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Le Souvenir de Mnasidica (1901)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Musique de scène pour les Chansons de Bilitis

Le Souvenir de Mnasidica

Elles dansaient l'une devant l'autre, d'un
mouvement rapide et fuyant; elles semblaient
toujours vouloir s'enlacer, et pourtant ne se
touchaient point, si ce n'est du bout des lèvres.
Quand elles tournaient le dos en dansant, elles
se regardaient, la tête sur l'épaule, et la sueur
brillait sous leurs bras levés, et leurs
chevelures fines passaient devant leurs seins.
La langueur de leurs yeux, le feu de leurs
joues, la gravité de leurs visages, étaient trois
chansons ardentes. Elles se frôlaient
furtivement, elles pliaient leurs corps sur les
Et tout à coup, elles sont tombées, pour
achever à terre la danse molle... Souvenir de
Mnasidika, c'est alors que tu m'apparus, et tout,
hors ta chère image, me fut importun.

The Memory of Mnasidika

They dance one in front of another, with rapid
and elusive movements; they seemed always
desiring to embrace and yet not touching at all,
unless with the tips of their lips.
When they turned their backs in dancing, they
looked at each other, the head on the shoulder,
and the glistening perspiration under their
raised arms, and their fine hair passing before
their breasts.
The languor of their eyes, the fire of their
cheeks, the solemnity of their faces, were three
ardent songs. They furtively brushed against
each other, they bent their bodies at their hips.
Suddenly, they fell, to finish the soft dance on
the ground…Memory of Mnasidika, it is while
you appeared to me, and all, except your dear
image, troubled 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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