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Songs

La mort des amants

by Claude Debussy From Cinq Poèmes de Baudelaire (1887) 1887-1889

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Text & Translation

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La mort des amants
French source: Charles Baudelaire

Nous aurons des lits pleins d'odeurs légères,
Des divans profonds comme des tombeaux,
Et d'étranges fleurs sur des étagères,
Écloses pour nous sous des cieux plus beaux.

Usant à l'envi leurs chaleurs dernières,
Nos deux coeurs seront deux vastes flambeaux,
Qui réfléchiront leurs doubles lumières
Dans nos deux esprits, ces miroirs jumeaux.

Un soir fait de rose et de bleu mystique,
Nous échangerons un éclair unique,
Comme un long sanglot tout chargé d'adieux ;

Et plus tard un Ange, entr'ouvrant les portes,
Viendra ranimer, fidèle et joyeux,
Les miroirs ternis et les flammes mortes.

The death of lovers
English translation © Richard Stokes

We shall have beds drenched in light scents,
Divans as deep as tombs,
And displays of exotic flowers
That bloomed for us beneath fairer skies.

Outdoing even their most recent passions
Our two hearts will be two mighty torches,
Reflecting their twin lights
In our two twin-mirrored souls.

On an evening of pink and mystic blue,
We shall exchange a single radiant glance,
Like a long sob laden with farewells;

And later an Angel, pushing the portals ajar,
Will come, faithful and joyous, to revive
The tarnished mirrors and lifeless flames.

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

La mort des amants
French source: Charles Baudelaire

The death of lovers
English source: Richard Stokes

Nous aurons des lits pleins d'odeurs légères,
We shall have beds drenched in light scents,
Des divans profonds comme des tombeaux,
Divans as deep as tombs,
Et d'étranges fleurs sur des étagères,
And displays of exotic flowers
Écloses pour nous sous des cieux plus beaux.
That bloomed for us beneath fairer skies.

Usant à l'envi leurs chaleurs dernières,
Outdoing even their most recent passions
Nos deux coeurs seront deux vastes flambeaux,
Our two hearts will be two mighty torches,
Qui réfléchiront leurs doubles lumières
Reflecting their twin lights
Dans nos deux esprits, ces miroirs jumeaux.
In our two twin-mirrored souls.

Un soir fait de rose et de bleu mystique,
On an evening of pink and mystic blue,
Nous échangerons un éclair unique,
We shall exchange a single radiant glance,
Comme un long sanglot tout chargé d'adieux ;
Like a long sob laden with farewells;

Et plus tard un Ange, entr'ouvrant les portes,
And later an Angel, pushing the portals ajar,
Viendra ranimer, fidèle et joyeux,
Will come, faithful and joyous, to revive
Les miroirs ternis et les flammes mortes.
The tarnished mirrors and lifeless flames.

Composer

Claude Debussy

(Achille) Claude Debussy was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Please click…

Poet

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of…

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