Sonnet XXXI by Joachim du Bellaylisten

Happy is he who, like Ulysses, roams the seas
Or who, like Jason, wins the fleece of gold
And then returns wiser, having seen the world,
To live with kin for the rest of his days.

And when to see, alas, from my little town
The chimney smoke? And in what time of year
Will the yard of my poor home appear,
Which is, to me, a kingdom and beyond?

More pleases me the house my fathers built
Than Roman palaces with fronts of gilt:
More than marble, the fragile slate I've missed.

More than the Latin Tiber, Loire of home,
My little Lyré more than hills of Rome,
Than ocean air, my Anjou's gentle mist.

Translated by Lynn Levin

Photo by Keba Evans Copyright 2008

Joachim du Bellay (1522-60) was one of the most important poets of the Renaissance and remains a cornerstone of the French literary tradition.

Lynn Levin is a poet and literary translator. She is the author of three collections of poems: Fair Creatures of an Hour (forthcoming 2009), Imaginarium, and A Few Questions about Paradise, all published by Loonfeather Press. Imaginarium was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's 2005 Book of the Year Award. Lynn Levin's poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, 5 AM, Boulevard, Hunger Mountain, on Garrison Keillor's show, The Writer's Almanac, Verse Daily, and many other places. Lynn Levin teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and at Drexel University, where she is also the executive producer of the TV show, The Drexel InterViewTM.

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