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Classical French Poem Reading – “L’Abeille” de Paul Valéry

Camille Chevalier-Karfis By Camille Chevalier-Karfis - updated on Jun 17, 2020
Bee on flower

Slower and natural readings of the French poem “L’Abeille” de Paul Valéry – listen to my clear French audio recording and read the English translation of the poem.


French poet Paul Valéry believes that poetry has an emotional power that can be almost magical. For him, a perfect poem looks like a magic formula, and the logical meaning of a poem does not matter much.
In fact, he gave one of his poetry collections the name “Charmes”.

1 – Famous French Poem “L’Abeille” de Paul Valéry – Audio Recording

2 – Famous French Poem “L’Abeille” de Paul Valéry

Quelle, et si fine, et si mortelle,
Que soit ta pointe, blonde abeille,
Je n’ai, sur ma tendre corbeille,
Jeté qu’un songe de dentelle.

Pique du sein la gourde belle
Sur qui l’Amour meurt ou sommeille,
Qu’un peu de moi même vermeille
Vienne à la chair ronde et rebelle !

J’ai grand besoin d’un prompt tourment :
Un mal vif et bien terminé
Vaut mieux qu’un supplice dormant !

Soit donc mon sens illuminé
Par cette infime alerte d’or
Sans qui l’Amour meurt ou s’endort !

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3 – English Translation of the classical French poem – “L’Abeille” de Paul Valéry

Here is my own translation of the French poem. I went for a literal translation so you could understand the vocabulary.

Whatever, and so fine, and so deadly,
is your sting, blond bee
I have on my tender basket,
Only thrown a dream lace.

So prick with your breast this gorgeous gourd
On which love dies or sleeps,
So that a little bit of my scarlet self,
will come to the round and rebellious flesh!

I am in deep need of a prompt torment
A bright and well defined pain
Is better than a everlasting punishment!

So my sense be illuminated
By this tiny gold alert
Without which love dies or falls asleep!

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