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Le paon (1906)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Histoires naturelles

Le paon

Il va sûrement se marier aujourd’hui.
Ce devait être pour hier. En habit de gala, il était prêt.
Il n’attendait que sa fiancée. Elle n’est pas venue.
Elle ne peut tarder.
Glorieux, il se promène avec une allure de prince indien et porte sur lui les riches présents d’usage.
L’amour avive l’éclat de ses couleurs et son aigrette tremble comme une lyre.
La finacée n’arrive pas.
Il monte au haut du toit et regarde du côté du soleil.
Il jette son cri diabolique:
Léon! Léon!
C’est ainsi qu’il appelle sa fiancée. Il ne voit rien venir et personne ne répond.
Les volailles habituées ne lèvent même point la tête. Elles sont lasses de l’admirer.
Il redescend dans la cour, si sûr d’être beau qu’il est incapable de rancune.
Son mariage sera pour demain.
Et, ne sachant que faire du reste de la journée, il se dirige vers le perron.
Il gravit les marches, comme des marches de temple, d’un pas officiel.
Il relève sa robe à queue toute lourde des yeux qui n’ont pu se détacher d’elle.
Il répète encore une fois la cérémonie.

The Peacock

He will surely get married today.
It was to have been yesterday. In full regalia he was ready. It was only his bride he was waiting for. She has
not come. She cannot be long.
Proudly he processes the with air of an Indian prince,
bearing about his person the customary lavish gifts.
Love burnishes the brilliance of his colours,
and his crest quivers like a lyre.
His bride does not appear.
He ascends to the top of the roof and looks towards the sun. He utters his devilish cry:
Léon! Léon!
It is thus that he summons his bride. He can see nothing drawing near, and no one replies.
The fowls are used to all this and do not even raise their heads.
They are tiredof admiring him. He descends once more to the yard, so sure of his beauty that he is incapable of resentment.
His marriage will take place tomorrow.
And, not knowing what to do for the rest of the day, he heads for the flight of steps.
He ascends them, as though they were the steps of a temple, with a formal tread.
He lifts his train, heavy with eyes that have been unable to detach themselves.
Once more he repeats the ceremony.

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Joseph Maurice Ravel was a French composer, pianist and conductor.  In the 1920s and 1930s he was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer. He was one of the first composers to acknowledge the potential of recording in making music accessible to a broad public, and in the 1920s several recordings of his work were made.

Information from Wikipedia. Read more here.

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(As part of a song cycle/series:)

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