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This long poem by Lamartine has 16 stanzas –of which Saint-Saëns selected the following seven: 4-8, 13 & 16.
This poem has also been set to music by Niedermeyer, Gabriel Marcel and Alain Jacques.
Alain Jacques selected 8 stanzas: 1-2, 4-6, 9, 13 & 16. An English translation is also provided in Alain Jacques’ setting.
But Lamartine’s commented in 1849 on the various settings of this poem::
"I have always thought that music and poety are harmful to each other when associating. They are both complex arts: music carries in itself its feeling, beautiful verses carry in themselves their melody. " ["j’ai toujours pensé que la musique et la poésie se nuisaient en s’associant. Elles sont l’une et l’autre des arts complets : la musique porte en elle son sentiment, de beaux vers portent en eux leur mélodie."]
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