Skip to main content

Songs

Songs

Le balcon (1888)


Part of a series or song cycle:

Cinq Poèmes de Baudelaire


Le balcon

Mère des souvenirs, maîtresse des maîtresses,
Ô toi, tous mes plaisirs! ô toi, tous mes devoirs!
Tu te rappelleras la beauté des caresses,
La douceur du foyer et le charme des soirs,
Mère des souvenirs, maîtresse des maîtresses.
Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon,
Et les soirs au balcon, voilés de vapeur rose.
Que ton sein m'était doux! que ton cœur m'était bon!
Nous avons dit souvent d'impérissables choses
Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon.
Que les soleils sont beaux par les chaudes soirées!
Que l'espace est profond! que le cœur est puissant!
En me penchant vers toi, reine des adorées,
Je croyais respirer le parfum de ton sang.
Que les soleils sont beaux par les chaudes soirées!
La nuit s'épaississait ainsi qu'une cloison,
Et mes yeux dans le noir devinaient tes prunelles,
Et je buvais ton souffle. Ô douceur! ô poison!
Et tes pieds s'endormaient dans mes mains fraternelles,
La nuit s'épaississait ainsi qu'une cloison.
Je sais l'art d'évoquer les minutes heureuses,
Et revis mon passé blotti dans tes genoux.
Car à quoi bon chercher tes beautés langoureuses
Ailleurs qu'en ton cher corps et qu'en ton cœur si doux?
Je sais l'art d'évoquer les minutes heureuses!
Ces serments, ces parfums, ces baisers infinis,
Renaîtront-ils d'un gouffre interdit à nos sondes
Comme montent au ciel les soleils rajeunis
Après s'être lavés au fond des mers profondes
- O serments! ô parfums! ô baisers infinis!

The balcony

Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses,
O you, all my pleasures, O you, all my duties!
You will recall the beauty of caresses,
The hearth's sweetness and the evenings' charm,
Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses!
Evenings lit with the glow of coals,
And evenings on the balcony, veiled in pink vapours.
How soft your breast was, how warm your heart!
We have often said imperishable things,
On evenings lit with the glow of coals.
How beautiful the suns on warm evenings!
How space is deep, how strong the heart!
Leaning toward you, queen of my loves,
I seemed to breath the scent of your blood.
How beautiful the suns on warm evenings!
Night thickened like a wall,
And my eyes in the dark divined your own,
And I drank in your breath, O sweetness, O poison!
And your feet were cradled in my fraternal hands.
Night thickened like a wall.
I am skilled in the art of recalling rapture,
And relive my past, my head in your lap.
For where else should I seek your languid beauty
But in your dear body and most loving heart?
I am skilled in the art of recalling rapture!
These vows, these scents, these infinite kisses,
Will they rise from a pit we are forbidden to fathom,
As the reborn suns ascend the sky,
Having washed themselves in the depths of the sea?
O vows! O scents! O infinite kisses!
Translation © Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

If you would like to use our texts and translations, please click here for more information.

Composer

(Achille) Claude Debussy was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Please click here for the full Wikipedia article.


See Full Entry

Poet

Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe.

His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. Baudelaire's highly original style of prose-poetry influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé among many others. He is credited with coining the term "modernity" (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility art has to capture that experience.

Read Les Fleurs du mal here.


See Full Entry

Sorry, no further description available.

About Oxford Lieder

Oxford Lieder is one of the world's leading promoters of song and the winner of a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award. The focal point of each year is the two-week Oxford Lieder Festival in October.

Find out More

Mailing List