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Mai (1891)


Depuis un mois, chère exilée,
Loin de mes yeux tu t'en allas,
Et j'ai vu fleurir des lilas
Avec ma peine inconsolée.
Seul, je fuis ce ciel clair et beau
Dont l'ardent effluve me trouble,
Car l'horreur de l'exil se double
De la splendeur du renouveau.
En vain le soleil a souri,
Au printemps je ferme ma porte,
Et veux seulement qu'on m'apporte
Un rameau de lilas fleuri;
Car l'amour dont mon âme est pleine
Y trouve, parmi ses douleurs
Ton regard dans ces chères fleurs
Et dans leur parfum ton haleine.


It is a month, dear exile,
Since you vanished from my gaze,
And I have watched the lilacs bloom
With my sorrow unassuaged.
Alone, I avoid these lovely clear skies,
Whose blazing rays disquiet me,
For an exile’s dread increases
With the splendour of nature’s renewal.
In vain the sun has smiled;
I close my door to the spring,
And wish only to be brought
A lilac branch in bloom!
For Love, which fills my heart to overflowing,
Finds among its sorrows
Your gaze in the midst of those dear flowers,
And in their fragrance your sweet breath!
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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Reynaldo Hahn was a French composer, conductor and music critic. He moved to France at the age of three from Venezuela. 

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François Edouard Joachim Coppée was a French poet and novelist.

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