Degeneration

Text by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

Translated into English by Joseph Massaad 

deutsch - franšais


Is nature now adopting human faults?
Has it too grown from bad to worse?
It appears to me that plants and animals
Now tell lies like everyone else.

I do not believe in the lily's chastity,
That gay fellow the butterfly will play
Wanton with her; he kisses her, and
Finally flutters with her innocence away.

Of the violet's humility,
I do not have much of an opinion;
The little flower attracts with her scent,
While secretly thriving for renown.

I also doubt whether the nightingale
Feels what she is singing about;
She exaggerates, sobs and trills,
Purely out of routine, I have no doubt.

Truth is vanishing from the world,
And there is no loyalty any more.
Dogs still wag their tail and stink,
But are not loyal, like before.