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Bilitis (1901)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Musique de scène pour les Chansons de Bilitis


Une femme s'enveloppe de laine blanche. Une
autre se vêt de soie et d'or. Une autre se couvre
de fleurs, de feuilles vertes et de raisins.
Moi je ne saurais vivre que nue. Mon amant,
prends-moi comme je suis: sans robe ni bijoux
ni sandales, voici Bilitis toute seule.
Mes cheveux sont noirs de leur noir et mes
lèvres rouges de leur rouge. Mes boucles
flottent autour de moi libres et rondes comme
des plumes.
Prends moi telle que ma mère m'a faite dans
une nuit d'amour lointaine, et si je te plais ainsi
n'oublie pas de me le dire.


A woman wraps herself in white wool.
Another wears silk and gold. Another covers
herself with flowers, green leaves, and grapes.
Me, I would only know to live naked. My
lover, take me as I am: without clothes or
jewels or sandals, here is Bilitis all alone.
My hair is black from its blackness and my lips
are red from its redness. My curls float around
me free and round like feathers.
Take me as my mother made me in a night of
far away love, and if I please you thus don’t
forget to tell me.

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(Achille) Claude Debussy was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Pierre Louÿs was a French poet and writer, best known for his classical themes and sensual style.

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