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J'ai presque peur, en vérité (1894) Op.61 no.5


Part of a series or song cycle:

La bonne chanson (Op.61)


J'ai presque peur, en vérité

J'ai presque peur, en vérité
Tant je sens ma vie enlacée
A la radieuse pensée
Qui m'a pris l'âme l'autre été,
Tant votre image, à jamais chère,
Habite en ce coeur tout à vous,
Ce coeur uniquement jaloux
De vous aimer et de vous plaire ;
Et je tremble, pardonnez-moi
D'aussi franchement vous le dire,
À penser qu'un mot, qu'un sourire
De vous est désormais ma loi,
Et qu'il vous suffirait d'un geste,
D'une parole ou d'un clin d'oeil,
Pour mettre tout mon être en deuil
De son illusion céleste.
Mais plutôt je ne veux vous voir,
L'avenir dût-il m'être sombre
Et fécond en peines sans nombre,
Qu'à travers un immense espoir,
Plongé dans ce bonheur suprême
De me dire encore et toujours,
En dépit des mornes retours,
Que je vous aime, que je t'aime!

In truth, I am almost afraid

In truth, I am almost afraid,
So much do I feel my life bound up
With the radiant thoughts
That captured my soul last summer,
So deeply does your ever-dear image
Inhabit this heart that is wholly yours,
This heart, whose sole desire
Is to love you and please you.
And I tremble, forgive me
For telling you so frankly,
To think that one word, one smile
From you is henceforth law to me,
And that one gesture would suffice,
One word, one single glance,
To plunge my whole being in mourning
From its heavenly illusion.
But I would sooner not see you -
However dark the future might be
And full of untold grief -
Could I not, through an immense hope,
Immersed in this supreme happiness,
Repeat to myself again and again,
Despite bleak reversals,
That I love you, I love thee!
Translation © Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

Composer

 

​"Gabriel Urbain Fauré (12 May 1845 – 4 November 1924) was a French composer, organist, pianist and teacher. He was one of the foremost French composers of his generation, and his musical style influenced many 20th-century composers. Among his best-known works are his Pavane, Requiem, nocturnes for piano and the songs "Après un rêve" and "Clair de lune". Although his best-known and most accessible compositions are generally his earlier ones, Fauré composed many of his most highly regarded works in his later years, in a more harmonically and melodically complex style." (Wikipedia)

For more information about the life and work of Gabriel Fauré please see the Wikipedia article here.


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Poet

Paul-Marie Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry.
Born in Metz, Verlaine was educated at the Lycée Impérial Bonaparte (now the Lycée Condorcet) in Paris and then took up a post in the civil service. He began writing poetry at an early age, and was initially influenced by the Parnassien movement and its leader, Leconte de Lisle. Verlaine's first published poem was published in 1863 in La Revue du progrès, a publication founded by poet Louis-Xavier de Ricard. Verlaine was a frequenter of the salon of the Marquise de Ricard (Louis-Xavier de Ricard's mother) at 10 Boulevard des Batignolles and other social venues, where he rubbed shoulders with prominent artistic figures of the day: Anatole France, Emmanuel Chabrier, inventor-poet and humorist Charles Cros, the cynical anti-bourgeois idealist Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Théodore de Banville, François Coppée, Jose-Maria de Heredia, Leconte de Lisle, Catulle Mendes and others. Verlaine's first published collection, Poèmes saturniens (1866), though adversely commented upon by Sainte-Beuve, established him as a poet of promise and originality.

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