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Songs

Le jet d'eau

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

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Text & Translation

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Le jet d'eau
French source: Charles Baudelaire

Tes beaux yeux sont las, pauvre amante !
Reste longtemps, sans les rouvrir,
Dans cette pose nonchalante
Où t’a surprise le plaisir.
Dans la cour le jet d’eau qui jase
Et ne se tait ni nuit ni jour,
Entretient doucement l’extase
Où ce soir m’a plongé l’amour.

La gerbe d’eau qui berce
Ses mille fleurs,
Que la lune traverse
De ses pâleurs,
Tombe comme une averse
De larges pleurs.

Ainsi ton âme qu’incendie
L’éclair brûlant des voluptés
S’élance, rapide et hardie,
Vers les vastes cieux enchantés.
Puis, elle s’épanche, mourante,
En un flot de triste langueur,
Qui par une invisible pente
Descend jusqu’au fond de mon cœur.

La gerbe d’eau qui berce ...

O toi, que la nuit rend si belle,
Qu’il m’est doux, penché vers tes seins,
D’écouter la plainte éternelle
Qui sanglote dans les bassins !
Lune, eau sonore, nuit bénie,
Arbres qui frissonnez autour,—
Votre pure mélancolie
Est le miroir de mon amour.

La gerbe d’eau qui berce...

The fountain
English translation © Richard Stokes

Your beautiful eyes are fatigued, poor lover!
Rest awhile, without opening them anew,
In this careless pose,
Where pleasure surprised you.
The babbling fountain in the courtyard,
Never silent night or day,
Sweetly prolongs the ecstasy
Where love this evening plunged me.

The sheaf of water
Swaying its thousand flowers,
Through which the moon gleams
With its pallid light,
Falls like a shower
Of great tears.

And so your soul, lit
By the searing flash of ecstasy,
Leaps swift and bold
To vast enchanted skies.
And then, dying, spills over
In a wave of sad listlessness,
Down some invisible incline
Into the depths of my heart.

The sheaf of water ...

O you, whom night renders so beautiful,
How sweet, as I lean toward your breasts,
To listen to the eternal lament
Sobbing in the fountain’s basin!
O moon, lapping water, blessed night,
Trees that quiver all around,
Your sheer melancholy
Is the mirror of my love.

The sheaf of water...

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

Le jet d'eau
French source: Charles Baudelaire

The fountain
English source: Richard Stokes

Tes beaux yeux sont las, pauvre amante !
Your beautiful eyes are fatigued, poor lover!
Reste longtemps, sans les rouvrir,
Rest awhile, without opening them anew,
Dans cette pose nonchalante
In this careless pose,
Où t’a surprise le plaisir.
Where pleasure surprised you.
Dans la cour le jet d’eau qui jase
The babbling fountain in the courtyard,
Et ne se tait ni nuit ni jour,
Never silent night or day,
Entretient doucement l’extase
Sweetly prolongs the ecstasy
Où ce soir m’a plongé l’amour.
Where love this evening plunged me.

La gerbe d’eau qui berce
The sheaf of water
Ses mille fleurs,
Swaying its thousand flowers,
Que la lune traverse
Through which the moon gleams
De ses pâleurs,
With its pallid light,
Tombe comme une averse
Falls like a shower
De larges pleurs.
Of great tears.

Ainsi ton âme qu’incendie
And so your soul, lit
L’éclair brûlant des voluptés
By the searing flash of ecstasy,
S’élance, rapide et hardie,
Leaps swift and bold
Vers les vastes cieux enchantés.
To vast enchanted skies.
Puis, elle s’épanche, mourante,
And then, dying, spills over
En un flot de triste langueur,
In a wave of sad listlessness,
Qui par une invisible pente
Down some invisible incline
Descend jusqu’au fond de mon cœur.
Into the depths of my heart.

La gerbe d’eau qui berce ...
The sheaf of water ...

O toi, que la nuit rend si belle,
O you, whom night renders so beautiful,
Qu’il m’est doux, penché vers tes seins,
How sweet, as I lean toward your breasts,
D’écouter la plainte éternelle
To listen to the eternal lament
Qui sanglote dans les bassins !
Sobbing in the fountain’s basin!
Lune, eau sonore, nuit bénie,
O moon, lapping water, blessed night,
Arbres qui frissonnez autour,—
Trees that quiver all around,
Votre pure mélancolie
Your sheer melancholy
Est le miroir de mon amour.
Is the mirror of my love.

La gerbe d’eau qui berce...
The sheaf of water...

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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