does not waken, thinking it a wonderful dream.

.. just here, ma chere, carrying me against the alabaster flesh as you danced.

His whispers fill her dreams with the sense and scent of him, sweetly tormenting her with his presence.

And so it is, cherie, without your being able to escape it, each night I will come to haunt you. To dance by your bedside.  To rest against that alabaster once more.

He leans nearer, brushing her hair with his rosy scent.

Ah, but don't be fearful. I do not come to ask for a Funeral Mass.. or to chide you. 
No, I come only to dance, ma belle.. only to dance.  So that each morning you will waken, barely knowing if it was a dream.. to have danced all the night with a rose against your breast.. just here...

Again, he carresses that place where he wilted and died.

.. waking with my scent on your fingers and hair. And this scent? This perfume? Ah! it is the essence of my soul.  I come from heaven, you see.   J'arrive du Paradis....  he assures her.   And my destiny could be envied, could it not?  To have had such a fate! More than one would have given his life, ma cherie. For on your breast I have my tomb each night.  And against the alabaster where I repose..  just here..  I write these words with a kiss:

'Here lies a rose that all kings might envy.'

Soulève ta paupière close qu’effleure un songe virginal.
Je suis le spectre d’une rose que tu portais hier au bal.
Tu me pris encor_ emperlée des pleurs d’argent de l’arrosoir,
Et parmi la fête étoilée tu me promenas tout le soir.
Ô toi, qui de ma mort fut cause, sans que tu puisses le chasser,
Toutes les nuits mon spectre rose a ton chevet viendra danser.
Mais ne_ crains rien, je ne réclame ni messe ni De Profundis,
Ce léger parfum est mon âme et j’arrive du Paradis.
Mon destin fut digne d’envie, et pour avoir un sort si beau
Plus d’un aurait donné sa vie. Car sur ton sein j’ai mon tombeau,
Et sur l’albâtre où je repose un poète avec un_ baiser
Écrivit : "Ci-gît une rose que tous les rois vont jalouser".

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