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

Écoutez la chanson bien douce
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG
Écoutez la chanson bien douce
Qui ne pleure que pour vous plaire,
Elle est discrète, elle est légère :
Un frisson d'eau sur de la mousse !

La voix vous fut connue (et chère ?)
Mais à présent elle est voilée
Comme une veuve désolée,
Pourtant comme elle encore fière,

Et dans les longs plis de son voile,
Qui palpite aux brises d'automne.
Cache et montre au cœur qui s'étonne
La vérité comme une étoile.

Elle dit, la voix reconnue,
Que la bonté c'est notre vie,
Que de la haine et de l'envie
Rien ne reste, la mort venue.

Elle parle aussi de la gloire
D'être simple sans plus attendre,
Et de noces d'or et du tendre
Bonheur d'une paix sans victoire.

Accueillez la voix qui persiste
Dans son naïf épithalame.
Allez, rien n'est meilleur à l'âme
Que de faire une âme moins triste !

Elle est en peine et de passage,
L'âme qui souffre sans colère,
Et comme sa morale est claire !...
Écoutez la chanson bien sage.

E. Chausson sets stanzas 1-4, 6-7

About the headline (FAQ)

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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Peter Low) , copyright © 2021, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POL Polish (Polski) (Bronisława Ostrowska) , "Posłuchajcie piosenki", Kraków, J. Mortkowicz, first published 1911


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 28
Word count: 169

Listen to the very soft song
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Listen to the very soft song
that weeps solely to please you,
it is discreet, it is delicate,
a quivering of water over moss.
 
That voice was known to you (and dear?)
but at present it is veiled
like a distressed widow,
yet like her it is still proud.
 
And in the long folds of its veil,
which flutters in the autumn breezes,
it hides and reveals to the astonished heart
the truth like a shining star.
 
It says, that recognised voice,
that goodness is our very life,
that nothing remains of hate and envy
after death has come.
 
It speaks also of the glory
of being simple without expecting more,
and of golden weddings and the tender
happiness of peace without victory.
 
Welcome that voice as it persists
in its simple wedding-song.
Yes, welcome it, nothing is better for the soul
than to make a soul less sad!
 
Suffering without anger, that soul
is in trouble and in transit.
And the voice's moral is so clear!...
Listen to the very wise song.

About the headline (FAQ)

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2021 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.
    Contact: 

Based on

 

This text was added to the website: 2021-02-27
Line count: 28
Word count: 173