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Études latines1

Hahn (1900)

Néère

Il me faut retourner aux anciennes amours:
L'immortel qui naquit de la Vierge Thébaine,
Et les jeunes Désirs et leur Mère inhumaine
Me commandent d'aimer toujours.

Blanche comme un beau marbre, avec ses roses joues,
Je brûle pour Néère aux yeux pleins de langueur;
Venus se précipite et consume mon cœur:
Tu ris, ô Néère, et te joues!

Pour apaiser les Dieux et pour finir mes maux,
D'un vin mûri deux ans versez vos coupes pleines;
Et sur l'autel rougi du sang pur des agneaux
Posez l'encens et les verveines.

Salinum

Le Souci, plus léger que les vents de l'Épire,
Poursuivra sur la mer les carènes d'airain;
L'heure présente est douce: égayons d'un sourire
L'amertume du lendemain.

La pourpre par deux fois rougit tes laines fines;
Ton troupeau de Sicile est immense; Et j'ai mieux:
Les Muses de la Grèce et leurs leçons divines
Et l'héritage des aïeux.

Lydé

Viens! c'est le jour d'un Dieu. Puisons avec largesse
Le Cécube clos au cellier.
Fière Lydé, permets au plaisir familier
D'amollir un peu ta sagesse.

L'heure fuit, l'horizon rougit sous le soleil,
Hâte-toi. L'amphore remplie
Sous Bibulus consul, repose ensevelie:
Trouble son antique sommeil.

Je chanterai les flots amers, la verte tresse
Des Néréides; toi, Lydé,
Sur ta lyre enlacée à ton bras accoudé
Chante Diane chasseresse.

Puis nous dirons Vénus et son char attelé
De cygnes qu'un lien d'or guide,
Les Cyclades, Paphos, et tes rives, ô Gnide!
Puis, un hymne au ciel étoilé!

Tyndaris

O blanche Tyndaris, les Dieux me sont amis:
Ils aiment les Muses Latines;
Et l'aneth, et le myrte et le thym des collines
Croissent aux prés qu'ils m'ont soumis.

Viens! mes ramiers chéris aux voluptés plaintives,
Ici se plaisent à gémir;
Et sous l'épais feuillage il est doux de dormir
Au bruit des sources fugitives.

Phyllis

Depuis neuf ans et plus dans l'amphore scellée
Mon vin des coteaux d'Albe a lentement mûri.
Il faut ceindre d'acanthe et de myrthe fleuri,
Phyllis, ta tresse déroulée.

L'anis brule à l'autel et d'un pied diligent,
Tous viennent, couronnés de verveine pieuse;
Et mon humble maison étincelle joyeuse
Au reflet des coupes d'argent.

O Phyllis, c'est le jour de Vénus, et je t'aime!
Entends-moi! Téléphus brûle et soupire ailleurs;
Il t'oublie, et je t'aime, et nos jours les meilleurs
Vont rentrer dans la nuit suprème.

C'est toi qui fleuriras en mes derniers beaux jours.
Je ne changerai plus, voici la saison mûre.
Chante! les vers sonts doux quand ta voix les murmure,
O belle fin de mes amours!

Lecomte de Lisle

1These are a selection from a group of ten songs, three of which have important choral parts. The collection is in no way cyclic, though it is unified by the source of texts. These, as the title implies, are an effort to recreate a classical atmosphere. There are many classical references.

Latin studies

 

Néère

I have to return to the ancient loves:
the immortal one who was born to the Theban Virgin,
the young Desires and their inhuman Mother
command me to love for ever.

White like a fine marble statue, with her rosy cheeks,
I burn for Néère with her eyes full of languor;
Venus dives in and consumes my heart:
you laugh, o Néère, and tease!

To appease the Gods and to end my pains,
with a wine matured for two years fill your cups full;
and on the alter, reddened by the pure blood of lambs,
place the incense and the vervains.

Salinum

The concern, lighter than the winds of Epire,
will chase the brass hulls across the sea;
the present moment is sweet: let us cheer with a smile,
the bitterness of tomorrows.

The purple by two means reddens your fine wools;
your Sicilian herd is vast; and I have better:
the Muses of Greece and their divine lessons
and the heritage of the ancestors.

Lydé

Come! It is the day of a God. Let us freely draw
the Cecubian wine, closed in the cellar.
Proud Lydé, allow familiar pleasure
to soften a little your goodness.

Time is flying, the horizon is reddening under the sun,
make haste. The amphora, filled
under consul Bibulus, rests entombed:
stir its ancient sleep.

I shall sing of the bitter waves, the green tress
of the Néréides; You, Lydé,
on your lyre entwined with your resting arm
sing of Diana the huntress.

Then we shall tell of Venus and her chariot harnessed
to swans, that a golden rein guides,
the Cyclades, Paphos, and your shores, o Gnide,
then, a hymn to the starry sky!

Tyndaris

O white Tyndaris, the Gods are my friends:
they are fond of the Latin Muses;
and the dill, and the myrtle and the thyme of the hills
flourish in the meadows that they have yielded to me.

Come! My cherished ring-doves with their plaintive charms,
here are happy to moan;
and under the thick leafage it is gentle to sleep
to the sound of the flowing springs.

Phyllis

For nine years and more in the sealed amphora
my wine from the slopes of Alba has slowly matured.
Your unfurled tresses, Phyllis,
must be bound with acanthus and flowering myrtle.

The anise burns at the alter and with careful step,
all come, crowned with pious vervain;
and my humble home sparkles, joyful,
in the reflection of the silver goblets.

O Phyllis, it is the day of Venus, and I love you!
Hear me. Telephus burns and sighs elsewhere;
he forgets you, and I love you, and our best days
will enter the supreme night.

It is you who will flower in my last beautiful days.
I shall change no more, here is the ripe season.
Sing! The verses are gentle when your voice whispers them,
oh beautiful end to my loves!


Lecomte de Lisle

1These are a selection from a group of ten songs, three of which have important choral parts. The collection is in no way cyclic, though it is unified by the source of texts. These, as the title implies, are an effort to recreate a classical atmosphere. There are many classical references.

© 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.

The setting of the song Tyndaris is included in the Singing in French anthology and an accompaniment can be purchased from the site shop in several keys.

Singing in French Anthology

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