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Nuit sans fin (1897) L94

Part of a series or song cycle:

Nuits blanches (L94)

Nuit sans fin

Nuit sans fin.
Tristesse morne des heures où l’on attend!
Cœur rompu.
Fièvre du sang rythmant les douces syllabes de son nom.
Qu’elle vienne, la trop désirée,
Qu’elle vienne, la trop aimée,
Et m’entoure de son parfum de jeune fleur.
Que mes lèvres mordent le fruit de sa bouche
Jusqu’à retenir son âme entre mes lèvres!
Ai-je donc pleuré en vain,
Ai-je donc crié en vain
Vers tout cela qui me fuit!
Tristesse morne,
Nuit sans fin!

Night without end

Night without end.
Dismal sadness of the hours of waiting!
Broken heart.
Fevered blood beats out the sweet rhythm of her name.
May she come—she whom I desire
and love too much,
and may she enfold me in her freshly flowering fragrance.
May my lips bite the fruit of her mouth
until I taste her soul on my lips.
Did I, then, weep in vain?
Did I, then, cry out in vain—
to all that flees me!
Dismal sadness,
night without end!
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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