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The Shepherd's Hour • L'Heure
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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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La lune est rouge au brumeux horizon;

Dans un brouillard qui danse, la prairie

S'endort fumeuse, et la grenouille crie

Par les joncs verts oů circule un frisson.

 

Les fleurs des eaux referment leurs corolles;

Des peupliers profilent aux lointains

Droits et serrés, leurs spectres incertains;

Vers les buissons errent les lucioles;

 

Les chats-huants s'éveillent, et sans bruit

Rament l'air noir avec leurs ailes lourdes,

Et le zénith s'emplit de lueurs sourdes

Blanche, Vénus émerge, et c'est la Nuit.

 

Paul Verlaine

 

The moon is red on the misty horizon;

In a dancing fog the meadow

Falls asleep in a haze [lit. smokily], and the frog calls

Among the green rushes where a shiver circulates.

 

The water flowers close up their corollas;

Poplars are silhouetted in the distance,

Upright and bunched together, their spectres uncertain;

Towards* the bushes roam the fireflies.

 

The owls awaken, and noislessly

Row through the black air with their heavy wings,

And the zenith fills with muffled glows.

White, Venus emerges, and it is Night.

 

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*Vers can also mean “over by”.

 

Recorded 19 January 2007

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