by Joséphin Soulary (1815 - 1891)
Translation © by Peter Low

Les deux cortèges
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Deux cortèges se sont rencontrés à l’église.
L’un est morne : — il conduit le cercueil d’un enfant ;
Une femme le suit, presque folle, étouffant
Dans sa poitrine en feu le sanglot qui la brise.

L’autre, c’est un baptême ! — au bras qui le défend
Un nourrisson gazouille une note indécise ;
Sa mère, lui tendant le doux sein qu’il épuise,
L’embrasse tout entier d’un regard triomphant !

On baptise, on absout, et le temple se vide.
Les deux femmes, alors, se croisant sous l’abside,
Échangent un coup d’œil aussitôt détourné ;

Et — merveilleux retour qu’inspire la prière —
La jeune mère pleure en regardant la bière,
La femme qui pleurait sourit au nouveau-né !

Confirmed with Œuvres poétiques de Joséphin Soulary, Alphonse Lemerre, éditeur, no date, page 177 (first part).


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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 (Peter Low) , "The two processions", copyright © 2021, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2017-05-08
Line count: 14
Word count: 118

The two processions
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Two processions meet at the church.
One is glum - it brings the coffin of a child.
Behind it walks a woman, almost crazy, stifling
in her burning breast the tears that rack her.
 
The other is a baptism. A baby emits a vague
gurgling noise at the arms that protect him;
the mother, giving him the breast that he eagerly sucks,
embraces him totally with a triumphant gaze!
 
The baptism is done, the absolution too, the church empties.
The two women, then, meeting in the apse,
exchange glances that are immediately diverted,
 
and (a marvellous exchange inspired by prayer)
the young mother weeps at the sight of the bier,
and the woman who wept smiles at the baby!

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.
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This text was added to the website: 2021-11-24
Line count: 14
Word count: 119