l'un part, l'autre reste...

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Junior Member
Joined: 20.02.2011
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in "L'un part l'autre reste" that Charlotte Gainsbourg is singing... beautiful song about (lost) truelove. The lyrics almost made me cry... then the translation too now :).
I have several questions, for both english and french speakers.

1. "N'est-il péché que de jeunesse?"
So in french this would be equivalent to : "n'y a-t-il d'autre péché que le péché de jeunesse".
I think I could explain in english by something like: "is there any other sin than the youth's sin", so to be closer to the poetic formulation of the sentence I would say :
"Is there any sin other than youth's?".
Does it still make sense in english?

2. "N'est-il passé que rien ne laisse?"
I can feel the sentence, but had difficulties to reformulate this one. I think she means: "n'y a-t-il d'autre passé que celui qui ne laisse rien?"
What do you think?

3. If this is the case, the long way in english to say it should be: "Is there any other past than the one that leaves nothing". Could I then translate it by: "Is there any past other than the one that leaves nothing".
'the one that leaves nothing' sounds weird. Any better idea?

Thanks a lot!

Joined: 21.06.2010

hi !

you are very good in french, i can tell ! ... and very ambitious too !

so i feel like you deserve an answer :

1. this sentence means that ... oh maybe i'll try explain it in french ? : l'auteur de la phrase semble dire que l'on présume généralement que tous les péchés viennent de la jeunesse, de l'inexpérience et elle se demande maintenant si tous comptes faits cette supposition ne serait pas fausse ... you get the idea ? if not i'll try it in english

2. I'm french and even for me the meaning is really unclear ... but i think it's on purpose ...

Junior Member
Joined: 20.02.2011

Hi CaillouChou
In fact french is my native language Regular smile so there's no glory here Regular smile
Seems like french poetry is hard for french people too, none of my friends can tell more than you about this sentence, so this is interesting as a figure de style. Surely the art of translating makes you learn more also about your native language.
Merci beaucoup

Junior Member
Joined: 20.02.2011

Anyway I tried to keep the spirit so in the end it is:

N'est-il péché que de jeunesse?
N'est-il passé que rien ne laisse?

Is there any sin other than youth's?
Is there any past other than leaving nothing?

Full translation here: