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Songs

Songs

Danse macabre (1872)

Danse macabre

Zig et zig et zig, la mort cri en cadence
Frappant une tombe avec son talon,
La mort à minuit joue un air de danse,
Zig et zig et zag, sur son violon.
Le vent d’hiver souffle, et la nuit est sombre,
Des gémissements sortent des tilleuls;
Les squelettes blancs vont à travers l’ombre
Courant et sautant sous leurs grands linceuls,
Zig et zig et zig, chacun se trémousse,
On entend claquer les os des danseurs,
Un couple lascif s’asseoit sur la mousse
Comme pour goûter d’anciennes douceurs.
Zig et zig et zag, la mort continue
De racler sans fin son aigre instrument.
Un voile est tombé! La danseuse est nue!
Son danseur la serre amoureusement.
La dame est, dit-on, marquise ou baronne.
Et le vert galant un pauvre charron—
Horreur! Et voilà qu’elle s’abandonne
Comme si le rustre était un baron!
Zig et zig et zig, quelle sarabande!
Quels cercles de morts se donnant la main!
Zig et zig et zag, on voit dans la bande
Le roi gambader auprès du vilain!
Mais psit! tout à coup on quitte la ronde,
On se pousse, on fuit, le coq a chanté…
Oh! La belle nuit pour le pauvre monde!
Et vive la mort et l’égalité!

Danse macabre

Tap, tap, tap—Death rhythmically,
Taps a tomb with his heel,
Death at midnight plays a gigue,
Tap, tap, tap, on his violin.
The Winter wind blows, the night is dark,
The lime-trees groan aloud;
White skeletons flit across the gloom,
Running and leaping beneath their huge shrouds
Tap, tap, tap, everyone’s astir,
You hear the bones of the dancers knock,
A lustful couple sits down on the moss,
As if to savour past delights.
Tap, tap, tap, Death continues,
Endlessly scraping his shrill violin
A veil has slipped! The dancer’s naked!
Her partner clasps her amorously.
They say she’s a baroness or marchioness,
And the callow gallant a poor cartwright.
Good God! And now she’s giving herself,
As though the bumpkin were a baron!
Tap, tap, tap, what a saraband!
Circles of corpses all holding hands!
Tap, tap, tap, in the throng you can see
King and peasant dancing together!
But shh! Suddenly the dance is ended,
They jostle and take flight—the cock has crowed…
Ah! Nocturnal beauty shines on the poor!
And long live death and equality!

Composer

Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns was a French composer, organist, conductor, and pianist of the Romantic era. A musical prodigy, he gave his first concert at only 10 years old, before studying at the Paris Conservatoire.

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Poet

Henri Cazalis was a French physician ,symbolist poet and man of letters. He wrote under the pseudonyms of Jean Caselli and Jean Lahor. 


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