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Les cloches

Debussy (1891)

Les feuilles s'ouvraient sur le bord des branches
Les cloches tintaient, légères et franches,
Dans le ciel clément.

Rythmique et fervent comme une antienne,
Ce lointain appel
Me remémorait la blancheur chrétienne
Des fleurs de l'Autel.

Ces cloches parlaient d'heureuses années,
Et dans le grand bois
Semblaient reverdir les feuilles fanées
Des jours d'autrefois.

Paul Bourget

The bells


The leaves were delicately opening
along the branches.
The bells were ringing, light and clear,
in the clement sky.

Rhythmical and fervent like an antiphon,
this distant call
reminded me of the Christian whiteness
of Alter flowers.

The bells spoke of happy years,
and in the great wood
the withered leaves of bygone days
seemed to grow green once again.

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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