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Les papillons

Chausson (1880)

Les papillons couleur de neige
Volent par essaim sur la mer;
Beaux papillons blancs, quand pourrai-je
Prendre le bleu chemin de l'air?

Savez-vous, ô belle des belles,
Ma bayadère aux yeux de jais,
S'ils me voulaient prêter leurs ailes,
Dites, savez-vous, où j'irais?

Sans prendre un seul baiser aux roses,
A travers vallons et forêts,
J'irais à vos lèvres mi-closes,
Fleur de mon âme, et j'y mourrais.

Théophile Gautier

The butterflies

 

The butterflies, the colour of snow,
are flying in swarms over the sea;
beautiful white butterflies, when can I
take the blue path of the air?

Do you know, o fairest of the fair,
my bayadére with the jet black eyes,
if they would lend me their wings,
say, do you know where I would go?

Without taking a single kiss from the roses,
through valleys and forests,
I would go to your half-closed lips,
flower of my soul, and I would die there.

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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