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Danse macabre

Language: French (Français)

Zig et zig et zig, la mort en cadence
Frappant une tombe avec son talon,
La mort à minuit joue un air de danse,
Zig et zig et zag, sur son violon.

Le vent d'hiver souffle, et la nuit est sombre,
Des gémissements sortent des tilleuls;
Les squelettes blancs vont à travers l'ombre
Courant et sautant sous leurs grands linceuls,

Zig et zig et zig, chacun se trémousse,
On entend claquer les os des danseurs,
Un couple lascif s'asseoit sur la mousse
Comme pour goûter d'anciennes douceurs.

Zig et zig et zag, la mort continue
De racler sans fin son aigre instrument.
Un voile est tombé! La danseuse est nue!
Son danseur la serre amoureusement.

La dame est, dit-on, marquise ou baronne.
Et le vert galant un pauvre charron -
Horreur! Et voilà qu'elle s'abandonne
Comme si le rustre était un baron!

Zig et zig et zig, quelle sarabande!
Quels cercles de morts se donnant la main!
Zig et zig et zag, on voit dans la bande
Le roi gambader auprès du vilain!

Mais psit! tout à coup on quitte la ronde,
On se pousse, on fuit, le coq a chanté
Oh! La belle nuit pour le pauvre monde!
Et vive la mort et l'égalité!


Translation(s): ENG ENG GER RUS

List of language codes

Submitted by Ted Perry

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):

  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , title 1: "Dance of Death", copyright © 2016
  • ENG English [singable] (Peter Low) , title 1: "Dance of Death", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "Totentanz", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) (Elena Kalinina) , title 1: "Пляска смерти", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


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

Last modified: 2016-10-27 17:30:17
Line count: 28
Word count: 205

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Dance of Death

Language: English after the French (Français)

Zigger-zigger-zig           tapping on a coffin
here's the figure Death      with a toothy grin.
On the stroke of twelve plays a crazy polka
zigger-zigger-zag                on his violin.

The night is dark,  the winter winds blow
the tree-branches creak in the stormy clouds
and the snow-white skeletons off they go
they run and they leap in their flowing shrouds.

Zigger-zigger-zig            how they skip and toss
dancing to the beat       rattling every bone.
Now a randy pair    lie down on the moss
hoping to repeat            pleasures they had known.

Zigger-zigger-zag              Death is keeping at it
scraping out the tune     on his violin.
Two have lost their wraps they are dancing naked
he gives her a squeeze    like a carnal sin.

The lady they say is of noble race
her partner a lad from the market town
but oh! she yields to his close embrace
as if the young boor had a royal crown.

Zigger-zigger-zig               hand in hand a-dancing
what a host of dead       waltzing on the turf
zigger-zigger-zag           in their ghostly party
is the king himself       romping with a serf.

But hush!   all at once   their hands  let go.
They jostle   they flee       they've heard the cock crow.
Oh wonderful night         when poor folk are free!
So all praise to Death  and Equality!


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Authorship

  • Singable translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2008 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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Based on
  • a text in French (Français) by Henri Cazalis (1840 - 1909), as Jean Lahor GER RUS
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Charles Camille Saint-Saëns. Go to the text.

 

Text added to the website: 2008-12-03.
Last modified: 2017-06-08 21:17:43
Line count: 28
Word count: 210