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A la claire fontaine (By the clear fountain) [Apr. 26th, 2007|12:17 am]
Translation journal

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[vorspeise]
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A la claire fontaine is a traditional French folk song. It was played at the very end of The Painted Veil, the new movie adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's novel with Ed Norton (such an amazing actor) and Naomi Watts, which I watched this past weekend. (I found it such a sad movie, it made me go all teary-eyed, which is saying a lot because I'm usually a cynical b*tch).

I hadn't done any translations in a while, so here is the translation of the song.

The YouTube video clip of the song in the movie is here.



A la claire fontaine
M’en allant promener
J’ai trouvé l’eau si belle
Que je m’y suis baignée

Il y’a longtemps que je t’aime
Jamais je ne t’oublierai

Sous les feuilles d'un chêne
Je me suis fait sécher
Sur la plus haute branche
Le rossignol chantait

Il y’a longtemps que je t’aime
Jamais je ne t’oublierai

Chante, rossignol, chante
Toi qui as le cœur gai
Tu as le cœur à rire
Moi je l’ai à pleurer

Il y’a longtemps que je t’aime
Jamais je ne t’oublierai

C’est pour mon ami Pierre
Qui ne veut plus m’aimer
Pour un bouton de rose
Que je lui refusais

Il y’a longtemps que je t’aime
Jamais je ne t’oublierai

J’ai perdu mon ami
Sans l’avoir mérité
Pour un bouquet de roses
Que je lui refusais

Il y’a longtemps que je t’aime
Jamais je ne t’oublierai
At the clear fountain
While I was walking by
I found the water so lovely
That I went for a bathe

It's been so long that I've loved you
Never will your memory fade

Under the leaves of an oak tree
I dried myself
Upon the highest branch
The nightingale sang

Sing, nightingale, sing
You with your joyous heart
You with your heart full of laughter
Mine is only fit for weeping

It's been so long that I've loved you
Never will your memory fade

It's for my love Pierre
Who desires me no more
For a rose bud
That I refused him

It's been so long that I've loved you
Never will your memory fade

I lost my love
Undeservingly
For a bouquet of roses
That I refused him

It's been so long that I've loved you
Never will your memory fade

LinkReply

Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2008-03-11 06:23 am (UTC)

last 4 lines of "a la claire fontaine"

my favorite version of the last stanzas of the song:
J'ai perdu mon amie,
Sans l'avoir mérité
Pour un bouquet de roses,
Que je lui refusais

Je voudrais que la rose,
Fût encore au rosier
Et que le rosier même
À la mer fût jeté.

I have see the last four lines of this song translated in so many ways, with drastically different meanings. How would you translate those last 4 lines? Thanks!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: vorspeise
2008-03-12 04:31 am (UTC)

Re: last 4 lines of "a la claire fontaine"

I think it could be translated as:

I wish that the rose
Were still on the bush
And the rosebush itself
Were thrown into the sea
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2011-01-31 08:51 am (UTC)

Thank you

I loved the film, I loved the song, thanks for sharing the words and your translation.
(Reply) (Thread)