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This is a lovely fantasy by Victor Hugo, from La Légende des siècles, 1859. The full poem consists of 14 stanzas, each of 4 heptasyllabic verses. In this setting Alain Jacques selected only 6 stanzas: 1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 14; they are given here with their original numbering in bracklets. This poem has also been set to music by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) who selected 9 stanzas: 1-2, 4-7, 11-12, 14 ("L’enlèvement", 1865, publ. 1866). Other settings have also been given by • Émile Paladilhe (1844-1926) , "Ballade" • Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) , "Si tu veux", from Sei melodie, no. 5, published 1909 • Francis Thomé (1850-1909), “Si tu veux faisons un rêve" No. 5, publ. 1890 (12 stanzas selected in this order: 1-5, 8, 7, 6, 11-14).
Literal translation of the 6 stanzas selected here (AJ):
1. If you want, let’s have a dream: Let’s ride two palfreys; You lead, I kidnap you. The bird sings in the woods.
2. I am your master and your prey, Let’s go it’s the end of the day; My horse will be joy, Your horse will be love.
4. Come! our sweet pretended horses Are both pawing the ground, Mine in the depth of my dreams, And yours in the depth of heaven.
5. Some luggage is needed; We will carry our wishes, Our happinesses, our misery, And the flower of your hair.
12. Let’s go by the earth, On our two charming horses, In the azure, in the mystery, In the dazzles!
14. You will be Dame and me Count; Come, my heart is blooming, Come, we will tell this tale To the stars of the night.