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Bien souvent je ne pense à rien, comme...

Language: French (Français)

Bien souvent je ne pense à rien, comme une bête,
Soudain un mot bourdonne et passe dans ma tête,
Mot jadis entendu,
Un de ceds mots de rien où vivait tout ton être;
Et je sens mille échos de mon passé renaître
Dans cet écho perdu.

Je me souviens de l'an, du mois, du jour, de l'heure,
Et je ferme les yeux sans rien dire, et je pleure.
Car dans ce mot en l'air
J'entends toutes les voix de ma jeunesse heureuse,
Comme on entend au fond d'une coquille creuse
Chanter toute la mer.

Translation(s): ENG ITA

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Submitted by Corinne Orde


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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Corinne Orde) , title 1: "Remembrance", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Francesco Campanella) , title 1: "Ricordo", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2007-11-23.
Last modified: 2014-09-02 14:35:55
Line count: 12
Word count: 94

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Language: English after the French (Français)

Often I think of nothing, like some dumb creature.
Suddenly a word buzzes and goes through my head,
A word heard long ago,
One of those insignificant words in which your whole being dwelt;
And I sense the rebirth of a thousand echoes of my past
In that lost echo.

I remember the year, the month, the day, the hour,
And I close my eyes without saying anything, and I weep.
For in that idle word
I hear all the voices of my happy youth
As one hears, at the bottom of a hollow shell,
The whole sea singing.

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  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2007 by Corinne Orde, (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 Jean Richepin (1849 - 1926), no title, written 1877, appears in Les Caresses, in 4. Nivôse, no. 28, Paris, Éd. M. Dreyfous, first published 1882 ITA
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Louis Vierne. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2007-11-23.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:31
Line count: 12
Word count: 99