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Songs

Recueillement

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

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Text & Translation

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Recueillement
French source: Charles Baudelaire

Sois sage, ô ma Douleur, et tiens-toi plus tranquille ;
Tu réclamais le Soir : il descend; le voici :
Une atmosphère obscure enveloppe la ville,
Aux uns portant la paix, aux autres le souci.

Pendant que des mortels la multitude vile,
Sous le fouet du Plaisir, ce bourreau sans merci,
Va cueillir des remords dans la fête servile,
Ma Douleur, donne-moi la main ; viens par ici,

Loin d’eux. Vois se pencher les défuntes Années,
Sur les balcons du ciel, en robes surannées ;
Surgir du fonds des eaux le Regret souriant ;

Le Soleil moribond s’endormir sous une arche,
Et, comme un long linceul traînant à l’Orient,
Entends, ma chère, entends la douce Nuit qui marche.

Meditation
English translation © Richard Stokes

Be good, O my Sorrow, and keep more calm.
You longed for Evening; it is falling; now:
A dusky atmosphere enfolds the town,
Bringing peace to some, to others care.

While the vile multitude of mortals,
Lashed by Pleasure, that pitiless tormentor,
Goes gathering remorse in abject revels,
Give me your hand, my Sorrow; come this way,

Far from them. See the departed Years leaning,
In outmoded dress, from the heavens’ balustrades;
See smiling Regret well up from the waters’ depths;

The dying Sun fall asleep beneath an arch,
And like a long shroud trailing in the East,
Listen, my love, listen to the tread of gentle Night.

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

Recueillement
French source: Charles Baudelaire

Meditation
English source: Richard Stokes

Sois sage, ô ma Douleur, et tiens-toi plus tranquille ;
Be good, O my Sorrow, and keep more calm.
Tu réclamais le Soir : il descend; le voici :
You longed for Evening; it is falling; now:
Une atmosphère obscure enveloppe la ville,
A dusky atmosphere enfolds the town,
Aux uns portant la paix, aux autres le souci.
Bringing peace to some, to others care.

Pendant que des mortels la multitude vile,
While the vile multitude of mortals,
Sous le fouet du Plaisir, ce bourreau sans merci,
Lashed by Pleasure, that pitiless tormentor,
Va cueillir des remords dans la fête servile,
Goes gathering remorse in abject revels,
Ma Douleur, donne-moi la main ; viens par ici,
Give me your hand, my Sorrow; come this way,

Loin d’eux. Vois se pencher les défuntes Années,
Far from them. See the departed Years leaning,
Sur les balcons du ciel, en robes surannées ;
In outmoded dress, from the heavens’ balustrades;
Surgir du fonds des eaux le Regret souriant ;
See smiling Regret well up from the waters’ depths;

Le Soleil moribond s’endormir sous une arche,
The dying Sun fall asleep beneath an arch,
Et, comme un long linceul traînant à l’Orient,
And like a long shroud trailing in the East,
Entends, ma chère, entends la douce Nuit qui marche.
Listen, my love, listen to the tread of gentle Night.

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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