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To the Swallow • À
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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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Toi qui peux monter solitaire

Au ciel, sans gravir les sommets,

Et dans les vallons de la terre

Descendre sans tomber jamais;

 

Toi qui, sans te pencher au fleuve

Où nous ne puisons qu’à genoux,

Peux aller boire avant qu’il pleuve

Au nuage trop haut pour nous

 

Toi qui pars au déclin des roses

Et reviens au nid printanier,

Fidéle aux deux meilleures choses,

L’indépendance et le foyer;

 

Comme toi mon âme s’élève

Et tout à coup rase le sol,

Et suit avec l’aile du rêve

Les baux méandres de ton vol;

 

S’il lui faut aussi des voyages,

Il lui faut son nid chaque jour;

Elle a tes deux besoins sauvages:

Libre vie, immuable amour.

 

Sully-Prudhomme

 

You who can climb solitary

To the sky without scaling the summits,

And to the vales of the earth

Descend without ever falling;

 

You who, without bending into the river

Where we drink only on our knees,

Can go to drink before it rains

From the cloud that is too high for us;

 

You who leave when the roses begin to fade

And return to the springtime nest,

Faithful to the two best things:

Independence and home;

 

Like you, my soul rises

And suddenly skims over the ground,

And follows on the wings of dream

The lovely meanders of your flight;

 

If it too needs voyages,

It too needs its nest every day;

It has your two wild needs:

Free life and immutable love.

 

Recorded 1 October 2008

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