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Séguidille (1881) L14


Un jupon serré sur les hanches,
Un peigne énorme sur son chignon,
Jambe nerveuse et pied mignon,
Oeil de feu, teint pâle et dents blanches;
Alza! olà!
La véritable Manola.
Gestes hardis, libre parole,
Sel et piment à pleine main,
Oubli parfait du lendemain,
Amour fantasque et grâce folle.
Chanter, danser au son des castagnettes,
Et, dans les courses de taureaux,
Juger les coups des toreros,
Tout en fumant des cigarettes;
Alza! olà!
La véritable Manola.


Her skirt clinging to her hips,
in her chignon a huge comb,
rippling legs and dainty feet,
eyes ablaze, pale complexion, white teeth;
Alza! Olà!
a true street-girl of Madrid.
Bold of gesture, free of speech,
almost too hot to handle,
utterly oblivious of the morrow,
explosive with love and wild grace.
She sings and dances to castanets
and, in the bull-ring,
judges the bullfighters’ blows,
while smoking her cigarettes;
Alza! Olà!
a true street-girl of Madrid.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of 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.

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Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier was a French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, and art and literary critic.

While Gautier was an ardent defender of Romanticism, his work is difficult to classify and remains a point of reference for many subsequent literary traditions such as Parnassianism, Symbolism, Decadence and Modernism. He was widely esteemed by writers as diverse as Balzac, Baudelaire, the Goncourt brothers, Flaubert, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Henry James, Proust and Oscar Wilde.

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