Il vole

by Francis Poulenc From Fiançailles pour Rire (1939) FP 101

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Text & Translation

Il vole

This text is still in copyright.

Stealing away
English translation © Richard Stokes

The sun as it sets
Is reflected in my polished table –
It is the round cheese of the fable
In the beak of my silver scissors.

But where’s the crow? Stealing away on its wing.

I’d like to sew but a magnet
Attracts all my needles.
In the square the skittle-players
Pass the time playing game after game.

But where’s my lover? Stealing away on his wing.

I’ve a stealer for a lover,
The crow steals away and my lover steals,
The stealer of my heart breaks his word
And the stealer of cheese is absent.

But where is happiness? Stealing away on its wing.

I weep under the weeping willow
I mingle my tears with its leaves
I weep because I want to be wanted
And because my stealer doesn’t care for me.

But where can love be? Stealing away on its wing.

Find the sense in my nonsense
And along the country ways
Bring me back my wayward lover
Who steals hearts and robs me of my senses.

I want my stealer to steal me.

Translations by Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

Il vole

Stealing away
English source: Richard Stokes

This text is still in copyright.
The sun as it sets


Francis Poulenc

Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (F7 January 1899 – 30 January 1963) was a French composer and pianist. His compositions include mélodies, solo piano works, chamber music, choral pieces, operas, ballets, and orchestral concert music. Read the full…

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