La chevelure • The hair
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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 - Chansons de Bilitis: La chevelure

Il m’a dit: “Cette nuit, j’ai rêvé.
J’avais ta chevelure autour de mon cou.
J’avais tes cheveux comme un collier noir
Autour de ma nuque et sur ma poitrine.


Je les caressais, et c’étaient les miens;
Et nous étions liés pour toujours ainsi,
Par la même chevelure, la bouche sur la bouche,
Ainsi que deux lauriers n’ont souvent qu’une racine.


Et peu à peu, il m’a semblé,
Tant nos membres étaient confondus,
Que je devenais toi-même,
Ou que tu entrais en moi comme mon songe.”


Quand il eut achevé,
Il mit doucement ses mains sur mes épaules,
Et il me regarda d’un regard si tendre,
Que je baissai les yeux avec un frisson.


Pierre Louÿs

He told me: “Last night I had a dream.
I had your hair around my neck.
I had your hair like a black necklace
Around my nape and on my chest.


I was stroking it, and it was my own;
And we were linked in this way for ever,
Joined by the same hair, my mouth on yours,
Just as two laurels often have only one root.


And little by little it seemed to me,
Since our limbs were so entwined,
That I was becoming you yourself
Or that you were entering me like my dream.”


When he had finished,
He gently put his hands on my shoulders,
And he gazed at me with a look that was so tender
That I lowered my eyes with a shiver.