Timothy Adès : Poet and Translator

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Armand Silvestre (1837–1901): Le Secret / The Secret

Translated by Timothy Adès

An ‘X’ (a graduate of the École Polytechnique), he was an Inspector of Finances, one of the highest officials in France. His drama Henry VIII was set to music by Saint–Saens, and a sacred stage work was set by Gounod. He wrote five illustrated volumes on the nude in art.

Set to music by Fauré

Je veux que le matin l’ignore
Le nom que j’ai dit à la nuit,
Et qu’au vent de l’aube, sans bruit,
Comme une larme il s’évapore.

Je veux que le jour le proclame
L’amour qu’au matin j’ai caché,
Et, sur mon cœur ouvert penché,
Comme un grain d’encens il l’enflamme.

Je veux que le couchant l’oublie
Le secret que j’ai dit au jour,
Et l’emporte, avec mon amour,
Aux plis de sa robe pâlie!

Translation: copyright © Timothy Adès

O may the morn never know it,
the name that I spoke to the night:
may it vanish mute as a tear–drop
on the breeze of the early light.

O may the noonday proclaim it,
the love that I hid from the morn:
may it light on my heart, laid open;
may my heart like an incense burn.

O may dusk forget my secret,
forget what I told to the day:
in its robe’s pale folds may it carry
my love and my secret away.

Content: copyright © Timothy Adès 2010–2020; all rights reserved

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