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Bizet - Adieux de l'hôtesse arabe

Adieux de l'hôtesse arabe

Bizet (1866)

Puisque rien ne t'arrête en cet heureux pays,
Ni l'ombre du palmier, ni le jaune maïs,
Ni le repos, ni l'abondance,
Ni de voir à ta voix battre le jeune sein
De nos sœurs, dont, les soirs, le tournoyant essaim
Couronne un côteau de sa danse,

Adieu, beau voyageur! oh! que n'es-tu de ceux
Qui donnent pour limite à leurs pieds paresseux
Leur toit de branches ou de toiles!
Qui, rêveurs, sans en faire, écoutent les récits,
Et souhaitent, le soir, devant leur porte assis,
De s'en aller dans les étoiles!

Si tu l'avais voulu, peut-être une de nous,
O jeune homme, eût aimé te servir à genoux
Dans nos huttes toujours ouvertes;
Elle eût fait, en berçant ton sommeil de ses chants,
Pour chasser de ton front les moucherons méchants,
Un éventail de feuilles vertes.

Si tu ne reviens pas, songe un peu quelquefois
Aux filles du désert, sœurs à la douce voix,
Qui dansent pieds nus sur la dune;
O beau jeune homme blanc, bel oiseau passager,
Souviens-toi, car peut-être, ô rapide étranger,
Ton souvenir reste à plus d'une!

Victor Hugo

Farewell of the Arab hostess


Since nothing will keep you in this happy land,
neither the shade of the palm, nor the yellow corn,
nor repose, not abundance,
nor, in the evenings, seeing the young breast
of our sisters, at the sound of your voice, beating, whose
whirling swarm crowns a hillside with its dance,

farewell, handsome traveller! Oh! Why are you not of those
who confine their lazy feet
to their roof of branches or of canvas,
who, dreamers, without a care, listen to the tales,
and wish, at evening, seated before their door,
to depart for the stars!

Had you so wished it perhaps one of us,
o young man, would have liked to serve you kneeling
in our ever open huts;
she would have made, while rocking your sleep with
her songs, a fan of green leaves with which to chase
the evil flies from your brow.

If you do not return, think a little from time to time
of the girls of the desert, sweet voiced sisters,
who dance bare-foot upon the dune;
o handsome young white man, beautiful migratory bird,
remember, for perhaps, o restless stranger,
your memory lingers with more than one!

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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