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Lyric Prose

Word count: 572

Song Cycle by Claude Achille Debussy (1862 - 1918)

Original language: Proses Lyriques

1. Dreams

Language: English after the French (Français)

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2003 by Faith J. Cormier, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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The night is as sweet as a woman, 
and the old trees dream under the golden moon. 
They didn't know how to call to the one who just passed,
her head crowned with pearls, 
now and forever distraught. 

All have passed now, 
the frail, the foolish, 
sowing their laughter in the sparse grass, 
breezes brushing 
the flowering hips' charming caress. 
Alas! Only a white shiver remains of all this. 
The old trees weep their gilded leaves 
under the golden moon. 
No more will anyone dedicate to them 
proud golden helms. 
Now and forever tarnished, 
the knights are dead 
on the Grail quest. 
The night is sweet as a woman. 
Hands seem to stroke the souls, 
such foolish, frail hands, 
in the days when swords sang for them! 
Strange sighs rise under the trees.
My soul they are from an old dream that holds you.


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2. On the Strand

Language: English after the French (Français)

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2003 by Faith J. Cormier, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Dusk falls like tattered 
white silk on the sea. 
The waves chatter like silly
little girls let out of school 
in their lustrous frilly 
green silk dresses.

The clouds, solemn travelers, 
band together to make the next storm. 
The background is really too dark 
for this English watercolour. 
The little waves 
don't know where to go anymore, 
because here is the wicked shower 
blowing their frilly skirts away 
and frightening the green silk. 
But the all-compassionate moon 
comes to calm the gray quarrel. 
She slowly caresses her little friends, 
and they offer themselves, like loving lips, 
to her warm white kiss. 
Nothing more... 
nothing but the delayed bells of floating churches, 
Angelus of the waves, 
pacified white silk.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

3. Flowers

Language: English after the French (Français)

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2003 by Faith J. Cormier, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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In the desolate green boredom of pain's hothouse, flowers surround my heart
with their nasty stems. When will the dear hands return to delicately
untangle them from round my head? The tall purple Iris cruelly violated your
eyes by seeming to reflect them. They were the pools of reverie into which
my dreams softly dove, absorbed by their colour. And the lilies, white jets
of water with perfumed pistils, have lost their white grace and are but poor
invalids who do not know the sun. Sun! Friend of evil flowers, dream-killer,
illusion-killer, holy bread of miserable souls! Come! Come! Saving hands!
Smash the windows of lies, smash the windows of evil spells, my soul is
dying from too much sun! Mirages! Joy will never flower again in my eyes and
my hands are tired of praying, my eyes tired of crying! In an eternal crazed
noise, the black petals of boredom drip constantly on my head in pain's
green hothouse!


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

4. Evening

Language: English after the French (Français)

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2003 by Faith J. Cormier, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Sunday on the city, Sunday in our hearts! Sunday among the little girls
singing with untrained voices their stubborn rounds where good turns only
last a few days! Sunday, the stations are mad! Everyone heads off for the
suburbs of adventure, waving a frenzied farewell! Sunday trains are fast,
devoured by insatiable tunnels, and the good signal lights with their single
eyes exchange mechanical impressions. Sunday, in the blue of my dreams where
my sad thoughts of missed fireworks do not want to leave off mourning for
deceased Sundays. The night, with velvet steps, comes to lull the lovely,
tired sky to sleep, and it's Sunday among the avenues of stars. The Virgin,
gold on silver, scatters the flowers of sleep. Swiftly, little angels, pass
the swallows and go to bed, strong in your absolution! Take pity on the
cities, take pity on our hearts, oh Virgin, gold on silver.


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