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Sur les lagunes (1841) Op. 7 no.3


Part of a series or song cycle:

Les Nuits d’Été (Op. 7)


Sur les lagunes

Ma belle amie est morte:
Je pleurerai toujours;
Sous la tombe elle emporte
Mon âme et mes amours.
Dans le ciel, sans m’attendre,
Elle s’en retourna;
L’ange qui l’emmena
Ne voulut pas me prendre.
Que mon sort est amer!
Ah! sans amour, s’en aller sur la mer!
Le blanche créature
Est chouchée au cercueil.
Comme dans la nature
Tout me paraît en deuil!
La colombe oubliée
Pleure et songe à l’absent;
Mon âme pleure et sent
Qu’elle est dépareillée.
Que mon sort est amer!
Ah! sans amour, s’en aller sur la mer!
Sur moi la nuit immense
S’étend comme un linceul;
Je chante ma romance
Que le ciel entend seul.
Ah! comme elle était belle,
Et comme je l’amais!
Je n’aimerai jamais
Une femme autant qu’elle.
Que mon sort est amer!
Ah! sans amour, s’en aller sur la mer!

On the lagoons

My dearest love is dead:
I shall weep for evermore;
To the tomb she takes with her
My soul and all my love.
Without waiting for me
She has returned to Heaven;
The angel who took her away
Did not wish to take me.
How bitter is my fate!
Alas! to set sail loveless across the sea!
The pure white being
Lies in her coffin.
How everything in nature
Seems to mourn!
The forsaken dove
Weeps, dreaming of its absent mate;
My soul weeps and feels
Itself adrift.
How bitter is my fate!
Alas! to set sail loveless across the sea!
The immense night above me
Is spread like a shroud;
I sing my song
Which heaven alone can hear.
Ah! how beautiful she was,
And how I loved her!
I shall never love a woman
As I loved her.
How bitter is my fate!
Alas! to set sail loveless across the sea!
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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