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Un grand sommeil noir

Honegger (1945)

Un grand sommeil noir
Tombe sur ma vie:
Dormez, tout espoir,
Dormez toute envie!

Je ne vois plus rien,
Je perds la mémoire
Du mal et du bien...
O la triste histoire!

Je suis un berceau
Qu'une main balance
Au creux d'un caveau:
Silence, silence!

Paul Verlaine

This text was also used by Honegger for his Quatre chansons pour voix grave. It is a transation of an Anacreonic ode also set, in a different translation, by Roussel.

A great black sleep


A great black sleep
falls on my life:
sleep, all hope,
sleep all desire!

I see nothing more,
I am losing my memory
of the pain and the good...
O the sad story!

I am a cradle
that a hand rocks
in the depth of a vault:
silence, silence!

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

This translation is offered for study purposes. If seeking to use it for concert programmes please do let me know, and if for commercial purposes please consider making a small donation towards the upkeep of the site.