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Songs

Songs

Phyllis (1900)


Part of a series or song cycle:

Études latines


Phyllis

Depuis neuf ans et plus dans l’amphore scellé
Mon vin des coteaux d’Albe a lentement mûri;
II faut ceindre d’acanthe et de myrte fleuri,
Phyllis, ta tresse déroulée.
L’anis brûle a l’autel, et d’un pied diligent
Tous viennent couronnés de verveine pieuse;
Et mon humble maison étincelle joyeuse
Aux reflets des coupes d’argent.
Ô Phyllis, c’est le jour de Vénus, et je t’aime!
Entends-moi! Téléphus brûle et soupire ailleurs;
Il t’oublie, et je t’aime, et nos jours les meilleurs
Vont rentrer dans la nuit suprême.
C’est toi qui fleuriras en mes derniers beaux jours:
Je ne changerai plus, voici la saison mûre.
Chante! les vers sont doux quand ta voix les murmure,
Ô belle fin de mes amours!

Phyllis

For nine years and more in the sealed amphora
My Alban Hills wine has been slowly maturing;
We must garland with acanthus and flowering myrtle,
O Phyllis, your unfastened locks.
Anise burns on the altar, and all hasten along,
Crowned with godly verbena;
And my humble abode sparkles with joy
At the reflection of silver goblets.
0 Phyllis, it is the day of Venus, and I love you!
Listen! Telephus burns and sighs for another;
He forgets you, and I love you, and our finest days
Shall return in our final night.
It is you who shall blossom in the fair days left me:
I shall change no more, the ripe season is here.
Sing! Poetry is sweet when uttered by you,
O fair conclusion of my loves!
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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Composer

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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Poet

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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