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Hébé Op. 2 no.6 (1882)

Hébé Op. 2 no.6

Les yeux baissés, rougissante et candide,
Vers leur banquet quand Hébé s’avançait,
Les dieux charmés tendaient leur coupe vide,
Et de nectar I’enfant la remplissait.
Nous tous aussi, quand passe la jeunesse,
Nous lui tendons notre coupe à l’envi.
Quel est le vin qu’y verse la déesse?
Nous l’ignorons, il enivre et ravit.
Ayant souri dans sa grâce immortelle,
Hébé s’éloigne; on la rappelle en vain.
Longtemps encor sur la route éternelle,
Notre œil en pleurs suit l’échanson divin.


When Hebe, guileless and with lowered gaze,
Blushingly drew near their feast,
The delighted gods proffered empty goblets
Which the child replenished with nectar.
And we too, when youth fades,
Vie in proffering her our goblets.
What is the wine she dispenses?
We do not know; it elates and enraptures.
Having smiled with her immortal grace,
Hebe goes on her way—you summon her in vain.
For a long time still on the eternal path,
We follow the cup-bearer with weeping eyes.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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Amédée-Ernest Chausson was a French romantic composer. From 1886 until his death in 1899, Chausson was secretary of the Société Nationale de Musique, met with a number of notable figures during his short lifetime, including the composers Henri Duparc, Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, and Isaac Albéniz, the poet Stéphane Mallarmé, the Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, and the impressionist painter Claude Monet. He died at the age of 44 in bicycle accident.

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Louise-Victorine Ackermann was a French Parnassian poet.

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