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Infidélité (1891)


Voici l'orme qui balance
Son ombre sur le sentier;
Voici le jeune églantier,
Le bois où dort le silence.
Le banc de pierre où le soir
Nous aimions à nous asseoir.
Voici la voûte embaumée
D'ébéniers et de lilas,
Où, lorsque nous étions las,
Ensemble, ma bien aimée!
Sous des guirlandes de fleurs,
Nous laissions fuir les chaleurs.
L'air est pur, le gazon doux ...
Rien n'a donc changé que vous.


Here is the elm that sways
Its shadow on the path;
Here is the young wild rose,
The wood where silence sleeps;
The stone bench where, at evening,
We would love to sit.
Here is the fragrant canopy
Of ebony and lilac trees,
Where, when we were tired,
Together, my beloved,
Beneath garlands of flowers,
We would let the heat waft by.
The air is pure, sweet the grass...
Nothing has changed but you.
Translation © Richard Stokes, from 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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Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier was a French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, and art and literary critic.

While Gautier was an ardent defender of Romanticism, his work is difficult to classify and remains a point of reference for many subsequent literary traditions such as Parnassianism, Symbolism, Decadence and Modernism. He was widely esteemed by writers as diverse as Balzac, Baudelaire, the Goncourt brothers, Flaubert, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Henry James, Proust and Oscar Wilde.

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