by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation © by Peter Low

Nous sommes les Ingénues
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Nous sommes les Ingénues
Aux bandeaux plats, à l'œil bleu
Qui vivons presque inconnues
Dans les romans qu'on lit peu...

Nous allons entre lacées
Et le jour n'est pas plus pur
Que le fond de nos pensées,
Et nos rêves sont d'azur...

Et nous courons par les près,
Et rions et babillons
Des aubes jusqu'aux vesprées,
Et chassons aux papillons...

Et des chapeaux de bergères
Défendent notre fraîcheur,
Et nos robes, si légères
Sont d'une extrême blancheur

Les Richelieux, les Caussades,
Et les chevaliers Faublas
Nous prodiguent les œillades,
Les saluts et les "Hélas !"

Mais en vain, et leurs mimiques
Se viennent casser le nez
Devant les plis ironiques
De nos jupons détournées...

Et notre candeur se raille 
Des imaginations 
De ces [raseurs]1 de muraille
Bien que parfois nous sentions

Battre nos cœurs sous nos mantes
A des pensers clandestins.
En nous sachant les amantes
Futures des libertins.

About the headline (FAQ)

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

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Richard von Schaukal (1874 - 1942) , "Das Lied der völlig Arglosen" ; composed by Artur Immisch, Georg Trexler.

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

  • ENG English (Peter Low) , copyright © 2019, (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: 149

We are the naïve girls
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
We are the naïve girls
with flat headbands and blue eyes
who live almost unnoticed
in novels that are seldom read.

We walk arm in arm together;
daylight is not more pure
than our innermost thoughts;
and our dreams are of azure skies.

We run across the meadows,
we giggle and prattle
from dawn till dusk,
and we chase butterflies.

Our shepherdess hats
protect our freshness,
and our dresses – so flimsy
– are extremely white.

Priests like Richelieu or Caussade,
or knights like Faublas,
are lavish with winking
and greeting and sighs of “Alas!”,

but in vain –  their gestures
draw a total blank
when faced with the ironic pleats
of our skirts as we turn away.

Our artlessness mocks
the imaginings
of those sneaky men…
although sometimes we feel

our hearts beating under our cloaks
in response to secret thoughts,
and know that we are the future
mistresses of libertines.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of titles
"Chanson des ingénues" = "Song of the Ingénues"
"La chanson des Ingénues" = "The Song of the Ingénues"


Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2019 by Peter Low, (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: 2019-08-23
Line count: 32
Word count: 152