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Fauré - L'absent


Fauré (1871)

_ Sentiers où l'herbe se balance,
Vallons, coteaux, bois chevelus,
Pourquoi ce deuil et ce silence?
_ Celui qui venait ne vient plus.

_ Pourquoi personne à ta fenêtre,
Et pourquoi ton jardin sans fleurs,
O maison! où donc est ton maître?
<Je ne sais pas, il est ailleurs.

_ Chien, veille au logis. _ Pourquoi faire?
La maison est vide à présent!
_ Enfant, qui pleures-tu? _ Mon père!
_ Femme, qui pleures-tu? _ L'absent!

_ Où donc est-il allé? _ Dans l'ombre!
_ Flots qui gémissez sur l'écueil,
D'où venez-vous? _ Du bagne sombre.
_ Et qu'apportez-vous? _ Un cercueil.

Victor Hugo

The absent one


Paths where the grass sways,
valleys, hillsides, thick woods,
why this mourning and this silence?
"He who came comes no more!"

Why nobody at your window,
and why your garden bereft of flowers,
O house, where then is your master?
"I do not know, he is elsewhere."

Hound, keep watch on the home. "For what purpose?
At present the house is empty!"
Child for whom do you weep? "My father!"
Woman, for whom do you weep? "The absent one!"

Where then did he go? "Into the shadow!"
Waves which shudder on the reef,
from where do you come? "From the dark dungeon."
And what do you bring? "A coffin."

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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