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Sérénade italienne

Chausson (1880)

Partons en barque sur la mer
Pour passer la nuit aux étoiles;
Vois, il souffle juste assez d'air
Pour enfler la toile des voiles.

Le vieux pêcheur italien
Et ses deux fils qui nous conduisent
Écoutent, mais n'entendent rien
Aux mots que nos bouches se disent.

Sur la mer calme et sombre, vois:
Nous pouvons échanger nos âmes,
Et nul ne comprendra nos voix
Que la nuit, le ciel et les lames.

Paul Bourget

Italian serenade

 

Let us set out in a boat over the sea
to pass the night beneath the stars;
see, just enough air is blowing
to fill the canvas of the sails.

The old Italian fisherman
and his two sons who steer us
listen, but understand nothing
of the words that our lips speak.

On the sea, calm and dark, see:
we can exchange our souls,
and none but the night, the sky and the waves
will understand our voices.

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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