by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation © by Corinne Orde

Comme la voix d'un mort qui chanterait
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Comme la voix d'un mort qui chanterait
	Du fond de sa fosse,
Maîtresse, entends monter vers ton retrait
	Ma voix aigre et fausse.

Ouvre ton âme et ton oreille au son
	De la mandoline :
Pour toi j'ai fait, pour toi, cette chanson
	Cruelle et câline.

Je chanterai tes yeux d'or et d'onyx
	Purs de toutes ombres,
Puis le Léthé de ton sein, puis le Styx
	De tes cheveux sombres.

Comme la voix d'un mort qui chanterait
	Du fond de sa fosse,
Maîtresse, entends monter vers ton retrait
	Ma voix aigre et fausse.

Puis je louerai beaucoup, comme il convient,
	Cette chair bénie
Dont le parfum opulent me revient
	Les nuits d'insomnie.

Et pour finir, je dirai le baiser
	De ta lèvre rouge,
Et ta douceur à me martyriser,
	— Mon Ange ! — ma Gouge !

Ouvre ton âme et ton oreille au son
	De ma mandoline :
Pour toi j'ai fait, pour toi, cette chanson
	Cruelle et câline.

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Paul Verlaine, Poëmes saturniens, Paris: Alphonse Lemerre, 1866, pages 93-95.


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:

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

  • ENG English (Corinne Orde) , "Serenade", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Bergen Weeks Applegate) , "Serenade", appears in Poems Saturnine
  • GER German (Deutsch) ( Wolf von Kalckreuth, Graf) , "Serenade"


Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 28
Word count: 160

Serenade
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Like the voice of a dead body that might
Sing from the depth of its grave,
Mistress, listen to my voice, harsh and out of tune,
Rising up to your refuge.

Open your soul and your ear to the sound
Of the mandolin:
For you, for you, have I made this song,
Cruel and wheedling.

I will sing of your gold and onyx eyes,
Pure of all shadows,
Then of the Lethe of your breast, then the Styx
Of your dark hair.

Like the voice of a dead body that might
Sing from the depth of its grave,
Mistress, listen to my voice, harsh and out of tune,
Rising up to your refuge.

Then I shall laud highly, as necessary,
This blessed body
Whose opulent perfume comes back to me
On sleepless nights.

And to finish, I shall sing of the kiss
Of your red lips,
And your sweetness in making a martyr of me,
My angel, my gouge!

Open your soul and your ear to the sound
Of the mandolin:
For you, for you, have I made this song,
Cruel and wheedling.

Authorship:

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2008 by Corinne Orde, (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: 2008-01-16
Line count: 28
Word count: 183