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Debussy - Fêtes galantes, premier livre

Fêtes galantes, premier livre

Debussy (1892)

En sourdine

Calmes dans le demi jour
Que les branches hautes font,
Pénétrons bien notre amour
De ce silence profond.

Fondons nos âmes, nos cœurs
Et nos sens extasiés,
Parmi les vagues langueurs
Des pins et des arbousiers.

Ferme tes yeux à demi,
Croise tes bras sur ton sein,
Et de ton cœur endormi
Chasse à jamais tout dessein.

Laissons-nous persuader
Au souffle berceur et doux
Qui vient à tes pieds rider
Les ondes de gazon roux.

Et quand, solennel, le soir
Des chènes noirs tombera,
Voix de notre désespoir,
Le rossignol chantera.


Scaramouche et Pulcinella
Qu'un mauvais dessein rassembla
Gesticulent, noir sous la lune.

Cependant l'exellent docteur
Bolonais cueille avec lenteur
Des simples parmi l'herbe brune.

Lors sa fille, piquant minois,
Sous la charmille, en tapinois,
Se glisse, demi-nue, en quête

De son beau pirate espagnol,
Dont un amoureux rossignol
Clame la détresse à tue-tête.

Clair de lune

Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques,
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
L'amour vainqueur et la vie opportune,
Ils n'ont pas l'air de croire à leur bonheur
Et leur chanson se mêle au claire de lune,

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres
Et sangloter d'extase les jets d'eau,
Les grands jets d'eau sveltes parmi les marbres.

Paul Verlaine

Gallant festivities, first book



Peaceful in the half-light
that the high branches cast,
let us imbue our love
with this deep silence.

Let us fuse our souls, our hearts
and our enraptured senses,
amidst the vague languors
of the pines and the arbutus.

Half close your eyes,
fold your arms on your breast,
and from your sleeping heart
banish all purpose for ever.

Let us be enticed
by the gentle rocking breath
which comes to your feet, to ripple
the waves of russet grass.

And when, solemn, the evening
falls from the black oaks,
voice of our despair,
the nightingale will sing.

String Puppets

Scaramouche and Pulcinella,
whom some evil design brought together,
gesticulate, black under the moon.

Meanwhile the excellent doctor
from Bologna sluggishly gathers
medicinal herbs amid the brown grass.

Then his daughter, pretty minx,
clandestinely slips, half-naked,
under the hedge, in quest

of her handsome Spanish pirate,
for whom an amorous nightingale
is calling the distress at the top of its voice.


Your soul is a choice landscape
where charming masks and bergamasks pass by,
playing the lute and singing and quasi
sad beneath their fantastical disguises.

Even as they sing in the minor mode
of victorious love and timely life,
they do not seem to believe their good fortune
and their song mingles with the moonlight,

with the calm moonlight, sad and beautiful,
which makes the birds in the trees dream
and makes the water fountains sob with ecstasy,
the tall slender water fountains amidst the marble statues.

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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