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Le son du cor s'afflige vers les bois (1891) L81


Part of a series or song cycle:

Trois Mélodies sur des poèmes de Paul Verlaine (L81)


Le son du cor s'afflige vers les bois

Le son du cor s’afflige vers les bois
D’une douleur on veut croire orpheline
Qui vient mourir au bas de la colline
Parmi la bise errant en courts abois.
L’âme du loup pleure dans cette voix
Qui monte avec le soleil qui décline
D’une agonie on veut croire câline
Et qui ravit et qui navre à la fois.
Pour faire mieux cette plainte assoupie,
La neige tombe à longs traits de charpie
A travers le couchant sanguinolent,
Et l’air a l’air d’être un soupir d’automne,
Tant il fait doux par ce soir monotone
Où se dorlote un paysage lent.

The sound of the horn wails towards the woods

The sound of the horn wails towards the woods
With an almost orphan sorrow
Which fades away at the foot of the hill
Amid the gusts of the fierce North wind.
The soul of the wolf weeps in that voice
Which rises with the setting sun
With an almost soothing agony,
Which delights and distresses all at once.
To muffle better this lament,
The snow falls in long strips of lint
Across the blood-flecked setting sun,
And the air has the air of an autumn sigh,
So mild is this monotonous night
On which a languid landscape takes its ease.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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Composer

(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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Poet

Paul-Marie Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry.
Born in Metz, Verlaine was educated at the Lycée Impérial Bonaparte (now the Lycée Condorcet) in Paris and then took up a post in the civil service. He began writing poetry at an early age, and was initially influenced by the Parnassien movement and its leader, Leconte de Lisle. Verlaine's first published poem was published in 1863 in La Revue du progrès, a publication founded by poet Louis-Xavier de Ricard. Verlaine was a frequenter of the salon of the Marquise de Ricard (Louis-Xavier de Ricard's mother) at 10 Boulevard des Batignolles and other social venues, where he rubbed shoulders with prominent artistic figures of the day: Anatole France, Emmanuel Chabrier, inventor-poet and humorist Charles Cros, the cynical anti-bourgeois idealist Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Théodore de Banville, François Coppée, Jose-Maria de Heredia, Leconte de Lisle, Catulle Mendes and others. Verlaine's first published collection, Poèmes saturniens (1866), though adversely commented upon by Sainte-Beuve, established him as a poet of promise and originality.

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