Il se fait tard.
eel sfay TAAR. Click below to hear this.*
It’s getting late.
Time has a mind of its own. When we want it to speed up, it slows down. When we want it to stop for a moment, it floors the gas pedal.
We can’t command time, but we can plead with it, complain about it, blame it for not acknowledging our wishes. In English, we say It’s getting late. Impersonal time–it–is passing in spite of us.
French takes it one step further: Literally, It is making itself late. As if time had it in for us, as if time were trying intentionally to trash the good times we were having.
Which is the gist of Alphonse de Lamartine’s great poem Le Lac. I think I’ll write about that in my next post. Lamartine’s words, while overblown and wildly romantic by today’s standards, are so much more elegant, and eloquent, than mine.
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: