Albert Préjean - Si l'on ne s'était pas connus (English translation)


Si l'on ne s'était pas connus

Ce n'est que le chant d'un marin qui, le soir,
Le fredonnait à son bord,
En quittant le port.
Ce n'est qu'un refrain qu'il chantait plein d'espoir
Souvenir des doux aveux
Murmurés à deux.
Refrain :
Si l'on ne s'était pas connu,
Jamais mon cœur, jamais mes lèvres,
Non jamais, n'auraient retenu
Le souvenir de nos heures de fièvre.
Je n'aurais pas, lorsque je pars,
Besoin de revoir ton regard,
Je n'aurais pas, quand je te vois,
Ce petit tremblement d'émoi.
L'amour ne serait pas venu
Si l'on ne s'était pas connus.
Quand le flot méchant fait craindre le danger,
Le marin riant du vent,
Seul chante à l'avant
Son cœur le lui dit, il ne peut naufrager
Il chante les jours défunts
Malgré les embruns.
Mais celle pour qui le marin chante ainsi
A bien d'autres matelots
Voguant sur les flots.
Qu'importe ! Chacun se croit seul et, ravi,
Trouvant l'exil bien moins long,
Chante au moussaillon
Submitted by marta90 on Fri, 29/09/2017 - 15:39
Last edited by Joutsenpoika on Fri, 29/09/2017 - 16:38
Align paragraphs
English translation

Had we not known each other

This is but the song of a sailor
who sung it on board in the evenings
as he left the port.
This is but a tune he sang full of hope,
memories of sweet confessions
whispered between him and her.
Had we not known each other,
never would my heart, nor my lips,
no, never would they have retained
the memories of these feverish moments.
I would not need, as I depart,
would not need to see your eyes again,
I would not feel, as I see you,
this slight quiver of emotion.
Love would not have come our way,
had we not known each other.
When the mean waves become threatening,
the sailor, ignoring the wind,
sings alone at the bow.
As his heart tells him, he can't possibly be shipwrecked.
He sings about bygone days,
despite the sea spray.
But the one for whom the sailor sings so
has many more seamen
sailing the sea.
No matter! Each one of them thinks he's the only one and,
overjoyed, finding exile a lot easier to bear,
sings to the ship's boy:
Do whatever you want with my translations. I'm not rich enough to sue you anyway.
Submitted by petit élève on Fri, 29/09/2017 - 21:22
Added in reply to request by marta90
Author's comments:

I tried to match the original style, which is, well, not especially light.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)
sydrhill    Mon, 02/10/2017 - 01:47

I think you did a beautiful job of translating this song's lyrics! You maintained the original poetry of the song and I can't see anything that I would change!

petit élève    Mon, 02/10/2017 - 08:43

Why Thanks! I was not fishing for compliments, really. The original style is rather old-fashioned, so I was not sure I could convey it properly.

sydrhill    Tue, 03/10/2017 - 00:31

My pleasure! And I know you weren't fishing Teeth smile It definitely does seem more poetic but I really do think you did it justice Regular smile