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A un jeune gentilhomme

Roussel (1908)

N'entrez pas, Monsieur, s'il vous plaît,
Ne brisez pas mes fougères,
Non pas que cela me fasse grand'peine
Mais que diraient mon père et ma mère?
Et même si je vous aime,
Je n'ose penser à ce qui arriverait.

Ne passez pas mon mur, Monsieur, s'il vous plaît.
N'abîmez pas mes primevères
Non pas que cela me fasse grand'peine
Mais, mon Dieu! que diraient mes frères?
Et même si je vous aime,
Je n'ose penser à ce qui arriverait.

Restez dehors, Monsieur, s'il vous plaît.
Ne poussez pas mon paravent,
Non pas que cela me fasse grand'peine
Mais, mon Dieu! que diraient les gens?
Et même si je vous aime,
Je n'ose penser à ce qui arriverait.

H.P.Roché

from Herbert Giles' English translations of the Chinese.

To a young gentleman

 

Please, Sir, don't come in
don't break my ferns,
not that it would cause me much distress
But what would my father and mother say?
And even if I do love you
I dare not think of what would happen.

Please, Sir, don't pass my wall
don't spoil my primroses,
not that it would cause me much distress
but, my God, what would my brothers say
And even if I do love you
I dare not think of what would happen.

Please, Sir, stay outside.
Don't push my screen,
not that it would cause me much distress
But, my God, what would people say?
And even if I do love you
I dare not think of what would happen.

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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