Voice from Les roses d’Ispahan (Behault / Leconte de Lisle)

The Roses of Ispahan

Composer
Ernest de Behault (1882 - ? after 1915)
Publisher
Duration
5 minutes
Genre
Classical music
Other parts

This poem by Leconte de Lisle was published in 1863; it is constructed with quatrains 1, 3 & 5 having 4 entire words as rhymes (mousse, oranger, douce, léger) while quatrains 2, 4 & 6 had the same words in reverse order (léger, douce, oranger, mousse).

Literal translation (AJ)):

1. The roses of Ispahan in their sheath of moss, The jasmines of Mosul, the orange blossoms, Have a fragrance less fresh, an aroma less sweet, O fair Leila, than your light breath!

2. Your lips are coral and your light laughter Rings better than babbling waters and with a softer voice, Better than the joyous breeze that rocks the orange-tree, Better than the bird that sings on the edge of its nest of moss.

3. But the subtle fragrance of the roses in their moss, The breeze that plays around the orange-tree And the running waters which flows with its sweet moan Have a charm more secure than your light love!

4. O Leila, ever since in their airy flight All the kisses have fled from your lips so sweet, There is no longer any fragrance from the pale orange-tree, No heavenly aroma from the roses in the moss.

5. The bird, on the wet down and on the moss, Sings no more among the roses and orange-trees; The running waters in the gardens have no more sweet song, And dawn no longer gilds the pure and light sky.

6. Oh, if only your youthful love, that light butterfly, Would return to my heart on swift and gentle wings, And perfume once more the orange blossom And the roses of Ispahan in their sheath of moss.

Literal translation (AJ):

The roses of Ispahan in their sheath of moss, The jasmines of Mosul, the orange blossoms, Have a fragrance less fresh, an aroma less sweet, O fair Leila, than your light breath!

Your lips are coral and your light laughter Rings better than babbling waters and with a softer voice, Better than the joyous breeze that rocks the orange-tree, Better than the bird that sings on its nest of moss.

But the subtle fragrance of the roses in their moss, The breeze that plays around the orange-tree And the brook which flows with its soft moan Have a charm more secure than your light love!

O Leila, ever since in their airy flight All the kisses have fled from your lips so sweet, There is no longer any fragrance from the pale orange-tree, No heavenly aroma from the roses in the moss.

The bird, in its nest of wet down and moss, Sings no more among the roses and orange-trees; The brooks in the gardens have lost their soft song; And dawn no longer gilds the pure and light sky.

Oh, if only your youthful love, that light butterfly, Would return to my heart on swift and gentle wings, And perfume once more the orange blossom And the roses of Ispahan in their sheath of moss.

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