“To Two Beautiful Eyes”

translated by Nolan Dannels

“To Two Beautiful Eyes”

You have a singular and charming look;

Like the moon at the bottom of the lake which reflects it,

Your pupil, where a damp speck gleams,

Rolls languidly in the corner of your sweet eyes;


They seem to have taken its diamond blaze;

They are a perfect pearl of the first water,

And your long eyelashes, filled with emotion, with their worried wing,

Only half-veil their brilliant radiance.


A thousand little loves, in their mirror of flame,

Come to look and find themselves more beautiful there,

And desires shall relight their torches there.


They are so transparent that they let your soul be seen,

Like a pale-blue flower with a perfect calyx

That we would glimpse through a crystal.


original poem  by Théophile Gautier

“À deux beaux yeux” 

Vous avez un regard singulier et charmant ;

Comme la lune au fond du lac qui la reflète,

Votre prunelle, où brille une humide paillette,

Au coin de vos doux yeux roule languissamment ;


Ils semblent avoir pris ses feux au diamant ;

Ils sont de plus belle eau qu’une perle parfaite,

Et vos grands cils émus, de leur aile inquiète,

Ne voilent qu’à demi leur vif rayonnement.


Mille petits amours, à leur miroir de flamme,

Se viennent regarder et s’y trouvent plus beaux,

Et les désirs y vont rallumer leurs flambeaux.


Ils sont si transparents, qu’ils laissent voir votre âme,

Comme une fleur céleste au calice idéal

Que l’on apercevrait à travers un cristal.


Nolan Dannels

“Nolan Dannels is currently a PhD student at the University of California, San Diego, studying Literatures in English.  His research interests lie in the realms of contemporary poetry and reader-response criticism. He received his Master’s degree in English Language and Literature at the University of Edinburgh.  He also self-published a book of poetry, entitled March of the Unreal.”


Théophile Gautier

Théophile Gautier was a 19th-century French writer and critic who was responsible for influencing writers like Marcel Proust, Honoré de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire, T. S. Eliot, Oscar Wilde, and Ezra Pound with his work, which is often classified as belonging to Romanticism and Parnassianism, among other literary movements.  His most well-regarded work of poetry is his collection, Émaux et Camées, which is marked by its emphasis on poetic form over content.