A break from Wagner and some fun with words!

Indeed a break from German, too! A colleague asked me to translate the words to Fauré’s Pavane. It’s a wee while since I’ve translated any poetry, especially in French, my second foreign language. After translating a great long 10-line sentence from Wagner on the train this morning, I fancied a bit of word-play as light relief.

So how did I get on? The poem is in Alexandrines (12 syllable lines) and I managed to pretty much stick to that. Couldn’t get it to rhyme, too, but stayed close to the original meaning. Here it is:

It’s Lindor it’s Tircis, it’s all our vanquishers!

It’s Myrtille, it’s Lydé! The queens of our hearts!

Oh how they provoke! Oh how proud they are!

As we dare to rule over our fate and our day!

Pay attention, take care! Observe moderation!

O mortal injury! The rhythm is quickening!

And the fall is more sure! We rebuff their advance!

We will soon be their lackeys!

How ugly they are! Dear mignons!

How foolish they are! (Airs coquettes!)

And it’s always the same, and thus always just so!

We love them! We hate them! We curse them in their love!

Farewell Myrtille, Eglé, Chloé, mocking demons!

Farewell and good day you tyrants of our hearts!

Farewell and good day!

C’est Lindor, c’est Tircis et c’est tous nos vainqueurs!

C’est Myrtille, c’est Lydé! Les reines de nos coeurs!

Comme ils sont provocants! Comme ils sont fiers toujours!

Comme on ose régner sur nos sorts et nos jours!


Faites attention! Observez la mesure!


Ô la mortelle injure! La cadence est moins lente!

Et la chute plus sûre! Nous rabattrons bien leur caquets!

Nous serons bientôt leurs laquais!

Qu’ils sont laids! Chers minois!

Qu’ils sont fols! (Airs coquets!)


Et c’est toujours de même, et c’est ainsi toujours!

On s’adore! On se hait! On maudit ses amours!

Adieu Myrtille, Eglé, Chloé, démons moqueurs!

Adieu donc et bons jours aux tyrans de nos coeurs!

Et bons jours!