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Lorsqu'elle est entrée (1897) L94


Part of a series or song cycle:

Nuits blanches (L94)


Lorsqu'elle est entrée

Lorsqu’elle est entrée, il m’a semblé
Que le mensonge traînait aux plis de sa jupe;
La lueur de ses grands yeux mentait,
Et dans la musique de sa voix,
Quelque chose d’étranger vibrait.
C’étaient les doux mots que je connais si bien,
Mais ils me faisaient mal et entraient en moi douloureusement.
Qui donc a usé son regard?
Qui donc a fané la rougeur de sa bouche?
D’où vient cette lassitude heureuse
Qui semble avoir brisé son corps
Comme une fleur trop aimée du soleil?
Oh! torturer une à une les veines de son cher corps!
L’anéantir et le consumer, ensevelir sa chair
Dans ma chair, avec la joie amère
De l’impossible pardon!
Tout à l’heure ses mains plus délicates que des fleurs
Se poseront sur mes yeux et tisseront le voile de l’oubli …
Alors mon sang rebattra, les plaies rouges
De mon cœur saigneront, et le sang montera,
Noyant son mensonge,
Et toute ma peine.

When she entered

When she entered, I felt
that falsehood loitered in the folds of her skirt,
the gleam of her huge eyes lied,
and in the music of her voice
something strange vibrated.
It was the sweet words I know so well,
but they wounded and entered me sorrowfully.
Who, then, has worn away her gaze?
Who, then, has caused her red lips to fade?
Where does this happy weariness come from?
Which seems to have broken her body,
like a flower loved too much by the sun?
Ah! to torture one by one the veins of her dear body!
To destroy, consume and bury her flesh
in my flesh, with the bitter joy
of an impossible pardon!
Very soon her hands, more delicate than flowers,
will settle on my eyes and weave the veil of oblivion …
Then my blood will surge again, the red wounds
of my heart will bleed, and the blood will rise,
drowning her lie,
and all my sorrow.
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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