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En sourdine

Debussy (1882 and 1892)
Fauré (1890)
Hahn (1892)

Calmes dans le demi jour
Que les branches hautes font,
Pénétrons bien notre amour
De ce silence profond.

Fondons nos âmes, nos cœurs1
Et nos sens extasiés,
Parmi les vagues langueurs
Des pins et des arbousiers.

Ferme tes yeux à demi,
Croise tes bras sur ton sein,
Et de ton cœur endormi
Chasse à jamais tout dessein.

Laissons-nous persuader
Au souffle berceur et doux
Qui vient à tes pieds rider
Les ondes de gazon roux.2

Et quand, solennel, le soir
Des chènes noirs tombera,
Voix de notre désespoir,
Le rossignol chantera.

Paul Verlaine



Peaceful in the half-light
that the high branches cast,
let us imbue our love
with this deep silence.

Let us fuse our souls, our hearts
and our enraptured senses,
amidst the vague languors
of the pines and the arbutus.

Half close your eyes,
fold your arms on your breast,
and from your sleeping heart
banish all purpose for ever.

Let us be enticed
by the gentle rocking breath
which comes to your feet, to ripple
the waves of russet grass.

And when, solemn, the evening
falls from the black oaks,
voice of our despair,
the nightingale will sing.

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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