Sheherezade

Translations © by Ahmed E. Ismail

Song Cycle by Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)

Word count: 487
Original language: Shéhérazade
Asie, Asie, Asie.
Vieux pays merveilleux des contes de nourrice
Où dort la fantaisie comme une impératrice
En sa forêt tout emplie de mystère.
Asie,
Je voudrais m'en aller avec la goëlette
Qui se berce ce soir dans le port
Mystérieuse et solitaire
Et qui déploie enfin ses voiles violettes
Comme un immense oiseau de nuit dans le ciel d'or.
Je voudrais m'en aller vers des îles de fleurs
En écoutant chanter la mer perverse
Sur un vieux rythme ensorceleur.
Je voudrais voir Damas et les villes de Perse
Avec les minarets légers dans l'air.
Je voudrais voir de beaux turbans de soie
Sur des visages noirs aux dents claires;
Je voudrais voir des yeux sombres d'amour
Et des prunelles brillantes de joie
En des peaux jaunes comme des oranges;
Je voudrais voir des vêtements de velours
Et des habits à longues franges.
Je voudrais voir des calumets entre des bouches
Tout entourées de barbe blanche;
Je voudrais voir d'âpres marchands aux regards louches,
Et des cadis, et des vizirs
Qui du seul mouvement de leur doigt qui se penche
Accordent vie ou mort au gré de leur désir.
Je voudrais voir la Perse, et l'Inde, et puis la Chine,
Les mandarins ventrus sous les ombrelles,
Et les princesses aux mains fines,
Et les lettrés qui se querellent
Sur la poésie et sur la beauté;
Je voudrais m'attarder au palais enchanté
Et comme un voyageur étranger
Contempler à loisir des paysages peints
Sur des étoffes en des cadres de sapin
Avec un personnage au milieu d'un verger;
Je voudrais voir des assassins souriant
Du bourreau qui coupe un cou d'innocent
Avec son grand sabre courbé d'Orient.
Je voudrais voir des pauvres et des reines;
Je voudrais voir des roses et du sang;
Je voudrais voir mourir d'amour ou bien de haine.
Et puis m'en revenir plus tard
Narrer mon aventure aux curieux de rêves
En élevant comme Sindbad ma vieille tasse arabe
De temps en temps jusqu'à mes lèvres
Pour interrompre le conte avec art...

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Àsia", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "Asia", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Asien", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Asia", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
by Arthur Justin Léon Leclère (1874 - 1966), as Tristan Klingsor
1. Asia
Asia, Asia, Asia,
Old marvelous land from childhood tales
Where fantasy sleeps like an empress
In her forest filled with mystery.
Asia,
I wish to go away with the boat
Cradled this evening in the port
Mysterious and solitary
And that finally deploys her violet sails
Like an enormous night-bird in the golden sky.
I wish to go away, toward the isles of flowers,
Listening to the perverse sea sing
Over an old, bewitching rhythm.
I wish to see Damascus and the cities of Persia,
With their light minarets in the air;
I wish to see beautiful silk turbans
On dark faces with bright teeth;
I wish to see eyes dark with love
And pupils shining with joy
In skin yellowed like oranges;
I wish to see velvet robes
And clothes with long fringes.
I wish to see pipes in mouths
Surrounded by white beards;
I wish to see harsh merchants with cross-eyed gazes,
And judges, and viziers
Who with a single movement of their crooked finger
Grants life, or death, according to their desire.
I wish to see Persia, and India, and then China,
The pot-bellied mandarins under their umbrellas,
And the princesses with dainty hands,
And the literary men who quarrel
Over poetry and over beauty;
I wish to linger in the enchanted palace,
And like a foreign traveler
Contemplate at leisure painted countrysides,
On fabrics in fir frames,
With a person standing in the middle of an orchard;
I wish to see smiling assassins,
The executioner who cuts an innocent neck
With his great curved Oriental blade.
I wish to see paupers and queens;
I wish to see roses and blood;
I wish to see death caused by love or even by hate.
And then returning, later
Tell my story to the dreaming and curious
Raising, like Sinbad, my old Arab cup
From time to time to my lips
To interrupt my tale with art. . . .

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2005 by Ahmed E. Ismail, (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.
    Contact: 

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2005-07-25
Line count: 49
Word count: 321

Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail
2. La flûte enchantée [sung text checked 1 time]
L'ombre est douce et mon maître dort
Coiffé d'un bonnet conique de soie
Et son long nez jaune en sa barbe blanche.
Mais moi, je suis éveillée encor
Et j'écoute au dehors
Une chanson de flûte où s'épanche
Tour à tour la tristesse ou la joie.
Un air tour à tour langoureux ou frivole
Que mon amoureux chéri joue,
Et quand je m'approche de la croisée
Il me semble que chaque note s'envole
De la flûte vers ma joue
Comme un mystérieux baiser.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "La flauta encantada", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "The enchanted flute", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Flötenzauber", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
by Arthur Justin Léon Leclère (1874 - 1966), as Tristan Klingsor
2. The enchanted flute
The shade is sweet and my master sleeps,
Wearing a conical silk bonnet,
With his long yellow nose in his white beard.
But I, I waken again
And hear outside
The song of a flute pour forth
By turns sadness and joy.
A song by turns languorous and frivolous
Which my dear lover plays,
And when I approach by the window.
It seems to me that each note steals away
From the flute toward my cheek
Like a mysterious kiss.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2005 by Ahmed E. Ismail, (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.
    Contact: 

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2005-07-25
Line count: 13
Word count: 80

Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail
3. L'Indifférent [sung text checked 1 time]
Tes yeux sont doux comme ceux d'une fille,
Jeune étranger,
Et la courbe fine
De ton beau visage de duvet ombragé
Est plus séduisante encor de ligne.
Ta lèvre chante sur le pas de ma porte
Une langue inconnue et charmante
Comme une musique fausse.
Entre! Et que mon vin te réconforte...
Mais non, tu passes
Et de mon seuil je te vois t'éloigner
Me faisant un dernier geste avec grâce
Et la hanche légèrement ployée
Par ta démarche féminine et lasse...

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "L’indiferent", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "The indifferent one", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Der Gleichgültige", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
by Arthur Justin Léon Leclère (1874 - 1966), as Tristan Klingsor
3. The indifferent one
Your eyes are soft, like those of a girl,
Young stranger,
And the fine curve
Of your handsome face with shadowed down
Is more seductive still.
Your lip sings, on the step of my door,
A tongue unknown and charming
Like dissonant music.
Enter! And let my wine comfort you. . . .
But no, you pass by
And from my door I watch you depart,
Making a last graceful gesture to me,
Your hip lightly bent
In your feminine and weary gait. . . .

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2005 by Ahmed E. Ismail, (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.
    Contact: 

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2005-07-25
Line count: 14
Word count: 86

Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail