Belle Qui Tiens Ma Vie - English Translation

This translation was done by David Samuel Barr, who writes:

"In July 1997 I did my own translation of it when I found that the Evans version was unsatisfactory.  I tried to be true to the original text, without any attempt to fit the English lyrics to the notes, although in some instances I had to adjust my text to the idiomatic intent rather than slavish literalism.  Extreme examples of this appear in [brackets] where a literal translation of the French words simply made no sense in English and I had to paraphrase (I'm sure others more fluent in French than I can resolve these issues, as well as improve on my efforts in general)."


Belle qui tiens ma vie
Captive dans tes yeux,
Qui m'as l'ame ravie
D'un souris gracieux,
Viens tot me secourir
Ou me faudra mourir.
Beautiful one who holds my life
Captive in your eyes,
Who has ravished my soul
With a gracious smile.
Come to my aid
Or I must die.
Pourquoi fuis tu, mignarde,
Si je suis pres de toi?
Quand tes yeux je regarde
Je me perds dedans moi,
Car tes perfection
Changent mes actions
Why do you flee, dainty one,
If I am near you?
When I behold your eyes
I am lost inside myself
Because your perfection
[so affects my behaviour].
Tes beautes et ta graces
Et tes divins propos
Ont echauffe la glace
Qui me gelait les os,
Et ont rempli mon coeur
D'une amoureuse ardeur.
Your beauty and your grace
And your divine ways
Have melted the ice
Which was freezing my bones
And have filled my heart
With a loving ardour.
Mon ame voulait etre
Libre de passion,
Mais l'amour s'est fait maitre
De mes affections
Et a mis sous sa loi
Et mon coeur et ma foi.
My soul wanted to be
Free of passion,
But love became master
Of my affections
And put under its law
My heart and my faith.
Approche donc ma belle,
Approche toi mon bien,
Ne me sois plus rebelle
Puisque mon coeur est tien,
Pour mon mal appaiser
Donne moi un baiser.
Come near, my lovely one,
Come near, my [dear one],
Do not resist me further
For my heart is yours,
To relieve my ills
Give me a kiss.
Je meurs, mon Angelette,
Je meurs en te baisant
Ta bouche tant doucette
Va mon bien ravissant
A ce coup mes esprits
Sont tous d'amour epris.
I die, my Little Angel,
I die when kissing
Your mouth so sweet.
My very lovely one,
With that touch my spirits
Are completely lifted in love.
Plutot on verra l'onde
Contremont reculer,
Et plutot l'oeil du monde
Cessera de bruler,
Que l'amour qui m'epoint
Decroisse d'un seul point.
Sooner will waves
Flow backwards
And sooner will the moon
Cease to shine
Before the love which conquered me
Wanes a single iota.


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