by Antoine Vialon (1814 - 1866)
Translation © by Faith J. Cormier

Le code fashionable
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Chorus:
 Partisans de la mode
 Et du noble maintien,
 Voici le nouveau code
 Du Dandy parisien.

 Des gants couleur de paille,
 Un pantalon collant,
 Un habit dont la taille
 Gênerait un enfant;
 Puis, de bottes qui brillent
 D'un vernis éclatant;
 C'est ainsi que s'habillent
 Nos lions d'à présent.
 Un Beau, pour qu'on l'admire,
 Doit être bon cocher,
 Et doit savoir conduire
 Un tilbury1 léger;
 Mener avec addresse,
 Sans aucun embarras.
 Un nègre qui sans cesse
 Se croise les deux bras. (Chorus)

 Redresser sa moustache,
 En crochets menaçants,
 S'épuiser sans relâche
 A rajuster ses gants;
 Se cambrer sur sa canne,
 Longue d'un demi-pied,
 Et parler d'un air crâne
 Des assauts de Grisier2.
 De quelque nom qu'on nomme
 Son donjon, ses aieux,
 On n'est pas gentilhomme
 Quand on a de bons yeux.
 Faut-il voir une toile
 Qu'on expose au Salon,
 Ou bien l'Arc de l'Étoile 
 Vite on prend son lorgnon. (Chorus)

 Les beaux arts qu'on estime
 Sont la part du bourgeois,
 L'élégant parle escrime,
 Chiens courants, chasse au bois;
 Il cause de la Bourse
 Et de pigeons pattus,
 De ses chevaux de course
 (Qui sont toujours battus)
 Sur le Turf, en une heure,
 Engager vingt paris;
 Se faire une demeure
 Du Café-de-Paris;
 Et, pour comble d'ivresse,
 Couronnant Ses [sic] hauts-faits,
 Voir briller sa noblesse
 Dans le club des Jockeys!3  (Chorus)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 an open, two-wheel carriage
2 Augustin Grisier (1791-1865), a famous fencing master, established a school of swordsmanship in Paris and in 1847 published Armes et le duel.
3 In 19th century France, le club des Jockeys was the most exclusive club.

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) , "The Fashionable Code", copyright © 2003, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2003-10-13
Line count: 53
Word count: 218

The Fashionable Code
Language: English  after the French (Français) 





Straw-coloured gloves,
tight pants,
a jacket too tight-waisted 
for a child,
shiny 
varnished boots - 
that's how our lions
dress nowadays. 
To be admired, a Beau
must be a good coachman
and know how to drive
a light tilbury 1.
Skillfully,
seamlessly lead,
a Negro 
with crossed arms. (Chorus)

Shape his mustache
into threatening hooks,
exhaust himself
straightening his gloves,
hunch over a cane
half a foot long,
talk valiantly
about Grisier's attacks 2.
No matter what the name
of one's keep or ancestors,
no one is a gentleman
who has good eyes.
Whether looking at a painting
exhibited at the Salon
or the Arc de l'Étoile,
he whips out his eyeglass.  (Chorus)

The fine arts we prize
are for the bourgeoisie.
The elegant man talks of fencing,
dog racing, hunting in the woods.
He talks about the Stock Exchange
and feather-legged pigeons,
about his race horses
(which are always beaten)
on the Turf, in an hour,
place twenty bets,
camp out 
in the Café-de-Paris
and, best of all,
crown his exploits
and show off his nobility
in the Jockey Club! 3

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2003 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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This text was added to the website: 2003-10-13
Line count: 48
Word count: 183