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La mort des amants (1887)


Part of a series or song cycle:

Cinq Poèmes de Baudelaire


La mort des amants

Nous aurons des lits pleins d'odeurs légères,
Des divans profonds comme des tombeaux,
Et d'étranges fleurs sur des étagères,
Écloses pour nous sous des cieux plus beaux.
Usant à l'envi leurs chaleurs dernières,
Nos deux coeurs seront deux vastes flambeaux,
Qui réfléchiront leurs doubles lumières
Dans nos deux esprits, ces miroirs jumeaux.
Un soir fait de rose et de bleu mystique,
Nous échangerons un éclair unique,
Comme un long sanglot tout chargé d'adieux ;
Et plus tard un Ange, entr'ouvrant les portes,
Viendra ranimer, fidèle et joyeux,
Les miroirs ternis et les flammes mortes.

The death of lovers

We shall have beds drenched in light scents,
Divans as deep as tombs,
And displays of exotic flowers
That bloomed for us beneath fairer skies.
Outdoing even their most recent passions
Our two hearts will be two mighty torches,
Reflecting their twin lights
In our two twin-mirrored souls.
On an evening of pink and mystic blue,
We shall exchange a single radiant glance,
Like a long sob laden with farewells;
And later an Angel, pushing the portals ajar,
Will come, faithful and joyous, to revive
The tarnished mirrors and lifeless flames.
Translation © Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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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.


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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.


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