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Debussy - Le promenoir des deux amants

Le promenoir des deux amants1

Debussy (1910)

Auprès de cette grotte sombre...

Auprès de cette grotte sombre
Où l'on respire un air si doux,
L'onde lutte avec les cailloux,
Et la lumière avecque l'ombre.

Ces flots lassés de l'exercice
Qu'ils ont fait dessus ce gravier,
Se reposent dans le vivier
Ou mourut autre fois Narcisse...

L'ombre de cette fleur vermeille,
Et celle de ces joncs pendants
Paraissent être là-dedans
Les songes de l'eau qui sommeille.

Crois mon conseil chère Climène...

Crois mon conseil, chère Climène;
Pour laisser arriver le soir,
Je te prie, allons nous asseoir
Sur le bord de cette fontaine.

N'ouïs-tu pas soupirer Zéphire,
De merveille et d'amour atteint,
Voyant des roses sur ton teint
Qui ne sont pas de son empire?

Sa bouche d'odeur toute pleine
A soufflé sur notre chemin,
Mêlant un esprit de jasmin
A l'ambre de ta douce haleine.

Je tremble en voyant ton visage...

Je tremble en voyant ton visage
Flotter avecque mes désirs,
Tant j'ai de peur que mes soupirs
Ne lui fassent faire nauffrage.

De crainte de cette aventure
Ne commets pas si librement
A cet infidèle élément
Tous les trésors de la nature.

Veux-tu, par un doux privilège,
Me mettre au-dessus des humains?
Fais-moi boire au creux de tes mains,
Si l'eau n'en dissout point la neige.

Tristan l'Hemite

1These texts are drawn from one single much longer poem of the same title. The first song was composed earlier than the others and was included in the group "Trois chansons de France."

The walk of the two lovers


Close by this dark cave..

Close by this dark cave
where one breathes such a sweet air,
the ripple wrestles with the pebbles
and the light with the shadow.

These waves, tired from the exertion
they have made upon this gravel,
take their rest in the pond
where Narcissus died once long ago...

The shadow of this scarlet flower,
and that of these drooping reeds
seem to be, therein,
the dreams of the water as it slumbers.

Trust my advice, dear Climène...

Trust my advice, dear Climène;
To let the evening come,
I beg you, let us go and sit
on the edge of that spring.

Do you not hear Zephyr sighing,
smitten with wonder and with love,
seeing roses on your complexion
which are not of his empire?

This mouth, so full of fragrance,
has breathed onto our path,
mingling an essence of jasmine
to the amber of you delicate breath.

I tremble when seeing your face...

I tremble when seeing your face
floating alongside my desires,
so much do I dread that my sighs
should cause it to founder.

For fear of this misadventure
do not entrust so freely,
to this unfaithful element,
all the treasures of Nature.

Would you, as a gentle privilege,
place me above humans?
Have me drink from the cup of you hands,
if the water does not melt their snow.

© translated by Christopher Goldsack

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