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Eau vivante • Living Water
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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


Que tu es simple et claire,
Eau vivante,
Qui, du sein de la terre,
Jaillis en ces bassins et chantes!

 

Ô fontaine divine et pure,
Les plantes aspirent
Ta liquide clarté
La biche et la colombe en toi se désaltèrent.

 

Et tu descends par des pentes douces
De fleurs et de mousses,
Vers l’ocean originel,
Toi qui passes et vas, sans cesse, et jamais lasse
De la terre à la mer et de la mer au ciel...

 

Charles Van Lerberghe


How you are simple and clear,
Living water,
As, from the bowels of the earth
You well up in these pools and sing!

 

Oh divine and pure spring,
The plants imbibe
Your liquid transparence.
The hind and the dove slake their thirst in you.

 

And you flow down over gentle slopes
Of flowers and mosses
Towards the primeval ocean;
You who pass on and go without ceasing and never tiring
From the land to the sea and from the sea to the sky.

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