Chapter 15 — The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandré Dumas

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Translation Variations

French version: 6:54-7:34
À force de se dire à lui-même, à propos de ses ennemis, que le calme était la mort, et qu'à celui qui veut punir cruellement il faut d'autres moyens que la mort, il tomba dans l'immobilité morne des idées de suicide; malheur à celui qui, sur la pente du malheur, s'arrête à ces sombres idées! C'est une de ces mers mortes qui s'étendent comme l'azur des flots purs, mais dans lesquelles le nageur sent de plus en plus s'engluer ses pieds dans une vase bitumineuse qui l'attire à elle, l'aspire, l'engloutit. Une fois pris ainsi, si le secours divin ne vient point à son aide, tout est fini, et chaque effort qu'il tente l'enfonce plus avant dans la mort.

Public Domain version:
By dint of constantly dwelling on the idea that tranquillity was death, and if punishment were the end in view other tortures than death must be invented, he began to reflect on suicide. Unhappy he, who, on the brink of misfortune, broods over ideas like these!

Before him is a dead sea that stretches in azure calm before the eye; but he who unwarily ventures within its embrace finds himself struggling with a monster that would drag him down to perdition. Once thus ensnared, unless the protecting hand of God snatch him thence, all is over, and his struggles but tend to hasten his destruction. This state of mental anguish is, however, less terrible than the sufferings that precede or the punishment that possibly will follow. There is a sort of consolation at the contemplation of the yawning abyss, at the bottom of which lie darkness and obscurity.

Robin Buss' translation (1996, 2003):
…eventually he fell into the melancholy quietude of thoughts of suicide. Woe to the man who, sliding into misfortune, is drawn by such dark thoughts! This is one of those dead seas that seem to offer the inviting blue of pure waters, but where the swimmer’s feet are sucked into a bituminous mire which draws him, drags him down and swallows him up. Once caught, he is lost if God does not come to his aid, and every effort that he makes pulls him nearer to death. - The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas ROBIN BUSS

• Bituminous Bitumen - a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation. It is used for road surfacing and roofing.

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