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Spleen (Debussy)
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The English version presented below is a literal, word-for-word translation. It attempts to preserve the poet's word order as far as possible, for a better appreciation of the composer's musical treatment of individual words and phrases. Download track from iTunes. Corinne Orde & Jonathan Cohen - Fauré & Debussy: Bonne Chanson, Belle Époque - Ariettes oubliées: Spleen


Les roses étaient toutes rouges,
Et les lierres étaient tout noirs.
Chère, pour peu que tu te bouges,
Renaissent tous mes désespoirs.

 

Le ciel était trop bleu, trop tendre,
La mer trop verte et l’air trop doux;
Je crains toujours, ce qu’est d’attendre,
Quelque fuite atroce de vous!

 

Du houx à la feuille vernie,
Et du luisant buis je suis las,
Et de la campagne infinie,
Et de tout, fors de vous. Hélas!

 

Paul Verlaine


The roses were all red
And the ivy was all black.
Dear, it only needs one move from you
For all my despairs to reawaken.

 

The sky was too blue, too tender,
The sea too green and the air too mild.
I fear all the time, ever waiting,
Some terrible flight from you.

 

Of the holly with its varnished leaf
And of the shining boxwood I am weary
And of the never-ending countryside,
And of everything, except you. Alas!

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