Les Roses d’Ispahan (A. Jacques / Leconte de Lisle)

The roses of Ispahan

Year of composition
Ashley Meliki Shoup
Leconte de Lisle
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
2 minutes
Classical music
Voice + keyboard
Instrumental parts
Not available

Alain Jacques’ setting is far simpler but serves the beauty of the poem (its evocation of a fabulous land of jasmine, orange trees, roses, and eternal feminine charm) making it accessible to more singers.

Litteral 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 the edge of its nest of moss.

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.

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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