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Le jet d'eau (1889)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Cinq Poèmes de Baudelaire

Le jet d'eau

Tes beaux yeux sont las, pauvre amante !
Reste longtemps, sans les rouvrir,
Dans cette pose nonchalante
Où t’a surprise le plaisir.
Dans la cour le jet d’eau qui jase
Et ne se tait ni nuit ni jour,
Entretient doucement l’extase
Où ce soir m’a plongé l’amour.
La gerbe d’eau qui berce
Ses mille fleurs,
Que la lune traverse
De ses pâleurs,
Tombe comme une averse
De larges pleurs.
Ainsi ton âme qu’incendie
L’éclair brûlant des voluptés
S’élance, rapide et hardie,
Vers les vastes cieux enchantés.
Puis, elle s’épanche, mourante,
En un flot de triste langueur,
Qui par une invisible pente
Descend jusqu’au fond de mon cœur.
La gerbe d’eau qui berce ...
O toi, que la nuit rend si belle,
Qu’il m’est doux, penché vers tes seins,
D’écouter la plainte éternelle
Qui sanglote dans les bassins !
Lune, eau sonore, nuit bénie,
Arbres qui frissonnez autour,—
Votre pure mélancolie
Est le miroir de mon amour.
La gerbe d’eau qui berce...

The fountain

Your beautiful eyes are fatigued, poor lover!
Rest awhile, without opening them anew,
In this careless pose,
Where pleasure surprised you.
The babbling fountain in the courtyard,
Never silent night or day,
Sweetly prolongs the ecstasy
Where love this evening plunged me.
The sheaf of water
Swaying its thousand flowers,
Through which the moon gleams
With its pallid light,
Falls like a shower
Of great tears.
And so your soul, lit
By the searing flash of ecstasy,
Leaps swift and bold
To vast enchanted skies.
And then, dying, spills over
In a wave of sad listlessness,
Down some invisible incline
Into the depths of my heart.
The sheaf of water ...
O you, whom night renders so beautiful,
How sweet, as I lean toward your breasts,
To listen to the eternal lament
Sobbing in the fountain’s basin!
O moon, lapping water, blessed night,
Trees that quiver all around,
Your sheer melancholy
Is the mirror of my love.
The sheaf of water...
Translation © Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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(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.

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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.

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