by Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867)
Translation by Cyril Meir Scott (1879 - 1970)

Il est amer et doux, pendant les nuits...
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Il est amer et doux, pendant les nuits d'hiver, 
D'écouter près du feu qui palpite et qui fume 
Les souvenirs lointains lentement s'élever
Au bruit des carillons qui chantent dans la brume.

Bienheureuse la cloche au gosier vigoureux 
Qui, malgré sa vieillesse, alerte et bien portante, 
Jette fidèlement son cri religieux, 
Ainsi qu'un vieux soldat qui veille sous la tente !

Moi, mon âme est fêlée, et lorsqu'en ses ennuis 
Elle veut de ses chants peupler l'air froid des nuits, 
Il arrive souvent que sa voix affaiblie

Semble le râle épais d'un blessé qu'on oublie 
Au bord d'un lac de sang, sous un grand tas de morts, 
Et qui meurt, sans bouger, dans d'immenses efforts.

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Les Fleurs du mal, Spleen et Idéal, Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1857, pages 136-137.

First published 1851-04-09 in Le Messager de l'Assemblée under the title "Le Spleen"; also appears published June 1855 in Revue des Deux Mondes under the title "La Cloche". The title "La Cloche fêlée" is used in all editions of Les Fleurs du mal.


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 (Corinne Orde) , "The cracked bell", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Cyril Meir Scott) , "The Broken Bell", appears in The Flowers of Evil, London, Elkin Mathews, first published 1909
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Terese Robinson, née Therese Langenbach) , "Die zersprungene Glocke", first published 1925


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 115

The Broken Bell
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
How sweet and bitter, on a winter night,
Beside the palpitating fire to list,
As, slowly, distant memories alight,
To sounds of chimes that sing across the mist.

Oh, happy is that bell with hearty throat,
Which neither age nor time can e'er defeat,
Which faithfully uplifts its pious note,
Like an agèd soldier on his beat.

For me, my soul is cracked, and 'mid her cares,
Would often fill with her songs the midnight airs;
And oft it chances that her feeble moan

Is like the wounded warrior's fainting groan,
Who by a lake of blood, 'neath bodies slain,
In anguish falls, and never moves again.

Confirmed with The Flowers of Evil [by Charles Baudelaire; translated into English verse by Cyril Scott], London: Elkin Mathews, 1909, page 50.


Authorship

Based on

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 ]


Researcher for this text: Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2019-08-21
Line count: 14
Word count: 107