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Songs

L'ombre des arbres

by Claude Debussy From Ariettes oubliées (1885) L60 1885-1887

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Text & Translation

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L'ombre des arbres
French source: Paul Verlaine

L’ombre des arbres dans la rivière embrumée
Meurt comme de la fumée
Tandis qu’en l’air, parmi les ramures réelles,
Se plaignent les tourterelles.

Combien, ô voyageur, ce paysage blême
Te mira blême toi-même,
Et que tristes pleuraient dans les hautes feuillées
Tes espérances noyées!

The shadow of trees
English translation © Richard Stokes

The shadow of trees in the misty stream
Dies like smoke,
While up above, in the real branches,
The turtle-doves lament.

How this faded landscape, O traveller,
Watched you yourself fade,
And how sadly in the lofty leaves
Your drowned hopes were weeping!

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

L'ombre des arbres
French source: Paul Verlaine

The shadow of trees
English source: Richard Stokes

L’ombre des arbres dans la rivière embrumée
The shadow of trees in the misty stream
Meurt comme de la fumée
Dies like smoke,
Tandis qu’en l’air, parmi les ramures réelles,
While up above, in the real branches,
Se plaignent les tourterelles.
The turtle-doves lament.

Combien, ô voyageur, ce paysage blême
How this faded landscape, O traveller,
Te mira blême toi-même,
Watched you yourself fade,
Et que tristes pleuraient dans les hautes feuillées
And how sadly in the lofty leaves
Tes espérances noyées!
Your drowned hopes were weeping!

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

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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