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La fille aux cheveux de lin (1882) L33

La fille aux cheveux de lin

Sur la luzerne en fleur assise,
Qui chante dès le frais matin?
C’est la fille aux cheveux de lin,
La belle aux lèvres de cerise.
L’amour, au clair soleil d’été,
Avec l’alouette a chanté.
Ta bouche a des couleurs divines,
Ma chère, et tente le baiser!
Sur l’herbe en fleur veux-tu causer,
Fille aux cils longs, aux boucles fines?
L’amour, au clair soleil d’été,
Avec l’alouette a chanté.
Ne dis pas non, fille cruelle!
Ne dis pas oui! J’entendrai mieux
Le long regard de tes grands yeux
Et ta lèvre rose, ô ma belle!
Adieu les daims, adieu les lièvres
Et les rouges perdrix! Je veux
Baiser le lin de tes cheveux,
Presser la pourpre de tes lèvres!
L’amour, au clair soleil d’été,
Avec l’alouette a chanté.

The girl with the flaxen hair

Seated among the flowering alfalfa,
who is singing in the cool morning?
It is the girl with the flaxen hair,
the beauty with the cherry lips.
Love, in the clear summer sun,
has sung with the lark.
Your mouth has heavenly colours,
my love, and invites kisses!
Would you like to converse on the flowering grass,
O long-lashed girl with the delicate curls?
Love, in the clear summer sun,
has sung with the lark.
Do not say no, cruel girl!
Do not say yes! I would sooner listen
to the long look of your wide-open eyes
and your delicate mouth, O my love!
Farewell to the deer, farewell to the hares
and the russet partridges! I want
to kiss your blonde hair,
press the purple of your lips!
Love, in the clear summer sun,
has sung with the lark.
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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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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