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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Robert Cameron Rogers (1862–1912)

À Outrance

(France, Seventeenth Century)

HEIGHO! Why the plague did you wake me?

It’s barely a half after four;

My head, too, is—ah! I remember

That little affair at the shore.

Well, I had forgotten completely!

I must have been drinking last night.—

Rapiers, West Sands, and sunrise;—

But whom, by the way, do I fight?

De Genlis! Ah, now I recall it!—

He started it all, did he not?

I drank to his wife—but, the devil!

He needn’t have gotten so hot.

Just see what a ruffler that man is,

To give me a challenge to fight,

And only for pledging milady

A half-dozen times in a night.

Ah, well! it’s a beautiful morning,—

The sun just beginning to rise,—

A glorious day for one’s spirit

To pilgrimage off to the skies—

God keep mine from any such notion;—

This dual’s à outrance, you see.—

I haven’t confessed for a month back,

And haven’t had breakfast, tant pis!

Well, here we are, first at the West Sands!

The tide is well out; and how red

The sunrise is painting the ocean;—

Is that a sea-gull overhead?

And here come De Genlis and Virron:

Messieurs, we were waiting for you

To complete, with the sea and the sunrise,

The charming effect of the view.

Are we ready? Indeed we were waiting

Your orders, Marigny and I.

On guard then it is,—we must hasten:

The sun is already quite high.

Where now would you like me to pink you?

I’ve no choice at all, don’t you see;

And any spot you may desire

Will be convenable for me.

From this hand-shake I judge I was drinking

Last night, with the thirst of a fish;

I’ve vigor enough though to kill you,

Mon ami, and that’s all I wish.

Keep cool, keep your temper, I beg you,—

Don’t fret yourself— Now by your leave

I’ll finish you off— Help, Marigny!

His sword’s in my heart, I believe.

God! God! What a mortification!

The Amontillado last night—

Was drinking, you know, and my hand shook;—

My head, too, was dizzy and light.

And I the best swordsman in Paris!

No priest, please, for such as I am—

I’m going— Good-by, my Marigny;

De Genlis, my love to Madame.