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La Grotte (1904) L115

Part of a series or song cycle:

Trois Chansons de France (L115)

La Grotte

Auprès de cette grotte sombre
Où l’on respire un air si doux,
L’onde lutte avec les cailloux,
Et la lumière avecque l’ombre.
Ces flots, lassés de l’exercice
Qu’ils ont fait dessus ce gravier,
Se reposent dans ce vivier
Où mourut autrefois Narcisse …
L’ombre de cette fleur vermeille
Et celle de ces joncs pendants
Paraissent estre là-dedans
Les songes de l’eau qui sommeille.

The grotto

Close to this dark grotto,
Where the air is so soft,
The water contends with pebbles,
And light contends with shade.
These waves, tired of moving
Across this gravel,
Are reposing in this pond
Where long ago Narcissus died …
The shadow of this crimson flower
And of those bending reeds
Seem in the depths to be
The dreams of the sleeping water.
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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