by Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki (1880 - 1918), as Guillaume Apollinaire
Translation © by Faith J. Cormier

Bleuet
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG GER
          Jeune homme
          De vingt ans
          Qui as vu des choses si affreuses
          Que penses-tu des hommes de ton enfance
 Tu                                Tu 
   as
     vu                          connais 
       la
         mort            la bravoure et la ruse,
             en
               face
                   plus
                       de
                         cent
                             fois
                                 tu
                                   ne
                                     sais
   Transmets ton intrépidité             pas
                                            ce 
   À ceux qui viendront                       que
                                                 c'est
        Après toi                                     que
                                                         la
                                                           vie
 
 
        Jeune homme
 Tu es joyeux, ta mémoire est ensanglantée
        Ton âme est rouge aussi
            De joie
 Tu as absorbé la vie de ceux qui sont morts près de toi

     Tu as de la décision
 Il est 17 heures et tu saurais
              Mourir
 Sinon mieux que tes aînés
       Du moins plus pieusement
       Car tu connais mieux la mort que la vie
       Ô douceur d'autrefois,
           Lenteur immémoriale.

A version for program(me) notes:
Jeune homme de vingt ans qui as vu des choses si affreuses
Que penses-tu des hommes de ton enfance
Tu connais la bravoure et la ruse,
Tu as vu la mort en face plus de cent fois
tu ne sais pas ce que c'est que la vie
Transmets ton intrépidité à ceux qui viendront après toi
Jeune homme tu es joyeux, ta mémoire est ensanglantée
Ton âme est rouge aussi de joie
Tu as absorbé la vie de ceux qui sont morts près de toi
Tu as de la décision
Il est 17 heures et tu saurais mourir
Sinon mieux que tes aînés
Du moins plus pieusement
Car tu connais mieux la mort que la vie
Ô douceur d'autrefois, lenteur immémoriale.

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) , "New recruit", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Ingrid Schmithüsen) , "Grünling", copyright © 2013, (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: 38
Word count: 122

New recruit
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
    Young man 
    of twenty, 
    who has seen such horrible things, 
    what do you think about the men of your childhood?              
You’ve                         You

   seen                        know 
     
      death               bravery and cunning. 
         face  
            to 
              face 
                 more 
                   than 
                       a 
                        hundred 
                             times 
                                and 
 Pass on your boldness            you 
                                    don’t 
  to those who come                    know 
                                          what 
      after you.                             life
                                                 is.
   


    Young man, 
you are joyful but your memory is bloody. 
    Your soul is stained red 
        with joy. 
You have absorbed the life of those who died beside you. 

    You are decisive. 
It’s five o’clock in the afternoon and you will know 
        how to die, 
if not better than your elders, 
  at least more piously 
  because you know death better than life. 
  Ah, sweetness of the past, 
      immemorial slowness.

Note on the title (provided by Laura Prichard): Bleu is colloquial for “new recruit” or young soldier,” as in “Ce sodat est un vrai bleu,” meaning "This soldier’s a real rookie.” Bleuet is a small, delicate blue flower referred to as cornflower in English.

A version for program(me) notes:

Young man of twenty, who has seen such horrible things, 
what do you think about the men of your childhood? 
You know bravery and cunning. 
You’ve seen death face to face more than a hundred times 
and you don’t know what life is. 
Pass on your boldness to those who come after you. 
Young man, you are joyful but your memory is bloody. 
Your soul is stained red with joy. 
You have absorbed the life of those who died beside you. 
You are decisive. 
It’s five o’clock in the afternoon and you will know how to die, 
if not better than your elders, 
at least more piously 
because you know death better than life. 
Ah, sweetness of the past, immemorial slowness.


Authorship:

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2014 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:

 

This text was added to the website: 2014-10-28
Line count: 35
Word count: 122