Rive gauche (English translation)


Rive gauche

Les chansons de Prévert me reviennent
De tous les souffleurs de vers... laine
Du vieux Ferré les cris la tempête
Boris Vian ça s'écrit à la trompette
Rive gauche à Paris
Adieu mon pays
De musique et de poésie
Les marchands malappris
Qui ailleurs ont déjà tout pris
Viennent vendre leurs habits en librairie
En librairie.
Si tendre soit la nuit
Elle passe
Oh ma Zelda, c'est fini Montparnasse
Miles Davis qui sonne sa Gréco
Tous les Morrison1 leur Nico
Rive gauche à Paris
Oh mon île, oh mon pays
De musique et de poésie
D'art et de liberté éprise
Elle s'est fait prendre, elle est prise
Elle va mourir quoi qu'on en dise
Et ma chanson la mélancolise
La vie c'est du théâtre et des souvenirs
Mais nous sommes opiniâtres à ne pas mourir
À traîner sur les berges. Venez voir,
On dirait Jane et Serge sur le pont des Arts
Rive gauche à Paris
Adieu mon pays
Adieu le jazz, adieu la nuit
Un état dans l'état d'esprit
Traité par le mépris
Comme le Québec par les États-Unis
Comme nous aussi
Ah ! le mépris...
Ah ! le mépris...
  • 1. Référence à Sterling Morrison, guitariste du Velvet Underground, et Jim Morrison du groupe The Doors
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English translation

Left bank

I recall the songs of Prévert's
and of all those who whisper Verlaine1
and the shouts of good old stormy Ferré.
Boris Vian shall be written with a trumpet.
Left bank in Paris.
Farewell, my country
of music and poetry.
The ill-mannered merchants
who took everything from other places
come to bookstore to sell their attires.
In bookstores.
However tender the night might be,
it passes.
Oh my Zelda, Montparnasse is dead and gone.
Miles Davis tuning on his Gréco2
As all the Morissons3 on their Nico4.
Left bank in Paris.
Oh my island, oh my country
of music and poetry,
in love with art and freedom.
It has got caught, it's been conquered.
It will die eventually, whatever they say,
and my song turns it into melancholy5.
Life is theater and memories,
still we persist in not dying,
hanging about on the banks. Come here and see,
it looks like Jane and Serge on the Pont des Arts.
Left bank in Paris,
farewell my country.
Farewell Jazz, farewell night,
a state within the state of mind6,
considered with contempt,
like Quebec by the United States,
and like us too...
Ah! The contempt...
Ah! The contempt...
  • 1. The pun is on "souffleur de verre" (glass blower). A "souffleur" can also be a prompter (in a theater), but here "souffler" is meant as "whisper".
  • 2. The French is a bit strange here. "sonner" can have a few different meanings, but here I suppose Souchon invents a new one, like "play music", based on "ring" (as a melody does)
  • 3. Could allude both to Sterling and Jim
  • 4. Besides the alliteration, the sentence could be read as "All the dead play a tune for their Nico"
  • 5. Souchon invented that verb
  • 6. The pun is the same in French, but I don't really get it
Submitted by Guest on Mon, 02/07/2018 - 14:35
Added in reply to request by kochenkova
Author's comments:

As often with Souchon, the song is pretty nice and the theme interesting, but the lyrics are a bit awkward, in my opinion.

More translations of "Rive gauche"
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