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Songs

Sabre en main (1872)

Sabre en main

J’ai mis à mon cheval sa bride
Sa bride et sa selle d’or.
Tous les deux, par le monde aride,
Nous allons prendre l’essor.
J’ai le cœur froid, l’œil sans vertige,
Je n’aime et je ne crains rien.
Au fourreau mon sabre s’afflige,
Qu’il sorte et qu’il frappe bien!
Le turban autour de la tête,
Sur mon dos le manteau blanc,
Je veux m’en aller à la fête
Où la mort danse en hurlant.
Où, la nuit, on brûle les villes
Tandis que l’habitant dort.
Où, pour les multitudes viles,
On est grand quand on est fort.
Je veux qu’à mon nom les monarques
Tiennent leur tête à deux mains,
Que mon sabre enlève les marques
Du joug au front des humains!
Je veux que l’essaim de mes tentes,
De mes chevaux aux longs crins,
Que mes bannières éclatantes,
Mes piques, mes tambourins,
Soient sans nombre, comme la horde
Des mouches quand il fait chaud,
Qu’à mes pieds l’univers se torde,
Comprenant le peu qu’il vaut!

Sword in hand

I have bridled my horse
And put on his saddle of gold.
Through this arid world
We’ll sally forth together.
My heart is cool, my gaze steady,
I love nothing and I fear nothing.
My sword languishes in its sheath:
May it be drawn and may it strike true!
With the turban wound about my head
And the white cloak on my back,
I wish to set out for the feast
Where Death dances its screaming dance,
Where towns are put to the torch at night
While the inhabitants still sleep,
And where the common rabbie think
That you are glorious when you are strong.
I wish that kings, when they hear my name,
Would hold their head in their hands,
And that my sabre night remove
All traces of human servitude
I wish for the seething mass of my tents,
Of my horses with flowing manes,
I wish for the mass of my dazzling banners
And pikes and tambourines
To be endless, like a swarm
Of flies in warm weather—
So that at my feet the world might writhe,
Aware of how little it’s worth!

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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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