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La lettre

Language: French (Français)

Je t'écris et la lampe écoute.
L'horloge attend à petits coups.
Je vais fermer les yeux sans doute,
et je vais m'endormir en vous.

La lampe est douce et j'ai la fièvre
on n'entend que ta voix, ta voix.
J'ai ton nom qui rit sur ma lèvre
et ta caresse est dans mes doigts.

J'ai notre douceur de naguère,
ton pauvre coeur sanglote en moi
et mirêvant, je ne sais guère
si c'est moi qui t'écris ou toi.

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


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):

  • ENG English (Faith J. Cormier) , "The Letter", copyright © 2001, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:20
Line count: 12
Word count: 78

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The Letter

Language: English after the French (Français)

I'm writing to you, and the lamp is listening.
The clock awaits, softly ticking.
Doubtless I will close my eyes
and fall asleep in you.

The lamp is soft and I am a-fevered,
hearing naught but your voice, your voice.
Your name laughs on my lips
and your caress is in my fingers.

I hold our sweetness of aforetime,
your poor heart sobs in me,
and half in a dream, I hardly know
whether 'tis I who write, or you.

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.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2001 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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Based on
  • a text in French (Français) by Henri Barbusse (1874 - 1935), "La lettre", appears in Les Pleureuses, Paris, Éd. Charpentier, first published 1896
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Louis Aubert, Charles Aulagnon, Agnelle Bundervoët, Francisco Chiaffitelli, Albert Phaneuf, as Maurice Dela, Jacques Guillaume de Sauville de la Presle. Go to the text.


Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:20
Line count: 12
Word count: 80