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Ils se disent, ma colombe,
Que tu rêves, morte encore,
Sous la pierre d'une tombe:
Mais pour l'âme qui t'adore,
Tu t'éveilles, ranimée,
O pensive bien-aimée!

Par les blanches nuits d'étoiles,
Dans la brise qui murmure,
Je caresse tes longs voiles,
Ta mourante chevelure,
Et les ailes demi-closes
Qui voltigent sur les roses!

O délices! je respire
Tes divines tresses blondes!
Ta voix pure, cette lyre,
Suit la vague sur les ondes,
Et, suave, les effleure,
Comme un cygne qui se pleure!

Théodore de Banville

The enamoured one


They say, my dove,
that you dream, even now dead,
beneath the stone of a tomb:
but for the soul which loves you,
you awaken, revived,
o thoughtful dearest beloved!

In the white night of stars,
in the murmuring breeze,
I caress your long veils,
your dying hair,
and the half-closed wings
which hover over the roses!

O sweetness! I breath in
your divine blond tresses!
your pure voice, this lyre,
follows the wave across the waters
and, suavely, brushes against them
like a weeping swan!

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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