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L'île inconnue (1841) Op. 7 no.6


Part of a series or song cycle:

Les Nuits d’Été (Op. 7)


L'île inconnue

Dites, le jeune belle,
Où voulez-vous aller?
La voile ouvre son aile,
La brise va souffler!
L’aviron est d’ivoire,
Le pavillon de moire,
Le gouvernail d’or fin;
J’ai pour lest une orange,
Pour voile une aile d’ange,
Pour mousse un séraphin.
Dites, le jeune belle,
Où voulez-vous aller?
La voile ouvre son aile,
La brise va souffler!
Est-ce dans la Baltique
Dans la mer Pacifique,
Dans l’île de Java?
Ou bien est-ce en Norvège,
Cueillir la fleur de neige
Ou la fleur d’Angsoka?
Dites, le jeune belle,
Où voulez-vous aller?
Menez-moi, dit la belle,
À la rive fidèle
Où l’on aime toujours.
– Cette rive, ma chère,
On ne la connaît guère
Au pays des amours.
Où voulez-vous aller?
La brise va souffler.

The unknowable isle

Tell me, pretty young maid,
Where is it you would go?
The sail is billowing,
The breeze about to blow!
The oar is of ivory,
The pennant of watered silk,
The rudder of finest gold;
For ballast I’ve an orange,
For sail an angel’s wing,
For cabin-boy a seraph.
Tell me, pretty young maid,
Where is it you would go?
The sail is billowing,
The breeze about to blow!
Perhaps the Baltic,
Or the Pacific
Or the Isle of Java?
Or else to Norway,
To pluck the snow flower
Or the flower of Angsoka?
Tell me, pretty young maid,
Where is it you would go?
Take me, said the pretty maid,
To the shore of faithfulness
Where love endures forever.
– That shore, my sweet,
Is scare known
In the realm of love.
Where is it you would go?
The breeze is about to blow!
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.

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


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