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Friday, April 15, 2011

La Bohème - Charles Aznavour

La Bohème
thanks to
Je vous parle d'un temps
Que les moins de vingt ans ne peuvent pas connaitre
Montmartre en ce temps-la accrochait ses lilas
Jusque sous nos fenetres et si l'humble garni
Qui nous servait de nid ne payait pas de mine
C'est la qu'on s'est connu
Moi qui criait famine et toi qui posais nue

La boheme, la boheme. Ca voulait dire on est heureux
La boheme, la boheme. Nous ne mangions qu'un jour sur deux

Dans les cafes voisins
Nous etions quelques-uns
Qui attendions la gloire et bien que misereux
Avec le ventre creux
Nous ne cessions d'y croire et quand quelque bistro
Contre un bon repas chaud
Nous prenait une toile, nous recitions des vers
Groupes autour du poele en oubliant l'hiver

La boheme, la boheme. Ca voulait dire tu es jolie
La boheme, la boheme et nous avions tous du genie

Souvent il m'arrivait
Devant mon chevalet
De passer des nuits blanches
Retouchant le dessin
De la ligne d'un sein
Du galbe d'une hanche et ce n'est qu'au matin
Qu'on s'asseyait enfin
Devant un cafe-creme
Epuises mais ravis
Fallait-il que l'on s'aime et qu'on aime la vie

La boheme, la boheme. Ca voulait dire on a vingt ans
La boheme, la boheme et nous vivions de l'air du temps

Quand au hasard des jours
Je m'en vais faire un tour
A mon ancienne adresse
Je ne reconnais plus
Ni les murs, ni les rues
Qui ont vu ma jeunesse
En haut d'un escalier
Je cherche l'atelier
Dont plus rien ne subsiste
Dans son nouveau decor
Montmartre semble triste et les lilas sont morts

La boheme, la boheme. On etait jeunes, on etait fous
La boheme, la boheme. Ca ne veut plus rien dire du tou

thanks to:
I tell you about a time
That teenagers (lit.: those less than 20 years old) cannot know about
At that time, Montmartre hung its lilacs (pale blue or white, early-blooming flowers)
right up to our windows, and even if our humble furnished room
That served us as a (love-)nest didn't look like much
It was there that we knew each other
Me, crying hunger, and you, posing in the nude

La boheme, la boheme. That meant "one is happy"
La boeme, la boheme. We only ate once every two days.

In the neighbouring cafes
We were people
that waited for glory (fame) and although miserable
with empty stomacs (lit.: hollow bellies)
we never stopped believing [in it] and when some pub (of course, 'bistro' is a typically french cafe)
in exchange for a warm meal
accepted a painting (lit.: a canvas), we recited verses
gathered around the stove, forgetting about winter.

La boheme, la boheme. That meant "you are pretty"
La boheme, la boheme, and all of us were geniuses (lit.: 'had genius')

Often [it happened to me that],
before my easel, (i.e. the stand upon which a painter puts the canvas he is working on)
I spent sleepless nights
touching up (=making minor corrections to) the drawing
of the line of a breast
of the figure of a hip, and only at morning
one sat down at last
before a cafe-creme (coffee with much hot milk)
exhausted, but exhillarated
It must have been so that we loved each other, and that we loved life
(a rather stiff translation of a fluent French sentence, but I don't know how to put it otherwise)

La boheme, la boheme. That meant "one was twenty years old"
La boheme, la boheme and we lived from the 'spirit of the age'
(That's literally what 'air du temps' means, but I'm sure that's not the right way to put it in English. In French it has the connotation of living from air and nothing else, especially nothing material while at the same time referring to the typical feeling in society at that particular time)

When, some days in a whim
I go out and take a walk
to my old address
I no longer recognise
nor the walls, nor the streets
that witnessed (lit.: saw) my youth
At the top of a stairway
I search for the workshop
of which nothing remains
In its new decor
Montmartre looks sad, and the lilacs have died.

La boheme, la boheme. We were young, we were crazy
La boheme, la boheme. It doesn't mean anything at all anymore.

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