by André Chénier (1762 - 1794)
Translation © by Faith J. Cormier

Pleurez, doux alcyons, ô vous, oiseaux...
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG GER
Pleurez, doux alcyons, ô vous, oiseaux sacrés,
Oiseaux chers à Thétis, doux alcyons, pleurez!

Elle a vécu, Myrto, la jeune Tarentine.
Une vaisseau la portait aux bords de Camarine
Là, l'hymen, les chansons, les flûtes, lentement,
Devaient la reconduire au seuil de son amant.

Une clef vigilante a, pour cette journée,
Dans le cèdre enfermé la robe d'hyménée,
Et l'or dont au festin ses bras seraient ornés 
Et pour ses blonds cheveux, les parfums préarés...

Mais seule sur la proue, invoquant les étoiles,
Le vent impétueux qui soufflait dans [les voiles]1
L'enveloppe; Étonnée et loin des matelots,
Elle crie, elle tombe, elle est au sein des flots.

Elle est au sein des flots, la jeune Tarentine;
Son beau corps a roulé sous la vague marine;
Thétis, les yeux en pleurs, dans le creux d'un rocher,
Aux monstres dévorants eut soin de le cacher.

Par ses ordres bientôt les belles Néréides
L'élèvent au-dessus des demeures humides
Le portent au rivage, et dans ce monument
L'ont au cap de Zéphir déposé mollement;

Puis, de loin, à grands cris appelant leurs compagnes,
Et les nymphes des bois, des sources, des montagnes,
Toutes, frappant leur sein et trainant un long deuil,
Répétèrent en choeur autour de son cercueil:

"Hélas! chez ton amant tu n'es point ramenée;
Tu n'as point revê-tu la robe d'hyménée
L'or autour de tes bras, n'a point serré de noeuds;
Les doux parfums n'ont point coulé sur tes cheveux."

Pleurez, doux alcyons, ô vous, oiseaux sacrés,
Oiseaux chers à Thétis, doux alcyons, pleurez!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Koechlin: "ses toiles"

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 (Faith J. Cormier) , title 1: "The young Tarantine", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "Die junge Tarenterin", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 32
Word count: 252

The young Tarantine
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Weep, sweet kingfishers, sacred birds 
beloved of Thetis, sweet kingfishers, weep! 

Myrto, the young Tarantine, lived. 
A ship carried her to the banks of the Camarine. 
There marriage, songs, flutes would have slowly 
led her to her lover's door. 

A vigilant key had locked away 
the wedding garment in cedar for this day, 
with the gold that would adorn her arms at the feast 
and perfumes prepared for her blonde hair. 

But alone at the prow, praying to the stars, 
the impetuous wind that blew in the [sails]1 
enveloped her. Astonished, far from the sailors, 
she cried out and fell onto the breast of the waves. 

The young Tarantine is in the bosom of the waves. 
Her beautiful body rolled under the waves of the sea. 
Thetis, weeping, hid her in the cleft of a rock 
from the monsters that would have devoured her. 

By her orders, the beautiful Nereids 
soon came and lifted her above their damp homes, 
carried her to the shore and in this monument 
laid her on Zephyr's cape. 

Then, calling their distant companions, 
nymphs of the woods and the streams and the mountains, 
all beat their breasts and mourned long 
and repeated in chorus around her coffin, 

"Alas, you never reached your lover. 
You never wore the wedding garment. 
The gold was never knotted around your arms, 
the sweet perfume never poured onto your hair." 

Weep, sweet kingfishers, sacred birds 
beloved of Thetis, sweet kingfishers, weep!

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Koechlin: "sheets"

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 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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This text was added to the website: 2004-12-15
Line count: 32
Word count: 241