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La belle au bois dormant (1890) L74

La belle au bois dormant

Des trous à son pourpoint vermeil,
Un chevalier va par la brune,
Les cheveux tout pleins de soleil,
Sous un casque couleur de lune.
Dormez toujours, dormez au bois,
L’anneau, la Belle, à votre doigt.
Dans la poussière des batailles
Il a tué loyal et droit,
En frappant d’estoc et de taille,
Ainsi que frapperait un roi.
Dormez au bois, où la verveine,
Fleurit avec la marjolaine.
Et par les monts et par la plaine,
Monté sur son grand destrier,
Il court, il court à perdre haleine,
Et tout droit sur ses étriers.
Dormez la Belle au Bois, rêvez
Qu’un prince vous épouserez.
Dans la forêt des lilas blancs,
Sous l’éperon d’or qui l’excite,
Son destrier perle de sang
Les lilas blancs, et va plus vite.
Dormez au bois, dormez la Belle
Sous vos courtines de dentelle.
Mais il a pris l’anneau vermeil,
Le chevalier qui par la brune,
A des cheveux pleins de soleil,
Sous un casque couleur de lune.
Ne dormez plus, la Belle au Bois,
L’anneau n’est plus à votre doigt.

The sleeping beauty

A knight with holes in his bright red doublet
Travels through the dusk,
With his hair gleaming with sunlight
Beneath a moon-coloured helmet.
Sleep on, sleep in the wood,
Beauteous One, the ring on your finger.
In the dust of battles
He has killed, loyal and steadfast,
Laying about him with might and main,
Like a king.
Sleep in the wood, where verbena
Flowers with marjoram.
And over mountains and across plains,
Mounted on his great charger,
He gallops, gallops breathlessly,
Standing upright in his stirrups.
Sleep, Sleeping Beauty, dream
That a prince will wed you.
In the forest of white lilac,
Goaded by golden spurs,
His charger spatters the white lilac
With drops of blood, and gallops more swiftly.
Sleep in the wood, sleep, O Beauteous One,
Beneath your curtains of lace.
But he has taken the bright red ring,
The knight with his sun-flecked hair,
Riding through the dusk
In his moon-coloured helmet.
Sleep no longer, Sleeping Beauty,
The ring is gone from your finger.
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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