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Sentimental stroll • Promenade sentimentale
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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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Le couchant dardait ses rayons suprêmes

Et le vent berçait les nénuphars blêmes.

Les grands nénuphars entre les roseaux

Tristement luisaient sur les calmes eaux.

 

Moi j'errais tout seul promenant ma plaie

Le long de l'étang, parmi la saulaie

Où la brume vague évoquait un grand

Fantôme laiteux, et désespérant,

 

Et pleurant avec la voix des sarcelles

Qui se rappelaient en battant des ailes

Parmi la saulaie où j'errais tout seul

Promenant ma plaie; et l'épais linceul

 

Des ténèbres vint noyer les suprêmes

Rayons du couchant en ses ondes blêmes

Et des nénuphars parmi les roseaux,

Des grands nénuphars sur les calmes eaux.

 

Paul Verlaine

 

The setting sun beamed its last rays

And the wind rocked the pale water-lilies.

The large water-lilies among the reeds

Sadly glistened on the calm waters.

 

Me, I wandered alone, taking my wound with me

Along the lake, among the willows

Where the vague mist conjured up

A great milky ghost, and despairing,

 

And tearfully crying with the voice of the teals

That called one another while beating their wings

Among the willows where I wandered alone,

Taking my wound with me; and the thick shroud

 

Of darkness drowned the last

Rays of the setting sun in the blanched waves

And the water-lilies among the reeds,

The large water-lilies on the calm waters.

 

Recorded 15 February 2008

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