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Songs

Phidylé (1872)

Phidylé

L'herbe est molle au sommeil sous les frais peupliers,
Aux pentes des sources moussues,
Qui, dans les prés en fleur germant par mille issues,
Se perdent sous les noirs halliers.
Repose, ô Phidylé! Midi sur les feuillages
Rayonne, et t'invite au sommeil.
Par le trèfle et le thym, seules, en plein soleil,
Chantent les abeilles volages.
Un chaud parfum circule au détour des sentiers,
La rouge fleur des blés s'incline,
Et les oiseaux, rasant de l'aile la colline,
Cherchent l'ombre des églantiers.
Mais, quand l'Astre, incliné sur sa courbe éclatante,
Verra ses ardeurs s'apaiser,
Que ton plus beau sourire et ton meilleur baiser
Me récompensent de l'attente!

Phidylé

The grass is soft for sleep beneath the cool poplars
On the banks of the mossy springs
That flow in flowering meadows from a thousand sources,
And vanish beneath dark thickets.
Rest, O Phidylé! Noon on the leaves
Is gleaming, inviting you to sleep.
By the clover and thyme, alone, in the bright sunlight,
The fickle bees are humming.
A warm fragrance floats about the winding paths,
The red flowers of the cornfield droop;
And the birds, skimming the hillside with their wings,
Seek the shade of the eglantine.
But when the sun, low on its dazzling curve,
Sees its brilliance wane,
Let your loveliest smile and finest kiss
Reward me to for my waiting!
Translation © Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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Composer

Eugène Marie Henri Fouques Duparc (21 January 1848 – 12 February 1933) was a French composer of the late Romantic period.

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Poet

Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle was a French poet of the Parnassian movement. He is traditionally known by his surname only, Leconte de Lisle.

 

Leconte de Lisle was born on the French overseas island of La Réunion, in the Indian Ocean. He spent his childhood there and later in Brittany. Among his friends in those years was the musician Charles Bénézit. His father, an army surgeon, who brought him up with great severity, sent him to travel in the East Indies with a view to preparing him for a business career. However, after returning from this journey, the young man preferred to complete his education in Rennes, Britanny, specializing in Greek, Italian and history. In 1845 he settled definitively in Paris.

He was involved in the French Revolution of 1848 which ended with the overthrow of the Orleans King Louis-Philppe of France, but took no further part in politics after the Second Republic was declared.

As a writer he is most famous for his three collections of poetry: Poèmes antiques (1852), Poèmes barbares (1862), Poèmes tragiques (1884). He is also known for his translations of Ancient Greek tragedians and poets, such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Horace.

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