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Villanelle (1841) Op. 7 no.1


Part of a series or song cycle:

Les Nuits d’Été (Op. 7)


Villanelle

Quand viendra la saison nouvelle,
Quand auront disparu les froids,
Tous les deux nous irons, ma belle,
Pour cueillir le muguet aux bois;
Sous nos pieds égrenant les perles
Que l’on voit au matin trembler,
Nous irons écouter les merles
Siffler!
Le printemps est venu, ma belle;
C’est le mois des amants béni,
Et l’oiseau, satinant son aile,
Dit ses vers au rebord du nid.
Oh! viens donc sur ce banc de mousse,
Pour parler de nos beaux amours,
Et dis-moi de ta voix si douce:
Toujours!
Loin, bien loin, égarant nos courses,
Faisons fuir le lapin caché,
Et le daim au miroir des sources
Admirant son grand bois penché;
Puis, chez nous, tout heureux, tout aises,
En paniers enlaçant nos doigts,
Revenons rapportant des fraises
Des bois!

Villanelle

When the new season comes,
When the cold has gone,
We two will go, my sweet,
To gather lilies-of-the-valley in the woods;
Scattering as we tread the pearls of dew
We see quivering each morn,
We’ll go and hear the blackbirds
Sing!
Spring has come, my sweet;
It is the season lovers bless,
And the birds, preening their wings,
Sing songs from the edge of their nests.
Ah! Come, then, to this mossy bank
To talk of our beautiful love,
And tell me in your gentle voice:
Forever!
Far, far away we’ll stray from our path,
Startling the rabbit from his hiding-place
And the deer reflected in the spring,
Admiring his great lowered antlers;
Then home we’ll go, serene and at ease,
And entwining our fingers basket-like,
We’ll bring back home wild
Strawberries!
Translations by Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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Composer

Louis-Hector Berlioz (11 December 1803 – 8 March 1869) was a French Romantic composer. His output includes orchestral works such as the Symphonie fantastique and Harold in Italy, choral pieces including the Requiem and L'Enfance du Christ, his three operas Benvenuto Cellini, Les Troyens and Béatrice et Bénédict, and works of hybrid genres such as the "dramatic symphony" Roméo et Juliette and the "dramatic legend" La Damnation de Faust.

The elder son of a provincial doctor, Berlioz was expected to follow his father into medicine, and he attended a Parisian medical college before defying his family by taking up music as a profession. His independence of mind and refusal to follow traditional rules and formulas put him at odds with the conservative musical establishment of Paris. He briefly moderated his style sufficiently to win France's premier music prize, the Prix de Rome, in 1830 but he learned little from the academics of the Paris Conservatoire. Opinion was divided for many years between those who thought him an original genius and those who viewed his music as lacking in form and coherence.

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Poet

Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier was a French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, and art and literary critic.

While Gautier was an ardent defender of Romanticism, his work is difficult to classify and remains a point of reference for many subsequent literary traditions such as Parnassianism, Symbolism, Decadence and Modernism. He was widely esteemed by writers as diverse as Balzac, Baudelaire, the Goncourt brothers, Flaubert, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Henry James, Proust and Oscar Wilde.

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(As part of a song cycle/series:)

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