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Les roses (1881) L13

Les roses

Lorsque le ciel de saphir est de feu,
Lorsque l’été de son haleine touche
La folle Nymphe amoureuse, et par jeu
Met un charbon rougissant sur sa bouche;
Quand sa chaleur, dédaigneuse et farouche
Fait tressaillir le myrte et le cyprès,
On sent brûler sous ses magiques traits
Les fronts blêmis et les lèvres mi-closes
Et le riant feuillage des forêts,
Et vous aussi, cœurs enflammés des roses.


When the sapphire sky’s ablaze,
When summer breathes on
The madly enamoured Nymph, and playfully
Places a glowing ember on her lips;
When its disdainful and fierce heat
Causes the myrtle and cypress to quiver,
One can feel its magical touch burn
Pale foreheads and half-closed lips
And the laughing forest foliage,
And you too, roses with glowing hearts.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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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.

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Théodore Faullain de Banville was a French poet and writer.

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