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My translation of the elusive Ne Me Quitte Pas - Moodspring

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January 1st, 2007


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10:44 pm - My translation of the elusive Ne Me Quitte Pas
... is all about maintaining the same style of language, rawness of feeling and musical timing as the original while at the same time being as true as possible to the words and images he used, instead of a Hallmark card version of it. So here is the original and below it is my translation... You will find that if you tried to sing my translation in the same way that Brel sang his song, it will work. You can evoke his pauses and intonations, his syllable stressings and moments of emphasis with my words and it will work because that is what I was going for.

Ne Me Quitte Pas
-Jacques Brel

Ne me quitte pas
Il faut oublier
Tout peut s'oublier
Qui s'enfuit déjà
Oublier le temps
Des malentendus
Et le temps perdu
A savoir comment
Oublier ces heures
Qui tuaient parfois
A coups de pourquoi
Le coeur du bonheur
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Moi je t'offrirai
Des perles de pluie
Venues de pays
Où il ne pleut pas
Je creuserai la terre
Jusqu'après ma mort
Pour couvrir ton corps
D'or et de lumière
Je ferai un domaine
Où l'amour sera roi
Où l'amour sera loi
Où tu seras reine
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas
Je t'inventerai
Des mots insensés
Que tu comprendras
Je te parlerai
De ces amants là
Qui ont vu deux fois
Leurs coeurs s'embraser
Je te racont'rai
L'histoire de ce roi
Mort de n'avoir pas
Pu te rencontrer
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

On a vu souvent
Rejaillir le feu
De l'ancien volcan
Qu'on croyait trop vieux
Il est paraît-il
Des terres brûlées
Donnant plus de blé
Qu'un meilleur avril
Et quand vient le soir
Pour qu'un ciel flamboie
Le rouge et le noir
Ne s'épousent-ils pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Ne me quitte pas
Je ne vais plus pleurer
Je ne vais plus parler
Je me cacherai là
À te regarder
Danser et sourire
Et à t'écouter
Chanter et puis rire
Laisse-moi devenir
L'ombre de ton ombre
L'ombre de ta main
L'ombre de ton chien
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas


Don't Leave Me Now
-Jacques Brel

Don't leave me now
We must forget
All can be forgotten
It escapes already
Forget the time
The misunderstandings
And the moments lost
We must know how
Forget those hours
Which killed at times
With each thrust of why
The heart of happiness
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now

Me, I'll offer you
Pearls of rain
That come from a place
Where rain never falls
I would mine the earth
'Til after my death
To cover your body
With light and with gold
I'll make a kingdom
Where love shall be king
Where love shall be law
Where you shall be queen
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now

Don't leave me now
I'll invent for you
Such nonsense words
That you'll understand
I'll speak to you
Of those lovers there
Who have seen two times
their hearts all ablaze
I'll recount for you
The story of that king
Dead for not having
the chance to meet you
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now

We have often seen
Fire gush out
From an ancient volcano
We thought was too old
There are, it seems
Some scorched fields
That yield more wheat
Than the best of April
And when evening comes
So that the sky is ablaze
The black and the red
Do they not wed
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now

Don't leave me now
I'll no longer cry
I'll no longer speak
I'll hide right there
Just to look at you
Watch you dance and smile
And listen to you
As you sing and laugh
Let me become
The shadow of your shadow
The shadow of your hand
The shadow of your hound
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:bosantibe
Date:January 3rd, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
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Tres belle, mais difficile pour moi. Merci.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 26th, 2007 10:05 am (UTC)

Thank You for site

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Thank you for your site. I have found here much useful information.
Good site ! ;)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 15th, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
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very beautiful lyrics!!!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 14th, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)

Really great! Thanks!!!

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Thank you
From:bogdanfr
Date:February 22nd, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
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Diane,
I've created this account only to tell you thank you. Friend of mine (non french speeking) asked me for translation of "ne me quitte pas" lyrics, being little lazy (going easy way), I've tried internet and found your translation. It was like hearing Brel (but in english). Thank you - My regards, Bogdan
[User Picture]
From:tracingwind
Date:February 25th, 2010 04:23 am (UTC)
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Thank you. It means a lot to me that you, as a francais langue maternel speaker feel that my translation is true to Brel's voice. That was my first priority in translating his song. Your words of gratitude are a welcome encouragement. I enjoy translating beautiful writing and even more so if it helpful for other people.

Thanking for making the effort to share your appreciation. All the best to you, tracingwind.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 11th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
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One of the best translations of this song that I have read. BRAVO!
[User Picture]
From:Loni Kate English
Date:January 5th, 2011 02:33 am (UTC)
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I have read many English translations of this song... this is without a doubt the most beautiful. Thank you.
From:titooney
Date:June 7th, 2012 08:29 pm (UTC)
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I came to this site because I was searching for a translation of ne me quitte pas for some non french speaking friends. I have already read quite a few and this is by far the best I have found. Almost everytime i listen to this song or even simply read the lyrics, I can feel my heart beat a little stronger and my throat get tightened. And while reading at your interpretation of the lyrics I felt the same. I could feel the strenght of the text, really. And though, it is also one of the closest concerning the original meaning of words. Of course, as a fan of Brel, there are still few things I feel just a bit differently but, really, nice work. Thanks a lot. And, if you have or plan to translate other songs of Brel, I'll be happy to read them.
[User Picture]
From:fare
Date:October 25th, 2014 07:04 pm (UTC)

My attempt

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