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Chansons de Don Quichotte

Ibert (1933)

Chanson du départ

Ce château neuf, ce nouvel édifice
Tout enrichi de marbre et de porphyre,
Qu'amour bâtit château de son empire,
Où tout le ciel a mis son artifice,
Est un rempart, un fort contre vice,
Où la vertueuse maîtresse se retire,
Que l'œil regarde, et que l'esprit admire,
Forçant les cœurs à lui faire service.
C'est un château, fait de telle sorte
Que nul ne peut approcher de la porte
Si des grands Rois il n'a sauvé sa race,
Victorieux, vaillant et amoureux.
Nul chevalier, tant soit aventureux,
Sans être tel ne peut gagner la place.

Pierre de Ronsard

Chanson à Dulcinée

Un an me dure la journée
Si je ne vois ma Dulcinée.

Mais, Amour a peint son visage,
Afin d'adoucir ma langueur,
Dans la fontaine et le nuage,
Dans chaque aurore et chaque fleur.

Un an me dure la journée
Si je ne vois ma Dulcinée.

Toujours proche et toujours lointaine,
Étoile de mes longs chemins.
Le vent m'apporte son haleine
Quand il passe sur les jasmins.

Chanson du Duc

Je veux chanter ici la Dame de mes songes
Qui m'exalte au dessus de ce siècle de boue
Son cœur de diamant est vierge de mensonges
La rose s'obscurcit au regard de sa joue

Pour Elle, j'ai tenté les hautes aventures
Mon bras a délivré la princesse en servage
J'ai vaincu l'Enchanteur, confondu les parjures
Et ployé l'univers à lui rendre homage.

Dame par qui je vais, seul dessus cette terre,
Qui ne soit prisonnier de la fausse apparence
Je soutiens contre tout Chevalier téméraire
Votre éclat non pareil et votre précellence.

Chanson de la mort

Ne pleure pas Sancho, ne pleure pas, mon bon.
Ton maître n'est pas mort.
Il n'est pas loin de toi.
Il vit dans une ile heureuse
Où tout est pur et sans mensonges.
Dans l'ile enfin trouvée où tu viendras un jour.
Dans l'ile désirée, O mon ami Sancho!
Les livres sont brulés et font un tas de cendres.
Si tous les livres m'ont tué
Il suffit d'un pour que je vie
Fantôme dans la vie, et réel dans la mort.
Tel est l'étrange sort du pauvre Don Quichotte.

Alexandre Arnoux

These songs, though less well known than their counterparts by Ravel, are certainly more faithful to the story of Don Quixote, in which an ageing and feeble country gentleman imagines himself to be a knight-errant. A madness resulting from the reading of too many chivalric romances, the popular but poor literature of the time. In his madness he sets off in quest of adventures, in which he intends to redress the wrongs of the world, but they misfire. The book itself becomes a parody of the books he read. He imagines his Lady Dulcinea, who is in reality just a course peasant girl, and his castle, which is his home. He persuades a simple peasant, Sancho Panza, to be his squire, who remains faithful despite many accidents. Finally his house-keeper and the priest try to save him by burning his books. The one which is to give him the immortality he has been seeking is the very one written about him.

Songs of Don Quixote

 

Song of the departure

This new castle, this new edifice
all adorned with marble and porphyry,
this castle, built by love from its empire,
upon which all of heaven has used its skill,
is a rampart, a fortress against evil
where the virtuous mistress retires,
that the eye observes and the spirit admires,
bringing hearts to servitude.
It is a castle, built in such a way
that none can approach the portal
if he has not saved his lineage from the great Kings,
victorious, brave and amorous.
No knight, however adventurous he may be,
without being such, can enter the place.


Song for Dulcinea

A day lasts a whole year
if I do not see my Dulcinea.

But, so as to sweeten my languor,
Love has painted her face,
in the fountain and the sky,
in each dawn and each flower.

A day lasts a whole year
if I do not see my Dulcinea.

Ever close and ever far,
star of my long paths.
The wind carries her breath to me
when it blows across the jasmine.

Song of the Duke

I want to sing here of the Lady of my dreams,
who raises me above this century of mud.
Her heart of diamond is untarnished by lies.
The rose pales at the sight of her cheek.

For Her, I have attempted lofty adventures.
My arm has delivered the princess in servitude.
I have conquered the Enchanter, confounded the perjuries
and bent the universe to offer her homage.

Lady for whom I, who alone is not a prisoner
of the false appearance, go over this earth,
I proclaim, against any rash Knight,
your unequalled splendour and your excellence.

Song of death

Do not cry Sancho, do not cry, good friend.
Your master is not dead.
He is not far from you.
He lives on a happy isle
where all is pure and free of lies.
On the isle at last discovered where you will come one day.
On the desired isle, o my good friend Sancho!
The books are burned and make a heap of ash.
If all the books have killed me
just one is enough for me to live on,
a ghost in life and real in death.
Such is the strange destiny of poor Don Quixote.

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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