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Envoi de fleurs (1865)

Envoi de fleurs

Si l’on veut savoir qui m’envoie
Ces belles fleurs,
Elles me viennent d’où la joie
Et les douleurs;
Elles me viennent d’où ma vie
Pend désormais,
De celle-là pour qui j’oublie
Ceux que j’aimais!
Si l’on cherche pourquoi je l’aime
À cet excès
Hélas! je n’en sais rien moi-même.
Ce que je sais,
C’est que dans ses yeux on voit luire
Tout son esprit
Et qu’au coin de son fin sourire
Mon cœur se prit!
Comme un oiseau qui s’effarouche,
Et fuit dans l’air,
Plus je le cherche sur sa bouche
Plus il se perd.
C’est pourquoi celle qui m’envoie
Ces belles fleurs
Est celle d’où me vient la joie
Et les douleurs!

A gift of flowers

If you would know who sends me
These beautiful flowers,
They come to me from where
Joy and sorrow dwell,
They come to me from one
On whom my life depends,
From her for whom I forget
All those that I once loved!
If you should wonder why I love her
So excessively,
Alas, myself, I do not know,
I only know
That in her eyes I see
Her whole spirit gleaming,
And that the corners of her pretty smile
Have carried off my heart!
Like a startled bird
That flies into the air,
The more I seek her smile,
The more it hides.
That is why she who sends me
These beautiful flowers
Is the cause of my joy
Any my sorrow!
Translation © Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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