by Louise-Rose Gérard (1866 - 1953), as Rosemonde Gérard
Translation © by Peter Low

Les cigales
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Le soleil est droit sur la sente,
L'ombre bleuit sous les figuiers ;
Ces cris au loin multipliés,
C'est Midi, c'est Midi qui chante.

Sous l'astre qui conduit le chœur,
Les chanteuses dissimulées
Jettent leurs rauques ululées,
De quel infatigable cœur !

Les cigales, ces bestioles,
Ont plus d'âme que les violes ;
Les cigales, les cigalons,
Chantent mieux que les violons.

            *
          *   *

S'en donnent-elles, les cigales,
Sur les tas de poussière gris,
Sous les oliviers rabougris
Étoilés de fleurettes pâles ;

[Et sur les euphorbes aussi
Agonisant sur la pierraille,
C'est encor leur voix qui s'éraille
Dans le pauvre gazon roussi.]1

Les cigales, ces bestioles,
Ont plus d'âme que les violes ;
Les cigales, les cigalons,
Chantent mieux que les violons.

            *
          *   *

Aux rustres épars dans le chaume,
Le grand astre torrentiel,
À larges flots, du haut du ciel,
Verse le sommeil et son baume.

Tout est mort, rien ne bruit plus
Qu'elles, toujours, les forcenées,
Entre les notes égrenées
De quelque lointain Angelus.
 
Les cigales, ces bestioles,
Ont plus d'âme que les violes ;
Les cigales, les cigalons,
Chantent mieux que les violons.

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Rosemonde Gérard, Les Pipeaux, Paris, Alphonse Lemerre, 1889, pages 40-43.

1 Chabrier:
Et grises de chanter ainsi,
Elles font leur musique folle;
Et toujours leur chanson s'envole
Des touffes du gazon roussi!

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 [singable] (Peter Low) , "The cicadas", copyright © 2002, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 40
Word count: 189

The cicadas
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
As the sun climbs higher and higher,
patches of shade keep shrinking
and noise multiplies on every side:
it is noon, summer noon is singing!

Directed by the blazing star
is a chorus, who have rehearsed their parts,
broadcasting a raucous cantata
with resolute and tireless hearts
 
The cicadas, those tiny fellows,
out-vibrato the loudest cellos.
The cicadas' concerted din
outperforms any violin!

         *
       *   *
 
They overdo it, the cicadas;
they indulgently wallow
in among the old olive-trees
and the flowers of the dusty hollow.

Enchanted with their power to sing,
they press on with their crazy musicking.
Through the branches and browning grasses
their unremitting song takes wing.
 
The cicadas, those tiny fellows,
out-vibrato the loudest cellos.
The cicadas' concerted din
outperforms any violin!

         *
       *   *

And since for the work-weary peasants
the abundant sun of summer
in ample waves from high above
pours the magic potion of slumber,

all is still, to mark this special hour...
except for these fanatics
filling in the spaces between
the chimes of the distant church tower!

The cicadas, those tiny fellows,
out-vibrato the loudest cellos.
The cicadas' concerted din
outperforms any violin!

Note: this is a translation of Chabrier's version.


Authorship

  • Singable translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2002 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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Based on

 

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 40
Word count: 192