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Mandoline

Debussy (1882)
Fauré (1890)
Hahn - Fêtes galantes (1891)

Les donneurs de sérénades
Et les belles écouteuses
Échangent des propos fades
Sous les ramures chanteuses.

C'est Tircis et c'est Aminte,
Et c'est l'éternel Clitandre,
Et c'est Damis qui pour mainte
Cruelle, fait maint vers tendre.

Leurs courtes vestes de soie,
Leurs longues robes à queues,
Leur élégance, leur joie
Et leur molles ombres bleues

Tourbillonnent dans l'extase
D'une lune rose et grise,
Et la mandoline jase
Parmi les frissons de brise.

Paul Verlaine

Mandolin

 
 
 

The singers of serenades
and the beautiful listeners
exchange insipid remarks
beneath the singing branches.

Here is Tircis and here is Aminte,
and here is the inevitable Clitandre,
and here is Damis, who, for many a
cruel lady, composes many tender verses.

Their short silk jackets,
their long trained dresses,
their elegance, their joy
and their soft blue shadows

whirl around in the ecstasy
of a pink and grey moon,
And the mandolin chatters
amidst the flutterings of the breeze.

© 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.