French Poem Reading “Poème Sur Une Morte” – Alfred de Musset

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Enunciated and natural readings of “Poème Sur Une Morte” d’Alfred de Musset. Clear French audio recordings + English translation

This poem was written for the extraordinary princess Cristina di Belgiojoso, who was a striking, dark-eyed and dark-haired, pale-skinned beauty Musset met at one of the Paris salon.

Musset threw his heart at her feet, but was received as a friend, and rejected as a lover.

In anger, he wrote this poem.

French Poem “Poème Sur Une Morte” by Alfred de Musset – Audio

Please press play to hear my readings of French Poem “Poème Sur Une Morte” by Alfred de Musset.

1- “Poème Sur Une Morte” d’Alfred de Musset

Elle était belle, si la Nuit
Qui dort dans la sombre chapelle
Où Michel-Ange a fait son lit,
Immobile peut être belle.

Elle était bonne, s’il suffit
Qu’en passant la main s’ouvre et donne,
Sans que Dieu n’ait rien vu, rien dit,
Si l’or sans pitié fait l’aumône.

Elle pensait, si le vain bruit
D’une voix douce et cadencée,
Comme le ruisseau qui gémit
Peut faire croire à la pensée.

Elle priait, si deux beaux yeux,
Tantôt s’attachant à la terre,
Tantôt se levant vers les cieux,
Peuvent s’appeler la Prière.

Elle aurait souri, si la fleur
Qui ne s’est point épanouie
Pouvait s’ouvrir à la fraîcheur
Du vent qui passe et qui l’oublie.

Elle aurait pleuré si sa main,
Sur son coeur froidement posée,
Eût jamais, dans l’argile humain,
Senti la céleste rosée.

Elle aurait aimé, si l’orgueil
Pareil à la lampe inutile
Qu’on allume près d’un cercueil,
N’eût veillé sur son coeur stérile.

Elle est morte, et n’a point vécu.
Elle faisait semblant de vivre.
De ses mains est tombé le livre
Dans lequel elle n’a rien lu

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2 – English Translation of “Poème Sur Une Morte” d’Alfred de Musset

She was beautiful, if the Night
Who sleeps in the sombre chapel
Where Michelangelo made her bed,
Motionless, can be beautiful.

She was good, if it’s enough
That in passing the hand opens and gives,
Without God having seen anything, said anything,
If gold without pity makes charity

She thought, if the idle noise
Of a sweet and cadenced voice
Like the brook that burbles
Can make you believe in thought.

She prayed, if two beautiful eyes,
Now fixing on the ground,
Now lifting towards the heavens,
Can be called Prayer.

She would have smiled, if the flower
That hasn’t bloomed at all
Could open itself to the freshness
Of the wind that passes and forgets it.

She would have wept if her hand,
Placed coldly on her heart,
Had ever, in human clay,
Felt the heavenly dew.

She would have loved, if pride
Like the useless lamp
That we light near a coffin,
Had not kept vigil over her sterile heart.

She is dead, and hasn’t lived at all.
She pretended she was living.
From her hands has fallen the book
In which she has read nothing.

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 23+ years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Most of my audiobooks are recorded at several speeds to help you conquer the modern French language. Good luck with your studies and remember, repetition is the key!

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