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Pleine eau

Language: French (Français)

Rire au matin; courir dans l'ondoiement des herbes;
Croire à tout; secouer au ciel, comme des gerbes,
La rose floraison des gaîtés de vingt ans;
Être aimé de la vie, et fleurir le printemps;
Ébaucher un amour dès qu'un hiver s'achève;
[Être de l'avenir enfermé dans du rêve ...]1

Puis, au [bercement long]2 des barques, triomphant, 
Éclabousser le fleuve avec des cris d'enfant;
Regarder le sillage ouvrir ses larges trames;
Faire chanter la mousse au choc brusque des rames;
Et, plus beau qu'un dieu grec, plonger ses flancs nerveux
Dans l'eau verte qui fuit en léchant les cheveux;
Sentir, comme un toucher d'amantes inconnues,
Le frais baiser des flots glissant sur les chairs nues;
             Et ce soir, loin, les pêcheurs trouveront,
Des nénuphars aux pieds et des algues au front,
Calme et serein, couché, blanc sur la vase brune,
Un corps froid qui sommeille en regardant la lune...

Translation(s): ENG GER

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Edmond Haraucourt: L'Ame Nue, Paris, G. Charpentier et Cie, éditeurs, 1885, pages 113-114.

1 omitted by Koechlin
2 Koechlin: "long bercement"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]


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) , "High water", copyright © 2001, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Flut", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2017-12-29 15:33:04
Line count: 19
Word count: 149

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High water

Language: English after the French (Français)

Laughing in the morning, running through the rustling grass,
believing everything, shaking to heaven, like a sheaf,
the rosy flowering of the joy of being twenty.
Being loved of life and flowering in the spring,
trying out love as soon as winter is done,

Then, cradled in a boat, triumphantly
splashing the river with child-like cries.
Watching the wake spread out,
making the foam sing with the abrupt shock of the oars,
and, handsomer than a Greek god, plunging nervous flanks
into the green water that flees, licking at tresses.
Feeling, like the touch of unknown lovers, 
the water's cool kiss on naked flesh.
               And that night, the fishermen will find,
water lilies at its feet and seaweed on its brow,
calm, serene, lying whitely on the brown mud,
a cold, sleeping corpse gazing up at the moon.

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


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

Last modified: 2017-12-29 15:35:45
Line count: 19
Word count: 140