Songs

Clair de lune

by Josef Szulc

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Text & Translation

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Clair de lune
French source: Paul Verlaine

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 clair 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.

Moonlight
English translation © Richard Stokes

Your soul is a chosen landscape
bewitched by masquers and bergamaskers,
playing the lute and dancing and almost
sad beneath their fanciful disguises.

Singing as they go in a minor key
of conquering love and life’s favours,
they do not seem to believe in their fortune
and their song mingles with the light of the moon,

The calm light of the moon, sad and fair,
that sets the birds dreaming in the trees
and the fountains sobbing in their rapture,
tall and svelte amid marble statues.

Translation © Richard Stokes, author of A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

Clair de lune
French source: Paul Verlaine

Moonlight
English source: Richard Stokes

Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Your soul is a chosen landscape
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques
bewitched by masquers and bergamaskers,
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
playing the lute and dancing and almost
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.
sad beneath their fanciful disguises.

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
Singing as they go in a minor key
L’amour vainqueur et la vie opportune,
of conquering love and life’s favours,
Ils n’ont pas l’air de croire à leur bonheur
they do not seem to believe in their fortune
Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,
and their song mingles with the light of the moon,

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
The calm light of the moon, sad and fair,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres
that sets the birds dreaming in the trees
Et sangloter d’extase les jets d’eau,
and the fountains sobbing in their rapture,
Les grands jets d’eau sveltes parmi les marbres.
tall and svelte amid marble statues.

Composer

Josef Szulc

Josef Zygmunt Szulc (4 April 1875 – 10 April 1956) was a composer and conductor.

Poet

Paul Verlaine

Paul-Marie Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry. Born in Metz, Verlaine was educated at the Lycée Impérial…

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