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La flûte de Pan (1897)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Chansons de Bilitis

La flûte de Pan

Pour le jour des Hyacinthies, il m’a donné une syrinx
faite de roseaux bien taillés, unis avec la blanche cire
qui est douce à mes lèvres comme le miel.
Il m’apprend à jouer, assise sur ses genoux; mais je
suis un peu tremblante. Il en joue après moi, si
doucement que je l’entends à peine.
Nous n’avons rien à nous dire, tant nous sommes
près l’un de l’autre; mais nos chansons veulent se
répondre, et tour à tour nos bouches s’unissent sur la flûte.
Il est tard; voici le chant des grenouilles vertes qui
commence avec la nuit. Ma mère ne croira jamais que
je suis restée si longtemps à chercher ma ceinture perdue.

The flute of Pan

For Hyacinthus day he gave me a syrinx made of
carefully cut reeds, bonded with white wax which tastes
sweet to my lips like honey.
He teaches me to play, as I sit on his lap; but I am
a little fearful. He plays it after me, so gently that I
scarcely hear him.
We have nothing to say, so close are we one to
another, but our songs try to answer each other, and
our mouths join in turn on the flute.
It is late; here is the song of the green frogs that
begins with the night. My mother will never believe
I stayed out so long to look for my lost sash.
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 Louÿs was a French poet and writer, best known for his classical themes and sensual style.

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