FR: Ô douce lumière amoureuse qui te perds au ciel

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by BrightonNative, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Bonjour,
    The French grammar of "qui te perds" is a bit baffling here is it not? I don't quite understand what the sentence is trying to say. Is it a mistake or an unusual construction in French? What are people's thoughts?

    Context: "Ô douce lumière amoureuse qui te perds au ciel peu à peu
    Laissant sur toute chose une auréole de feu
    Sereine, tu te poses doucement, toute rouge, sur mon front..."
     
  2. lamy08 Senior Member

    Il faut comprendre la phrase comme ceci: Ô douce lumière, toi qui te perds dans le ciel peu à peu ..."
    L'auteur s'adresse à la lumière et lui parle à la 2ème personne du singulier.
     
  3. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Neither a mistake nor particularly unusual, it's just the poet speaking directly in the 2nd person to the lumière amoureuse.

    "O soft light who lose yourself in the sky..."

    Your confusion comes from the fact that such a form of address is awkward in English, and we would tend to add the subject pronoun back in ("O soft light, you who lose yourself...") or mistakenly switch to the third person ("O soft light who loses yourself..."). I've kept the "lose yourself" instead of switching to something like "fade" solely for the purpose of illustrating the grammar.

    For comparison, this is the same form of address as the more familiar "Our Father who art in Heaven...". Although we may tend to think of the old-fashioned sounding Biblical line as meaning "Our Father who is in Heaven" in the 3rd person, this is not the case, grammatically speaking. The subject of "art" is "thou" -- thou art, you are, 2nd person. So in modern English, where we don't use "thou," that would be, "Our Father who are in Heaven..."
     
  4. Ah, oui, je comprends, Lamy. Merci. Alors, c'est plutôt : O, gentle, loving light, you (or you who gradually fades) gradually fade from the sky

    Yes, hello, Jann. Your post crossed with my reply to Lamy! Thank you very much for your detailed explanation. I understand better now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013

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