5

In No Longer Human Osamu Dazai attributes the quote below to Guy-Charles Cros:

…et puis on recommence encore le lendemain
avec seulement la même règle que la veille
et qui est d'éviter les grandes joies barbares
de même que les grandes douleurs
comme un crapaud contourne une pierre sur son chemin…

I could not find a source of this quote and would greatly appreciate if someone could give me directions.

7

This is from Les fêtes quotidiennes (1912):

Il en est pour qui la vie est chose simple,
chose facile et de tous les jours;
on fait sa correspondance, on « fait l’amour »,
on fait, avant tout, « ses affaires »
et puis on recommence encore le lendemain
avec seulement la même règle que la veille
et qui est d’éviter les grandes joies barbares
de même que les grandes douleurs
comme un crapaud contourne une pierre sur son chemin.

There are those for whom life is a simple thing,
an easy thing, an everyday thing:
you write your letters, you “make love”,
you do, first of all, “your business”,
and then you start again tomorrow
with just the same rule as yesterday,
which is to avoid great savage joys
as well as great sorrows
like a toad avoids a pebble in its path.

Guy-Charles Cros (1912). Les fêtes quotidiennes, pp. 9–10. Paris: Mercure. My translation.

I found this by searching the Internet Archive for a short distinctive phrase from the poem (I picked “grandes joies barbares”), and selecting the “Search text contents” option. This resulted in four hits: the original publication of Les fêtes quotidiennes and three quotations via Osamu Dazai. (If there had been many hits I would have sorted by publication date and look at the earliest appearances, but that wasn’t necessary in this case. If the Internet Archive did not have any relevant hits I would have tried Gallica and discovered an earlier publication, in Mercure de France, 16 juin 1911, p. 715.)

4
  • Thank you so much! May I ask, did you just happen to know this or do you have a more involved routine for looking up quotes? For me just using common search engines did not prove successful at all here. Apr 25 at 9:42
  • I would recommend "pierre" for stone, as "pebble" is closer to "caillou" or "galet", which suggests more a smooth and round stone, possibly smaller, too. Unrelated, the colon after "an everyday thing" should be a semi-colon.
    – njzk2
    Apr 25 at 16:18
  • I'll have to disagree. I'm not sure how colon is better in this case, but I'm sure it has a different meaning. As for pebble, the kind of pebble a toad would encounter on its path, short of taking a stroll on a beach are "cailloux", which are typically too small for a toad to need to go around them.
    – njzk2
    Apr 25 at 16:31
  • 1
    @njk2: I used some freedom in making the translation: it's not meant to be literal. I picked "pebble" for its sound, and chose colon over semi-colon as I interpret the second part of the sentence as being an explanation or expansion of the first part. Apr 25 at 16:42

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