The years of my youth, my pleasure-bent existence—
how plainly do I see their meaning now.
What useless, foolish regrets …
But I didn’t see their meaning then.
In the dissolute life I led in my youth
my poetry’s designs took shape;
the boundaries of my art were drawn.
That is why the regrets were never firm.
And my resolutions—to master myself, to change—
would keep up for two weeks at the most.
(Translated by Daniel Mendelsohn)