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Une voix dans le désert

Language: French (Français)

C'était sur le front,
A cent pas des tranchées,
Une petite maison
Morne et désolée.

Pas un homme, pas une poule, pas un chien, pas un chat,
Rien qu'un vol de corbeaux le long du chemin de fer,
Le bruit de nos bottes sur le pavé gras,
Et la ligne des feux clignotant sur l'Yser.

Une chaumine restée là,
    Porte fermée et volets clos,
    Un trou d'obus dans le toit,
    Plantée dans l'eau comme ... un flot.

Pas un cri, pas un bruit, pas une vie, pas un chat,
Rien que le silence des grands cimetières
Et le signe monotone des croix, des croix de bois,
Par la plaine solitaire.

Une chaumine toute grise
    Sur le ciel noir,
Aveugle et sourde dans la brise
    Du soir,

Et le bruit amorti de nos pas
Glissant sur le pavé gras ...

Puis, tout à coup,
Chaude, grave et douce,
Comme le soleil sur la mousse,
Tendre et fière, forte et claire,
    Comme une prière,

Une voix de femme sortit du toit
Et la maison chanta!

Soprano solo
  Quand nos bourgeons se rouvriront,
  Saules rouges et gris chatons
  Quand nos bourgeons se rouvriront,
  Nos vaches meugleront.
  Elles sonneront du cor
  Coqs rouges et fumiers d'or
  Elles sonneront si fort,
  Qu'elles réveilleront les morts.

  Frapperont nos marteaux,
  Bras nus et torses chauds
  Et ronfleront nos scies,
  Autour de nos prairies.
  S'ouvriront nos églises,
  Nieuport, Ypres et Pervyse,
  Et tonneront nos cloches
  Le dur tocsin des Boches.
  Tinteront nos truelles
  Dixmude et Ramscapelle
  Et reluiront nos pelles
  Et cogneront nos pioches.

  Glisseront nos bateaux,
  Goudron noir et mouette
  Chantera l'alouette
  Le long de nos canaux,
  Et fleuriront nos tombes
  Mésanges et pigeons bleus
  Et fleuriront nos tombes,
  Sous le soleil de Dieu.

  Plus un souffle, plus un bruit, plus un chat,
  Rien que la signe des croix de bois ...

  "Venez donc, il est tard, ne nous arrêtons pas,
  Ce n'est qu'une paysanne restée là
      Avec son vieux . . . . . . . . père.

  Rien ne peut les convaincre, ils ne veulent pas partir,
  Ils disent qu'ils aiment mieux mourir
  Que de quitter leur terre."

  Plus un souffle, plus une vie, plus un chat,
  Rien qu'un vol de corbeaux le long du chemin de fer,
  Le bruit de nos bottes sur le pavé gras, ...
  Et la ligne des feux clignotant sur l'Yser.


Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Tita Brand) , title 1: "A voice in the desert", 1915


Text added to the website: 2010-10-08T00:00:00.
Last modified: 2014-06-16T10:04:03
Line count: 70
Word count: 391

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A voice in the desert

Language: English after the French (Français)

A hundred yards from the trenches,
Close to the battle-front,
There stands a little house,
Lonely and desolate.

Not a man, not a bird, not a dog, not a cat,
Only a flight of crows along the railway line,
The sound of our boots on the muddy road
And, along the Yser, the twinkling fires.

A low thatched cottage
    With doors and shutters closed,
    The roof torn by a shell,
    Standing out of the floods alone ...

Not a cry, not a sound, not a life, not a mouse,
Only the stillness of the great graveyards,
Only the crosses - the crooked wooden crosses -
On the wide lonely plain.

A cottage showing grey
    Against a cold black sky,
Blind and deaf in the breeze
    Of the dying day,

And the sound of our footsteps slipping
On the stones as we go by ...

Suddenly, on the silent air,
Warm and clear, pure and sweet,
As sunshine on the golden moss,
Strong and tender, loud and clear,
    As a prayer,

Through the roof a girl's voice rang,
And the cottage sang!

Soprano solo
  When the spring comes round again,
  Willows red and tassels grey
  When the spring comes round again,
  Our cows will greet the day,
  They'll sound their horn triumphant,
  White sap and greening spear
  Sound it so loud and long,
  Until the dead once more shall hear.

  We shall hear our anvils,
  Strong arm and naked breast
  And in our peaceful meadows,
  The scythe will never rest.
  Ev'ry church will ope its door,
  Antwerp, Ypres and Nieuport,
  The bells will then be ringing,
  The foe's death knell be ringing.
  The shall sound spade and shovel,
  Dixmude and Ramscapelle
  And gaily gleam the trowel,
  While through the air the pick is swinging.

  From the ports our boats will glide.
  Anchor up and mooring slipt
  The lark on high will be soaring
  Above our rivers wide.
  And then our graves will flower,
  Heart'sease and golden rod
  And then our graves will flower
  Beneath the peace of God.

  Not a breath, not a sound, not a soul,
  Only the crosses, the crooked wooden crosses ...

  "Come, it is getting late
  'Tis but a peasant girl
  With her father living there . . . .

  They will not go away, nothing will make them yield,
  They will die, they say,
  Sooner than leave their field."

  Not a breath, not a life, not a soul,
  Only a flight of crows along the railway line,
  The sound of our boots on the muddy road ...
  And along the Yser the twinkling of the fires.


Included in the Elgar score.

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Authorship


Based on
  • a text in French (Français) by Émile Cammaerts (1878 - 1953)
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Edward Elgar, Sir. Go to the text.

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

    [ None yet in the database ]


Text added to the website: 2010-10-08T00:00:00.
Last modified: 2014-06-16T10:04:03
Line count: 70
Word count: 430