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Rondel chinois (1881) L17

Rondel chinois

Sur le lac bordé d’azalée
De nénuphar et de bambou
Passe une jonque d’acajou
À la pointe d’or effilée.
Une Chinoise dort voilée
D’un flot de crêpe jusqu’au cou.
Sur le lac bordé d’azalée,
De nénuphar et de bambou.
Sous la véranda dentelée
Un mandarin se tient debout
Fixant de ses yeux de hibou
La dame qui passe isolée
Sur le lac bordé d’azalée.

Chinese Rondel

On the lake, bordered with azaleas,
water-lilies and bamboo,
a mahogany junk with a gold-pointed bow
glides by.
A Chinese girl sleeps, veiled
to her neck in a cascade of crepe.
On the lake, bordered with azaleas,
water-lilies and bamboo.
Beneath the scalloped veranda
a mandarin stands watching
with his owl-like eyes
the lady gliding by alone
on the lake bordered with azaleas.
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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