Thursday, July 14, 2022


Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was nineteen when he set Paul-Marie Verlaine's "Pantomime" to song. The version I listen to is sung by soprano Donna Brown, with accompaniment by pianist Stéphane Lemelin. The picture up top is of Verlaine; pictured at bottom (after Richard Stokes 2000 translation of Verlaine's poem) is a Verlaine lookalike, the poet Donato Mancini.

Pierrot, who is no Clitandre,
Gulps down a bottle without delay
And, being practical, starts on a pie.
Cassandre, at the end of the avenue,
Sheds an unnoticed tear
For his disinherited nephew.
That rogue of a Harlequin schemes
How to abduct Colombine
And pirouettes four times.
Colombine dreams, amazed
To sense a heart in the breeze
And hear voices in her heart.

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