Clair de Lune (poem)

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Clair de Lune is a French poem written by Paul Verlaine in 1869. It is the inspiration for the third and most famous movement of Debussy's 1890 Suite bergamasque of the same name. The poem has also been set to music by Gabriel Fauré.


Votre âme est un paysage choisi

Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques

Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi

Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur

L'amour vainqueur et la vie opportune

Ils n'ont pas l'air de croire à leur bonheur

Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,

Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres

Et sangloter d'extase les jets d'eau,

Les grands jets d'eau sveltes parmi les marbres.[1]

English Translation[edit]

Your soul is a delicate landscape

Where roam charming masks and bergamasques

Playing the lute and dancing and seeming almost

Sad under their whimsical disguises.

While singing in a minor key

Of victorious love and easy life

They don't seem to believe in their happiness

And their song mingles with the moonlight,

With the sad and beautiful moonlight,

Which makes the birds in the trees dream

And sob with ecstasy the water streams,

The great slim water streams among the marbles.


  1. ^ "Excerpt, One Hundred and One Poems by Paul Verlaine". Retrieved 2017-07-08.