Blessent mon coeur d’une langueur monotone.

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by søren aabye, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. søren aabye Member

    U.S. English
    This line from Verlaine is famous as the signal announcing the invasion of Normandy in 1944.

    "Blessent mon coeur d’une longueur monotone."

    Longueur is translated as "length," but in English "longueur" means a period of dullness or boredom, or a literary passage with the same quality. How would you translate longueur monotone in Verlane's context? Monotonous boredom? That's almost redundant, n'est-ce pas?
  2. hunternet

    hunternet Senior Member

    France - French
  3. søren aabye Member

    U.S. English
    Yes, of course, it's langueur. I started off wrong, using the English "longueur," and guess what? I got Google results with "longueur monotone." No wonder it made no sense. It was wrong!

    Thanks for the correction!
  4. Shang Qin Li

    Shang Qin Li Senior Member

    French Alps
    UK born Live in France English
    There is an official translation. But I can't find it on the net. I remember it was also translated in the movie "One Bridge too Far", but I can't remember the exact phrasing. It was something like:
    "Break my heart with a monotonous wailing"
    I wouldn't vouch for it, though, but it may be a start.
  5. Raoul_14740

    Raoul_14740 Banned

    Normandie - Français
    The long sobs of autumn's violins wound my heart with a monotonous languor.

    sobs : sanglots (sobbings).
  6. orlando09 Senior Member

    France, PACA
    English (England)
    :thumbsup: Sounds good. You might as well stick close the the French unless there's a good reason not to IMO (ie if the similar sounding English word has different connotations/a different register etc, which is not the case here)
  7. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    Many translations of Chanson d'automne are suggested there

    The first one:
  8. Shang Qin Li

    Shang Qin Li Senior Member

    French Alps
    UK born Live in France English
    Not bad. But acccording to the OD, "languor" means "fatigue" , "inertia", etc...
    In French: "langueur" means "melancholy"
    "break my heart (out of) (with) monotonous melancholy"
    (I wish I could lay my hands on the official translation....!)
  9. lastrana Senior Member

    France French
    une petite précision: ce n'est pas "blessent mon coeur" mais "bercent mon coeur", ce qui change un tantinet le sens...;)
  10. søren aabye Member

    U.S. English
    Verlaine a écrit 'blessent mon cœur.... ' Si on peut croire Wikipedia, le message 1944 qui est sorti était 'bercent mon cœur....'

    Il y a 654 sites français avec 'Verlaine "blessent mon cœur"' et 58 avec 'Verlaine "bercent mon cœur"'.

    'Blessant' est assez précis. :)
  11. Etana Senior Member

    Some translations found on the net :

    My heart is drowned
    In the slow sound
    Languorous and long
    Wound my heart,
    Languors start
    In monotone.
    wound my heart
    with a monotonous
  12. Raoul_14740

    Raoul_14740 Banned

    Normandie - Français
    Dans l'annonce du débarquement, c'était "bercent".
    Le message audio de la bbc:
    en deux parties:
    1. Les sanglots longs des violons de l'automne,
    2. Bercent mon coeur d'une langueur monotone.
  13. lastrana Senior Member

    France French
    Autant pour moi! :eek: D'après certains internautes "bercent mon coeur etc" serait une expression utilisée par Trenet dans une de ses chansons, inspirée par le poème de Verlaine.
  14. Shang Qin Li

    Shang Qin Li Senior Member

    French Alps
    UK born Live in France English
    Dear Lastrana, Etana and Raoul
    Now that we have the correct version, all we need do is....translate it !
    "the long wailings of the violins of/in Autumn .. ?
    "Lull my heart with a monotonous languor"
    What would you suggest ?
    (I know there is an official translation, but I can't find it)
    By the way, I gave you the wrong movie upstream; it is "the Longest Day" (not A Bridge too far)
  15. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    Il réutilise la formule dans La Mer:
    la mer
    A bercé mon coeur pour la vie:)
  16. eric_rommel New Member

    in english:
    injure my heart, with monotonous tiredness
  17. deniss New Member

    A translation may help towards an explaination of the meaning of the words, however the essential musical emotion the poem conveys, is lost.
  18. søren aabye Member

    U.S. English
    Excellent point. As long as we get the drift, le sens, it's best just to "let the music play".
  19. deniss New Member

    Glad you agree. We must take care not to paralyze the senses with over analysis. We can try to answer the simple question 'the man' has posed, "Quelle est cette langueur?". Perhaps the answer is different for everyone. As you say, listen to the music.
  20. søren aabye Member

    U.S. English
    Poetry necessarily loses something in translation. The translator needs to be a poet him/herself.

    I think what's causing the trouble is monotone. I don't think Verlaine was thinking of boredom. Actually, the English monotone fits, in the sense of a single musical note of the violins; but then, you have to reverse the meaning to "languorous monotone," and it's not so nice poetically. "Wailing," as cited above, is a good word -- shorter and more poetic and appropriate to the sense.

    Now, here I am, doing what you cautioned against! But I think I "ruined the music" when I first asked the question. Nevertheless, this has been an enjoyable thread. :)

    Another interesting question, though off-topic, is, what inspired the use of this lovely verse for D-Day. We may never know. It seems that whoever chose the most important communication in World War II is lost to history.
  21. Commonsens New Member

    Bonjour a tous.

    Actually, i've seen and read Verlain's original manuscript and it is : BERCE MON COEUR D'UNE LANGUEURE MONOTONE.

    It is so because of the effect of both music and fond memories, which Verlain's tried to say is that regrets and langering memories give him some form of comfort in dire times, like a mother who rock (berce) her child to comfort him; the autumns represent a particular sad or grey moment or event and the violins simply represent the events with a specific nostalgic overtone.

    Basically, is that when depressed or in times of sorrow, people sometimes "live" in the past remembering moments and events and linger for those.

    The joke is that Verlain himself have changed the orientation of two lines and modified Berce by Blessent; changing the meaning of the phrase, basically saying now that memories of events cause a lasting scar to the heart.

    So the ones who use "blessent" are only using the modified version.

    In case some of you can't go to France directly, i believe that France's National archive is accessible online, as most of all that is considered historical or of national value have been digitized for posterity, which include Verlain.

    Bonne journee!
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
  22. søren aabye Member

    U.S. English
    Maybe he was just being petulant towards Rimbaud. ;)
  23. orlando09 Senior Member

    France, PACA
    English (England)
    Why would he put an "e" on langueur and use "berce" instead of "bercent"?

    Anyway, here's another suggestion for a translation -- maybe we could swap the noun and adjective in languer monotone: soothe (or lull) my heart with their languid monotone
  24. søren aabye Member

    U.S. English
    Another thought: I was recently talking to a college professor, who told me one of his grad students did a paper on "The History of Boredom," focusing on nineteenth-century France. So maybe it helps to understand Verlaine's "langueur monotone" as literary fashion -- boredom as æsthetic.

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