A Bit Of Color

Category: Poetry
[PARIS, 1896]

Oh, damsel fair at the Porte Maillot,
With the soft blue eyes that haunt me so,
Pray what should I do
When a girl like you
Bestows her smile, her glance, and her sigh
On the first fond fool that is passing by,
Who listens and longs as the sweet words flow
From her pretty red lips at the Porte Maillot?

There were lips as red ere you were born,
Now wreathed in smiles, now curled in scorn,
And other bright eyes
With their truth and lies,
That broke the heart and turned the brain
Of many a tender, lovelorn swain;
But never, I ween, brought half the woe
That comes from the lips at the Porte Maillot.

A charming picture, there you stand,
A perfect work from a master's hand!
With your face so fair
And your wondrous hair,
Your glorious color, your light and shade,
And your classic head that the gods have made,
Your cheeks with crimson all aglow,
As you wait for a lover at the Porte Maillot.

There are gorgeous tints in the jeweled crown,
There are brilliant shades when the sun goes down;
But your lips vie
With the western sky,
And give to the world so rare a hue
That the painter must learn his art anew,
And the sunset borrow a brighter glow
From the lips of the girl at the Porte Maillot.

Come, tell me truly, fair-haired youth,
Do her eyes flash love, her lips speak truth?
Or does she beguile
With her glance and smile,
And burn you, spurn you all day long
With a Circe's art and a Siren's song?
Ah! would that your foolish heart might know
The lie in the heart at the Porte Maillot!

Available translations:

English (Original)