Visions

Translations © by Ahmed E. Ismail

Song Cycle by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976)

Word count: 638
Original language: Les Illuminations
J'ai seul la clef de cette parade sauvage.

Authorship

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "銅管合奏", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "Interlude", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Fanfarria", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
1. Interlude
I alone hold the key to this wild parade.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 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.
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This text was added to the website: 2004-07-04
Line count: 1
Word count: 9

Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail
Ce sont des villes ! C'est un peuple pour qui se sont montés ces
Alleghanys et ces Libans de rêve !  Des chalets de cristal et de bois
qui se meuvent sur des rails et des poulies invisibles. Les vieux
cratères ceints de colosses et de palmiers de cuivre rugissent
mélodieusement dans les feux. [Des fêtes amoureuses sonnent sur les
canaux pendus derrière les chalets. La chasse des carillons crie dans
les gorges. Des corporations de chanteurs géants accourent dans des
vêtements et des oriflammes éclatants comme la lumière des cimes. Sur
les plates-formes au milieu des gouffres les Rolands sonnent leur
bravoure. Sur les passerelles de l'abîme et les toits des auberges
l'ardeur du ciel pavoise les mâts. L'écroulement des apothéoses
rejoint les champs des hauteurs où les centauresses séraphiques
évoluent parmi les avalanches. Au-dessus du niveau des plus hautes
crêtes une mer troublée par la naissance éternelle de Vénus, chargée
de flottes orphéoniques et de la rumeur des perles et des conques
précieuses, -- la mer s'assombrit parfois avec des éclats mortels. Sur
les versants des moissons de fleurs grandes comme nos armes et nos
coupes, mugissent.]1 Des cortèges de Mabs en robes rousses, opalines,
montent des ravines. Là-haut, les pieds dans la cascade et les ronces,
les cerfs tettent Diane. Les Bacchantes des banlieues sanglotent et la
lune brûle et hurle. Vénus entre dans les cavernes des forgerons et
des ermites. Des groupes de beffrois chantent les idées des
peuples. Des châteaux bâtis en os sort la musique inconnue. [Toutes les
légendes évoluent et les élans se ruent dans les bourgs.]1 Le paradis
des orages s'effondre. Les sauvages dansent sans cesse la fête de la
nuit. [Et une heure je suis descendu dans le mouvement d'un boulevard
de Bagdad où des compagnies ont chanté la joie du travail nouveau,
sous une brise épaisse, circulant sans pouvoir éluder les fabuleux
fantômes des monts où l'on a dû se retrouver.]1

Quels bons bras, quelle belle heure me rendront cette région d'où
viennent mes sommeils et mes moindres mouvements?

Authorship

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "城市", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "Towns", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Ciudades", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Britten.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
2. Towns
These are towns! This is a people for whom 
these Alleghenies and these Lebanons were raised up! 
Crystal and wooden chalets 
move on invisible rails and pulleys. The old 
craters, surrounded by colossuses and copper palm-trees, 
roar melodiously in the flames. . . . 











Processions of Mabs in russet and opaline robes 
climb the ravines. Up there, Diana suckles stags, 
with their feet in the cascade and brambles. 
Suburban Bacchantes sob, and 
the moon burns and howls. Venus enters caverns 
of blacksmiths and hermits. Groups of belfries 
sing the people's ideas. From
castles built of bones pour forth unknown music. . . .
The paradise of storms collapses. The savages 
dance ceaselessly the festival of the night.



What lovely arms, what beautiful hour will bring back to me 
that region from whence come my slumber 
and my smallest movements?

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 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.
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Based on


This text was added to the website: 2004-07-04
Line count: 19
Word count: 139

Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail

 (The following is a multi-text setting.)

3. Antique 
J'ai tendu des  cordes de  clocher  à clocher; des
guirlandes de fenêtre  à fenêtre; des chaînes d'or
d'étoile à étoile, et je danse.

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "句子", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "Phrase", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Frase", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Gracieux fils de Pan! Autour de ton front couronné
de  fleurettes et de baies,  tes yeux,  des boules
précieuses,  remeunt.  Tachées de lies brunes, tes
joues se creusent.  Tes crocs luisent. Ta poitrine
ressemble à une cithare,  des tintements circulent
dans tes bras blonds.  Ton cœur bat dans ce ventre
où dort  le double sexe.  Promène-toi,  la nuit en
mouvant  doucement  cette  cuisse,  cette  seconde
cuisse et cette jambe de gauche.

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See other settings of this text.

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "古人", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "Antique", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Antiguo", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Author(s):
3. Phrase
I hung strings from steeple to steeple; 
garlands from window to window; gold
chains from star to star, and I dance.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 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.
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Gracious child of Pan! Around your brow, crowned 
by tiny flowers and berries, your eyes - precious 
globes - stir. Stained by brown dregs, your 
cheeks are hollowed. Your fangs glisten. Your bosom 
resembles a zither, its chiming spreading about 
in your fair arms. Your heart beats in that belly 
where the double sex sleeps. Walk in the night, 
moving gently this thigh, that other 
thigh, and that left leg.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 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.
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Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail
Un beau matin, chez un peuple fort doux,  un  homme
et  une  femme  superbes   criaient  sur  la  place
publique:  "Mes amis,  je veux qu'elle soit reine!"
"Je veux être reine!"  Elle riait et tremblait.  Il
parlait aux amis de révélation, d'épreuve terminée.
Ils se pâmaient l'un contre l'autre.

En effet ils furent  rois toute  une matinée où les
tentures carminées se  relevèrent sur les  maisons,
et  toute l'après-midi, où ils s'avancèrent du côté
des jardins de palmes.

Authorship

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "皇位", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "Royalty", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Faith J. Cormier) , "Royalty", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Realeza", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
4. Royalty
A beautiful morning, among a most gentle people, 
a superb man and woman, cry out in a 
public square: "My friends, I wish to make her your queen!"
"I wish to be your queen!," she cries, and trembles. He 
speaks to his friends of revelation, of finished ordeals. 
They swoon, one against the other.

Indeed, they were kings all that morning while 
the crimson hangings went up on the houses, 
and all that afternoon, when they advanced toward the coast
through gardens of palms.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 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: 

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This text was added to the website: 2004-07-04
Line count: 10
Word count: 84

Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail
Les chars d'argent et de cuivre -
Les proues d'acier et d'argent -
Battent l'écume, -
Soulèvent les souches des ronces.
Les courants de la lande,
Et les ornières immenses du reflux,
Filent circulairement vers l'est,
Vers les piliers de la forêt,
Vers les fûts de la jetée,
Dont l'angle est heurté par des tourbillons de lumière.

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "海洋的", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "Marine", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Marina", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
5. Marine
Chariots of silver and copper -
Prows of steel and silver -
Stir up the foam -
Lift up the roots of bramble,
The currents of the land,
And the immense tracks of the ebb,
Running out in a circle towards the east,
Toward the pillars of the forest,
Toward the piles of the jetty,
Whose corner is struck by whirlpools of light.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 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: 2004-07-04
Line count: 10
Word count: 63

Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail
6. Interlude [sung text checked 1 time]
J'ai seul la clef de cette parade sauvage.

Authorship

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "銅管合奏", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "Interlude", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Fanfarria", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
6. Interlude
I alone hold the key to this wild parade.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 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: 

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This text was added to the website: 2004-07-04
Line count: 1
Word count: 9

Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail
7. Being beauteous [sung text checked 1 time]
Devant une neige un Être de Beauté de haute taille.
Des  sifflements de mort et  des cercles de musique
sourde font monter,  s'élargir et trembler comme un
spectre ce corps adoré:  des blessures écarlates et
noires  éclatent  dans  les  chaires superbes.  Les 
couleurs propres de la vie se foncent,  dansent, et
se  dégagent autour de la Vision,  sur le chantier.
Et  les  frissons  s'élèvent  et  grondent,  et  la
saveur  forcenée de  ces  effets se chargeant  avec
les  sifflements  mortels  et les rauques  musiques
que le monde,  loin derrière nous,  lance sur notre
mère de beauté,  - elle recule, elle se dresse. Oh!
nos os sont revêtus d'un nouveau corps amoureux.

                   * * * * * * * *

Ô la face cendrée,  l'écusson de crin,  les bras de
cristal!  Le canon  sur lequel  je dois m'abattre à
travers la mêlée des arbres et de l'air léger!

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See other settings of this text.

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "美的事物", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "Being Beauteous", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Being beauteous (Ser de Belleza)", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
7. Being Beauteous
In front of the snow stands a tall Beauteous Being. 
The hissing of death and circles of muffled music 
make this adored body climb, expand, and tremble:
black and scarlet wounds 
burst in the superb flesh. 
The proper colors of life darken, dance, 
and give off around the vision, upon the yard. 
And the shudders rise and fall, and 
the maniacal flavor of these effects being charged 
with the mortal hissing and raucous music 
that the world, well behind us, hurls on our
mother of beauty - she withdraws, she stands up. O!
Our bones are dressed once more in a new amorous body.



O ashen face, with shield of hair, and arms of 
crystal! The cannon on which I must throw myself down, 
amid the scuffle of trees and the light breeze!

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 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.
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This text was added to the website: 2004-07-04
Line count: 16
Word count: 133

Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail
Des drôles très solides. Plusieurs ont exploité
vos mondes. Sans besoins, et peu pressés de mettre en
œuvre leurs brillantes facultés et leur expérience
de vos consciences. Quels hommes mûrs ! Des yeux
hébétés à la façon de la nuit d'été, rouges et noirs, 
tricolores, d'acier piqué d'étoiles d'or ; des faciès 
déformés, plombés, blêmis, incendiés ; des enrouements
folâtres ! La démarche cruelle des oripeaux ! -- 
Il y a quelques jeunes, [-- comment regarderaient-ils 
Chérubin ? -- pourvus de voix effrayantes et de quelques 
ressources dangereuses. On les envoie prendre du dos 
en ville, affublés d'un luxe dégoûtant.]1

Ô le plus violent Paradis de la grimace enragée !  [Pas
de comparaison avec vos Fakirs et les autres bouffonneries
scéniques. Dans des costumes improvisés avec le
goût du mauvais rêve ils jouent des complaintes, des
tragédies de malandrins et de demi-dieux spirituels comme
l'histoire ou les religions ne l'ont jamais été.]1 
Chinois, Hottentots, bohémiens, niais, hyènes, Molochs,
vieilles démences, démons sinistres, ils mêlent
les tours populaires, maternels, avec les poses et 
les tendresses bestiales. Ils interpréteraient des pièces 
nouvelles et des chansons « bonnes filles ». 
Maîtres jongleurs, ils transforment le lieu et les 
personnes, et usent de la comédie magnétique. 
[Les yeux flambent, le sang chante, les os s'élargissent,
les larmes et des filets rouges ruissellent. Leur 
raillerie ou leur terreur dure une minute, ou des 
mois entiers.]1

J'ai seul la clef de cette parade sauvage.

Authorship

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "遊行", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "Parade", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Parada", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Britten.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
8. Parade
What sturdy odd fellows. Several have exploited 
your worlds. Without needs, and little concerned with 
putting their brilliant minds and their experience of
your consciences to work. What mature men! Dazed eyes
like a summer night, red and black, tri-colored, 
steel dotted with golden stars; 
deformed features, leaden, made pale, made to burn; 
their foolish cries! The cruel walk 
of rags! There are some young ones. . . .




O the most violent Paradise of the fanatical grimace! . . . 





Chinese, Hottentots, Bohemians, deniers, hyenas, 
Molochs, old demented ones, sinister demons, they
mix popular and maternal tricks 
with bestial poses and tenderness. They interpreted 
new plays and - nice girl - songs. 
Master jugglers, they transform
the place and the people and use 
magnetic comedy. . . .





I alone hold the key to this wild parade.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 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: 2004-07-04
Line count: 19
Word count: 138

Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail
Assez vu. La vision s'est rencontrée à tous les airs.
Assez eu. Rumeurs des Villes, le soir, et au soleil, et toujours.
Assez connu. Les arrêts de la vie. Ô Rumeurs et Visions!
Départ dans l'affection et le bruit neufs!

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "離別", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Ahmed E. Ismail) , "Departure", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Partida", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
9. Departure
Enough seen. Visions have been met in every respect.
Enough has been. Rumors of towns, at night, and in the light of day, and always.
Enough known. The decrees of life. O rumors and visions!
Depart in new affection and new noise.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2004 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: 2004-07-04
Line count: 4
Word count: 42

Translation © by Ahmed E. Ismail