Le p'tit bonheur (English translation)

English translationEnglish

The Small Happiness

It was a small happiness1
I had picked up
It was in tears
On the side of a road
When it saw me passing by
It started shouting:
"Sir, pick me up
Take me home with you
My brothers have forgotten me, I have fallen, I am sick
If you do not pluck me, I will die, what a ballad!
I won't take up much space, gentle and submissive, I promise you
Sir, I'm begging you, free me from this torture"
I took the small happiness
Put in under my rags
I said: "It must not die
Come into my house"
So the little happiness
Got better
At the edge of my heart
There was a song
My days, my nights, my sorrows, my mourning, my pain - they were all forgotten
My life as an unemployed man, I had no desire to start it all over again
When it rained outside, or when my friends caused me grief
I took my small happiness and told it: "It's you who are my queen"
My happiness blossomed
Buds appeared
It was heaven
You could see it on my face
And yet, on some beautiful morning
As I whistled this tune
My happiness left
Without shaking my hand
Even though I begged it, coaxed it, made a scene
Showed it the great hole it was making inside my heart
Still it left, its head held high, with neither joy nor hate
As if it couldn't see the sun from inside my home anymore
I thought I would die
Of sorrow and boredom
I had ceased laughing
It was always night
All I was left with was oblivion
All I was left with was contempt
At last I said to myself:
I still have life
Once more I picked up my stick, my mourning, my sorrows and my rags
And now I wander in sad countries
Now, when I see a fountain or a girl,
I either take the long way around or close my eyes
...I either take the long way around or close my eyes
  • 1. 'Son petit boneur' means 'what makes one happy', but this song is written as if the 'happiness' was a tangible object.
thanked 14 times
Submitted by crimson_anticscrimson_antics on Tue, 18/09/2012 - 02:46
Author's comments:

This song is a classic here in Quebec, and I hope I managed to do the original some justice.

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Le p'tit bonheur

Translations of "Le p'tit bonheur"
fulicaseniafulicasenia    Tue, 18/09/2012 - 03:03

"Il a fait des bourgeons" = "buds appeared" or "it put forth buds" I think

crimson_anticscrimson_antics    Tue, 18/09/2012 - 03:04

Thanks, I must admit I wasn't exactly sure how to translate this line Regular smile

fulicaseniafulicasenia    Tue, 18/09/2012 - 03:08

If "Chez vous amenez-moi" is the most usual, stereotypical way of saying this in French, then the usual phrase in English would be "take me home with you."

crimson_anticscrimson_antics    Tue, 18/09/2012 - 03:11

Actually the usual way to say it would be 'amenez-moi chez vous', but the author purposely changed the word order. I did replace 'bring' by 'take', though.

fulicaseniafulicasenia    Tue, 18/09/2012 - 03:12

could you ever say "ramassez-moi Chez vous?"

crimson_anticscrimson_antics    Tue, 18/09/2012 - 03:17

Well, since 'ramasser' means 'collect/pick up/take', it wouldn't really make sense. Unless the person was lying around in the speaker's home, I guess, but even that would sound pretty weird (to me, at least). On the other hand, here in Quebec 'ramassez-vous chez moi' would mean 'come and gather at my house'. Only works when spoken though; it wouldn't be very good written French.

OR, in a really slangy Quebec French...I suppose 'ramassez-moi chez vous' could be meant as 'come and pick me up at your house..

fulicaseniafulicasenia    Tue, 18/09/2012 - 03:18

Then I would just go with "take me home with you" unless you want the little happiness to be saying something a bit odd and mysterious, instead of normal and friendly.

crimson_anticscrimson_antics    Tue, 18/09/2012 - 03:20

Okay, I changed it to that. Then again...maybe it's a mysteriously friendly happiness? Haha.

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