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by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation by Bergen Weeks Applegate (b. 1865)

Sub urbe
Language: French (Français) 
Les petits ifs du cimetière
Frémissent au vent hiémal,
Dans la glaciale lumière.

Avec des bruits sourds qui font mal,
Les croix de bois des tombes neuves
Vibrent sur un ton anormal.

Silencieux comme des fleuves,
Mais gros de pleurs comme eux de flots,
Les fils, les mères et les veuves

Par les détours du triste enclos
S'écoulent, — lente théorie, —
Au rhythme heurté des sanglots.

Le sol sous les pieds glisse et crie,
Là-haut de grands nuages tors
S'échevèlent avec furie.

Pénétrant comme le remords,
Tombe un froid lourd qui vous écœure
Et qui doit filtrer chez les morts,

Chez les pauvres morts, à toute heure
Seuls, et sans cesse grelottants,
— Qu'on les oublie ou qu'on les pleure ! —

Ah ! vienne vite le Printemps,
Et son clair soleil qui caresse,
Et ses doux oiseaux caquetants !

Refleurisse l'enchanteresse
Gloire des jardins et des champs
Que l'âpre hiver tient en détresse !

Et que, — des levers aux couchants, —
L'or dilaté d'un ciel sans bornes
Berce de parfums et de chants,

Chers endormis, vos sommeils mornes !

Confirmed with Paul Verlaine, Poëmes saturniens, Paris: Alphonse Lemerre, 1866, pages 87-89.


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):


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

This text was added to the website: 2012-01-19
Line count: 31
Word count: 182

Sub urbe
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The little yews of the cemetery
Tremble before the wintry blasts
In the clear cold light.

With a sound mournful and sad
The crosses of wood over the new graves
Vibrate with an abnormal tone.

Silent as the streams,
But full of tears as the floods,
The sons, the mothers, and the widows

Through the paths of the sad enclosure
Wander, a slow procession,
To the wounding rhythm of sobs.

The yielding soil under their feet seems to cry.
On high the huge clouds twist
And tear themselves with fury.

Penetrating as remorse
Falls the heavy cold that o'erpowers,
Seeming to reach even to the dead.

To the poor dead, who are always
Alone, and who tremble unceasingly,
—Forgotten by some or wept by others.

Ah, come quickly, O thou Springtime,
With thy clear and caressing sun,
With thy sweet birds chattering!

Make bloom with enchanting
Glory the gardens and the fields
That the rude winter holds in distress!

And, when the sunsets fall
Spreading with gold the boundless sky,
Soothe with sweet odors and with songs

Dear absent ones, your mournful sleep!

Confirmed with Bergen Applegate, Paul Verlaine: His Absinthe-Tinted Song, Chicago, Ralph Fletcher Seymour, The Alderbrink Press, 1916, pages 62-63.


Authorship:

Based on:

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

    [ None yet in the database ]


Researcher for this text: Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2022-03-13
Line count: 31
Word count: 183