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Pholoé (1900)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Études latines


Oublie, ô Pholoé, la lyre et les festins,
Les Dieux heureux, les nuits si breves, les bons vins
Et les jeunes désirs volant aux lèvres roses.
L’âge vient: il t’effleure en son vol diligent,
Et mêle en tes cheveux semés de fils d’argent
La pâle asphodèle à tes roses!


Forget, O Pholoe, lyre and banquet,
Contented gods, brief nights, good wine,
And young desires flying to rosy lips.
Age advances: brushes you in its swift flight,
And mingles in your silver-stranded hair
The pale asphodel with your roses!
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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