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Lydé (1900)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Études latines


Viens! C’est le jour d’un Dieu. Puisons avec largesse
Le Cécube clos au cellier.
Fière Lydé, permets au plaisir familier
D’amollir un peu ta sagesse.
L’heure fuit, l’horizon rougit sous le soleil,
Hâte-toi. L’amphore remplie
Sous Bibulus consul, repose ensevelie:
Trouble son antique sommeil.
Je chanterai les flots amers, la verte tresse
Des Néréides; toi, Lydé,
Sur ta lyre enlacée à ton bras accoudé
Chante Diane chasseresse.
Puis nous dirons Vénus et son char attelé
De cygnes qu’un lieu d’or guide,
Les Cyclades, Paphos, et tes rives, ô Gnide!
Puis un hymne au ciel étoilé.


Come! The day is god-like. Let us drink liberally
Of Caecuban wine from the cellar.
Proud Lyde, allow domestic pleasure
To diminish a little your modesty.
Time passes, the horizon reddens the sun,
Make haste. The amphora, filled
When Bibulus was consul, rests in its tomb:
Disturb its ancient slumber.
I shall sing of the briny deep, the Nereids’
Green tresses; you, Lyde,
On your lyre that nestles in your arms,
Shall sing of Diana the Huntress.
Then we shall invoke Venus and her swan-drawn
Chariot with golden reins,
The Cyclades, Paphos, and your shores, O Gnidus!
And hymn the starry sky.
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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Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle was a French poet of the Parnassian movement. He is traditionally known by his surname only, Leconte de Lisle.


Leconte de Lisle was born on the French overseas island of La Réunion, in the Indian Ocean. He spent his childhood there and later in Brittany. Among his friends in those years was the musician Charles Bénézit. His father, an army surgeon, who brought him up with great severity, sent him to travel in the East Indies with a view to preparing him for a business career. However, after returning from this journey, the young man preferred to complete his education in Rennes, Britanny, specializing in Greek, Italian and history. In 1845 he settled definitively in Paris.

He was involved in the French Revolution of 1848 which ended with the overthrow of the Orleans King Louis-Philppe of France, but took no further part in politics after the Second Republic was declared.

As a writer he is most famous for his three collections of poetry: Poèmes antiques (1852), Poèmes barbares (1862), Poèmes tragiques (1884). He is also known for his translations of Ancient Greek tragedians and poets, such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Horace.

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