by Charles Cros (1842 - 1888)
Translation © by Peter Low

Bois frissonnants, ciel étoilé
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): DUT ENG
Bois frissonnants, ciel étoilé,
Mon bien-aimé s'en est allé,
Emportant mon cœur désolé!

Vents, que vos plaintives rumeurs,
Que vos chants, rossignols charmeurs,
Aillent lui dire que je meurs!

Le premier soir qu'il vint ici
Mon âme fut à sa merci.
De fierté je n'eus plus souci.

Mes regards étaient pleins d'aveux.
Il me prit dans ses bras nerveux
Et me baisa près des cheveux.

J'en eus un grand frémissement;
Et puis, je ne sais plus comment
Il est devenu mon amant.

Et, bien qu'il me fût inconnu,
Je l'ai pressé sur mon sein nu
Quand dans ma chambre il est venu.

Je lui disais: « Tu m'aimeras
Aussi longtemps que tu pourras! »
Je ne dormais bien qu'en ses bras.

Mais lui, sentant son cœur éteint,
S'en est allé l'autre matin,
Sans moi, dans un pays lointain.

Puisque je n'ai plus mon ami,
Je mourrai dans l'étang, parmi
Les fleurs, sous le flot endormi.

Au bruit du feuillage et des eaux,
Je dirai ma peine aux oiseaux
Et j'écarterai les roseaux.

Sur le bord arrêtée, au vent
Je dirai son nom, en rêvant
Que là je l'attendis souvent.

Et comme en un linceul doré,
Dans mes cheveux défaits, au gré
Du [flot]1 je m'abandonnerai.

Les bonheurs passés verseront
Leur douce lueur sur mon front;
Et les joncs verts m'enlaceront.

Et mon sein croira, frémissant
Sous l'enlacement caressant,
Subir l'étreinte de l'absent.

Que mon dernier souffle, emporté
Dans les parfums du vent d'été,
Soit un soupir de volupté!

Qu'il vole, papillon charmé
Par l'attrait des roses de mai,
Sur les lèvres du bien-aimé!

E. Chausson sets stanzas 1-5, 7-9, 11-14
H. Büsser sets stanzas 1-3, 7-9, 11-12

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Chausson: "vent"

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Luc van Hasselt) , "Lied zonder einde", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Peter Low) , no title, copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website: 2003-10-20 00:00:00
Last modified: 2016-10-22 10:24:30
Line count: 48
Word count: 263

Quivering woods, starry sky
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Quivering woods, starry sky,
my beloved has gone away
taking with him my desolate heart!
 
Winds, may your plaintive noises,
charming nightingales, may your songs
go to tell him I’m dying!
 
From the first evening he came here
my soul was at his mercy.
I no longer cared about pride.
 
My eyes kept telling him my thoughts.
He took me in his nervous arms
and kissed my head close to my hair.
 
That caused me a great trembling;
and then, I no longer know how,
he became my lover.
 
And although he was unknown to me,
I clasped him against my naked breast
when he came into my bedroom.
 
I kept saying: “You will love me
for as long as you are able!”
I would sleep well only in his arms.
 
But he, feeling his heart grown cold,
departed some mornings ago,
without me, for a distant land.
 
Since I have my lover no longer
I will die in the pond, among
the flowers, under the sleeping water.
 
Amid the noise of foliage and stream
I will tell the birds of my sorrow
and will cause the reeds to part.
 
Pausing on the edge, I will speak
his name to the wind, while dreaming
that I often awaited him there.
 
And as if in a golden shroud,
with my hair undone, I will let myself go
wherever the [current]1 takes me.
 
The happy times I have known will shed
their gentle light on my forehead;
and the green reeds will entwine me.
 
And my breast will believe,
as it trembles caressed and entwined,
that the absent one is embracing me.
 
May my final breath, borne away
among the scents of the summer wind
be a sign of sensual pleasure!
 
And may it fly, like a butterfly charmed
by the beautiful roses of May,
onto the lips of my beloved!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Translations of titles:
"Nocturne" = "Nocturne"
"Chanson perpétuelle" = "Perpetual song"

1 Chausson: "wind"

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2016 by Peter Low, (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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Text added to the website: 2016-10-22 00:00:00
Last modified: 2017-07-30 18:05:02
Line count: 48
Word count: 309