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Autumn Sonnet • Sonnet d'automne
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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.

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Ah! l’automne vient aux amours comme aux années!

On a beau n’y pas croire et ne l’attendre pas,

La navrante saison arrive pas à pas

Et se fait un bouquet de nos heures glanées.*

 

Dans sa robe flottante aux nuances fanées,

Faite de velours rouge et de rouge lampas,

Sa chair de fruits trop mûrs garde encor des appas.

Mais sa bouche a l’odeur des pâles solanées.

 

Ses grands yeux sont brouillés comme un ciel orageux.

Orgueilleuse, méchante et folle, elle a pour jeux

De tuer les oiseaux et d’arracher les feuilles.

 

Ô mauvaise saison, semeuse de remords,

Te voilà donc! Bientôt, pour peu que tu le veuilles,

Tous mes bois seront nus et tous mes oiseaux morts.

 

Jean Richepin

 

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*Misprinted as glacées (frozen) in Lemoine’s edition. Vierne’s handwritten orchestral score (located in the Bibliothèque nationale, Paris) shows glanées.

 

Ah! Autumn comes to our loves as it does to our years!

However much we try not to believe or expect it,

The vexing season arrives, step by step,

And becomes a bouquet of our gleaned hours.

 

In its floating dress of faded hues,

Made of red velvet and red damask,

Its flesh of over-ripe fruit still has lures,

But its mouth has the smell of pale sun-flowers.

 

Its large eyes are clouded, like a stormy sky.

Selfish, cunning and mad, it plays

At killing birds and ripping off leaves.

 

O bad season, sower of remorse,

Here you are, then. Soon, whether you like it or not,

All my woods will be bare and all my birds dead.

 

Recorded 19 October 2007

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