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Petits cours de morale

Honegger (1941)

Jeanne

Dans Londres, la grande ville,
Il est un être plus seul
Qu'un naufragé dans son ile
Et qu'un mort dans son linceul.
Grand badaud, petit rentier,
Jeanne, voilà son métier.

Adèle

A Douvres un original
Tombe un jour dans le chenal.
Il appelle au sauvetage.
Il se cramponne au récif.
Mais vers lui nul cœur ne nage...
Adèle, ainsi meurt l'oisif.

Cécile

Le grand chinois de Lancastre
Vous attire avec des fleurs...
Puis vous inonde d'odeurs...
Bientôt sa pipe est votre astre!
Du lys au pavot, Cécile,
La route, hélas! est docile.

Irène

Le lord prévôt d'Édimbourg
Dit que l'amour est chimère.
Mais un jour il perd sa mère...
Ses larmes coulent toujours.
Irène, petite Irène,
L'Amour c'est la grande peine.

Rosemonde

Qu'as-tu vu dans ton exil?
Disait à Spencer sa femme,
A Rome, à Vienne, à Pergame,
A Calcutta? _ Rien!... fit-il...
Veux-tu décourvrir le monde?
Ferme tes yeux, Rosemonde.

Jean Giraudoux

The texts are drawn from a novel Suzanne et le Pacifique

Little lessons in morals

 

Jeanne

In London, the big town,
there is a being more lonely
than a castaway on his island
and than a corpse in his shroud.
Big onlooker, holder of little money,
Jeanne, that is his profession.

Adèle

In Dover an original
falls one day into the channel.
He calls to the coast guard.
He grips onto the reef.
But no heart swims towards him.
Adèle, thus dies the man of leisure...

Cécile

The tall Chinaman from Lancaster
lures you with flowers...
Then swamps you in scents...
Soon his pipe is your star!
From the lily to the poppy, Cécile,
the road, alas, is peaceful!

Irène

The Lord Prevost of Edimbrugh
says that love is illusory.
But one day he loses his mother...
His tears are still flowing.
Irène, little Irène,
Love is the great sorrow.

Rosemonde

What did you see during your exile?
Spencer's wife used to say to him,
in Rome, in Vienna, in Pergamo,
in Calcutta? _ Nothing!.. Said he...
Do you wish to discover the world?
Close your eyes, Rosemonde.

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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