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Songs

Songs

La chevelure (1897)


Part of a series or song cycle:

Chansons de Bilitis


La chevelure

Il m’a dit: «Cette nuit, j’ai rêvé. J’avais ta chevelure
autour de mon cou. J’avais tes cheveux comme un
collier noir autour de ma nuque et sur ma poitrine.
«Je les caressais, et c’étaient les miens; et nous
étions liés pour toujours ainsi, par la même chevelure
la bouche sur la bouche, ainsi que deux lauriers n’ont
souvent qu’une racine.
«Et peu à peu, il m’a semblé, tant nos membres
étaient confondus, que je devenais toi-même ou que
tu entrais en moi comme mon songe.»
Quand il eut achevé, il mit doucement ses mains sur
mes épaules, et il me regarda d’un regard si tendre,
que je baissai les yeux avec un frisson.

The tresses of hair

He said to me: ‘Last night I dreamed. I had your
tresses around my neck. I had your hair like a black
necklace all round my nape and over my breast.
‘I caressed it and it was mine; and we
were united thus for ever by the same tresses,
mouth on mouth, just as two laurels
often share one root.
‘And gradually it seemed to me, so intertwined
were our limbs, that I was becoming you, or you were
entering into me like a dream.’
When he had finished, he gently set his hands on
my shoulders and gazed at me so tenderly that I lowered
my eyes with a shiver.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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

Pierre Louÿs was a French poet and writer, best known for his classical themes and sensual style.

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