He understood irrigation and the art of war-the qualities of weapons and the craft of boat-building. He could conceal his heart; had more endurance; he could swim longer, and steer a canoe better than any of his people; he could shoot straighter, and negotiate more tortuously than any man of his race I knew. He was an adventurer of the sea, an outcast, a ruler-and my very good friend. I wish him a quick death in a stand-up fight, a death in sunshine; for he had known remorse and power, and no man can demand more from life. [Read More…]

‘Karain: A Memory’, in Tales of Unrest (1898)


Icare est chu ici, le jeune audacieux,
Qui pour voler au Ciel eut assez de courage :
Ici tomba son corps degarni de plumage,
Laissant tous braves coeurs de sa chute envieux.

Ô bienheureux travail d’un esprit glorieux,
Qui tire un si grand gain d’un si petit dommage !
Ô bienheureux malheur, plein de tant d’avantage
Qu’il rende le vaincu des ans victorieux !

Un chemin si nouveau n’étonna sa jeunesse,
Le pouvoir lui faillit, mais non la hardiesse ;
Il eut, pour le brûler, des astres le plus beau.

Il mourut poursuivant une haute aventure,
Le ciel fut son désir, la mer sa sépulture :
Est-il plus beau dessein, ou plus riche tombeau ?

Les Amours d’Hippolyte (1573)

Ce poème est cité par le personnage de M dans le SkyFall (2012) de Sam Mendes.
Voir la scène en VO et en français.

Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

→ Le texte complet sur le site de Poetry Foundation