by Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867)
Translation © by Dann Mitton

J'ai long‑temps habité sous de vastes...
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): DUT ENG ENG FIN GER ITA SPA
J'ai long-temps habité sous de vastes portiques
Que les soleils marins teignaient de mille feux,
Et que leurs grands piliers, droits et majestueux,
Rendaient pareils, le soir, aux grottes basaltiques.

Les houles, en roulant les images des cieux,
Mêlaient d'une façon solennelle et mystique
Les tout puissants accords de leur riche musique
Aux couleurs du couchant reflété par mes yeux.

C'est là que j'ai vécu dans les voluptés calmes,
Au milieu de l'azur, [des flots et des]1 splendeurs,
Et des esclaves nus, tout imprégnés d'odeurs,

Qui me rafraîchissaient le front avec des palmes,
Et dont l'unique soin était d'approfondir
Le secret douloureux qui me faisait languir.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Les Fleurs du mal, Spleen et Idéal, Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1857, pages 36-37. This poem was first published in 1855 as part of Revue des Deux Mondes; its first publication as part of Les Fleurs du mal was in 1857.

1 H. Duparc: "des vagues, des"

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) (Marike Lindhout) , "Het vroegere leven", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Dann Mitton) , no title, copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English [singable] (Peter Low) , "In a former life", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , "Edellinen elämä", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Nele Gramß) , "Das frühere Leben", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "La vita anteriore", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POR Portuguese (Português) (Delfim Guimarães) , "A Vida Anterior"
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Juan Henríquez Concepción) , "La vida anterior", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2019-08-05 12:14:39
Line count: 14
Word count: 106

For a long time I lived beneath the...
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
For a long time I lived beneath the immense porticoes
That the sea-suns dyed with a thousand rays,
And whose great columns, erect and majestic,
At night seemed just like basalt grottoes.

The rolling waves tossing the celestial images
Blended in a solemn and mystic way
The all-powerful chords of their rich music
Coloured like the sunset reflected in my eyes

It is there, there that I lived in tranquil luxury
In the midst of the azure, the waves and the wonders,
And the nude slaves imbued with fragrance

Who refreshed my brow with palm leaves,
And whose sole purpose was to understand in depth
the agonising secret that made me suffer.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of titles:
"La vie antérieure" = "The former life"
"Vie antérieure" = "Former life"


Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © by Dann Mitton, (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

 

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2017-07-30 18:09:21
Line count: 14
Word count: 112