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Duparc - Lamento

Au cimetière

Berlioz (1841)
Duparc - Lamento (1883)

Connaissez-vous la blanche tombe
Où flotte avec un son plaintif
L'ombre d'un if?
Sur l'if, une pâle colombe,
Triste et seule, au soleil couchant,
Chante son chant;

Un air maladivement tendre,
A la fois charmant et fatal,
Qui vous fait mal,
Et qu'on voudrait toujours entendre;
Un air, comme en soupire aux cieux
L'ange amoureux.

On dirait que l'âme éveillée
Pleure sous terre à l'unisson
De la chanson,
Et du malheur d'être oubliée
Se plaint dans un roucoulement
Bien doucement.

Sur les ailes de la musique
On se sent lentement revenir
Un souvenir.
Une ombre une forme angélique,
Passe dans un rayon tremblant,
En voile blanc.

Les belles-de-nuit, demi-closes,
Jettent leur parfum faible et doux
Autour de vous,
Et le fantôme aux molles poses
Murmure en vous tendant les bras:
Tu reviendras?

Oh! jamais plus, près de la tombe
Je n'irai, quand descend le soir
Au manteau noir,
Écouter la pâle colombe
Chanter sur la pointe de l'if1
Son chant plaintif.

Théophile Gautier

1Duparc has "la branche de l'if" or
"the branch of the yew."

At the cemetery


Do you know the white tomb
upon which, with a plaintive sound,
the shadow of a yew-tree floats?
On the yew-tree, a pale dove,
sad and alone, in the setting sun,
sings its song;

a morbidly tender melody,
at once both charming and deadly,
which hurts you,
and which one would would wish to hear fo
a melody, like ones which the angel in love
sighs in heaven.

One would say the awakened soul
weeps beneath the earth in unison
with the song,
and complains,
of the misfortune of being forgotten
very gently, in a cooing.

On the wings of the music
one feels a memory
slowly recurring.
A shadow, an angelic form,
passes in a trembling beam,
in white veil.

The Marvels of Peru, half closed,
cast their faint and sweet perfume
about you,
and the ghost, with its limp postures,
murmurs while stretching out its arms to yo
you will return?

Oh! Never again, close to the tomb
shall I go, when the evening falls
with its black coat,
to listen to the pale dove
at the top of the yew-tree, sing
its plaintive song.

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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