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Les roses d'Ispahan Op. 39 no.4

Les roses d'Ispahan

Les roses d’Ispahan dans leur gaine de mousse,
Les jasmins de Mossoul, les fleurs de l’oranger
Ont un parfum moins frais, ont une odeur moins douce,
Ô blanche Leïlah! que ton souffle léger.
Ta lèvre est de corail, et ton rire léger
Sonne mieux que l’eau vive et d’une voix plus douce,
Mieux que le vent joyeux qui berce l’oranger,
Mieux que l’oiseau qui chante au bord d’un nid de mousse …
Ô Leïlah! depuis que de leur vol léger
Tous les baisers ont fui de ta lèvre si douce,
Il n’est plus de parfum dans le pâle oranger,
Ni de céleste arome aux roses dans leur mousse …
Oh! que ton jeune amour, ce papillon léger,
Revienne vers mon cœur d’une aile prompte et douce,
Et qu’il parfume encor les fleurs de l’oranger,
Les roses d’Ispahan dans leur gaine de mousse!

The roses of Isfahan

The roses of Isfahan in their mossy sheaths,
The jasmines of Mosul, the orange blossom
Have a fragrance less fresh and a scent less sweet,
O pale Leilah, than your soft breath!
Your lips are of coral and your light laughter
Rings brighter and sweeter than running water,
Than the blithe wind rocking the orange-tree boughs,
Than the singing bird by its mossy nest …
O Leilah, ever since on light wings
All kisses have flown from your sweet lips,
The pale orange-tree fragrance is spent,
And the heavenly scent of moss-clad roses …
Oh! may your young love, that airy butterfly,
Wing swiftly and gently to my heart once more,
To scent again the orange blossom,
The roses of Isfahan in their mossy sheaths!
Translations by Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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​"Gabriel Urbain Fauré (12 May 1845 – 4 November 1924) was a French composer, organist, pianist and teacher. He was one of the foremost French composers of his generation, and his musical style influenced many 20th-century composers. Among his best-known works are his Pavane, Requiem, nocturnes for piano and the songs "Après un rêve" and "Clair de lune". Although his best-known and most accessible compositions are generally his earlier ones, Fauré composed many of his most highly regarded works in his later years, in a more harmonically and melodically complex style." (Wikipedia)

For more information about the life and work of Gabriel Fauré please see the Wikipedia article here.

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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.

Taken from Wikipedia. To view the full article, please click here.

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