L'orage

The thunderstorm

Georges Brassens (1960)

1. Parlez-moi de la pluie et non pas du beau temps, Le beau temps me dégoûte et me fait grincer les dents, Le bel azur me met en rage, Car le plus grand amour qui me fut donné sur terre Je le dois au mauvais temps, je le dois à Jupiter, (1) Il me tomba d'un ciel d'orage. 2. Par un soir de novembre, à cheval sur les toits, Un vrai tonnerre de Brest (2), avec des cris d' putois, (3) Allumait ses feux d'artifice. Bondissant de sa couche en costume de nuit, Ma voisine affolée vint cogner à mon huis (4) En réclamant mes bons offices. 3. «Je suis seule et j'ai peur, ouvrez-moi, par pitié, Mon époux vient de partir faire son dur métier, Pauvre malheureux mercenaire (5), Contraint de coucher dehors quand il fait mauvais temps, Pour la bonne raison qu'il est représentant D'une maison de paratonnerres.» 4. En bénissant le nom de Benjamin Franklin, (6) Je l'ai mise en lieu sûr entre mes bras câlins, (7) Et puis l'amour a fait le reste! Toi qui sèmes des paratonnerres à foison, Que n'en as-tu planté sur ta propre maison? Erreur on ne peut plus funeste... 5. Quand Jupiter alla se faire entendre ailleurs, La belle, ayant enfin conjuré sa frayeur Et recouvré tout son courage, Rentra dans ses foyers faire sécher son mari En me donnant rendez-vous les jours d'intempérie, Rendez-vous au prochain orage. 6. À partir de ce jour je n'ai plus baissé les yeux, J'ai consacré mon temps à contempler les cieux, À regarder passer les nues, À guetter les stratus, à lorgner les nimbus, À faire les yeux doux au moindre cumulus, Mais elle n'est pas revenue. 7. Son bonhomme de mari avait tant fait d'affaires, Tant vendu ce soir-là de petits bouts de fer, Qu'il était devenu millionnaire Et l'avait emmenée vers les cieux toujours bleus, Des pays imbéciles où jamais il ne pleut, Où l'on ne sait rien du tonnerre. 8. Dieu fasse que ma complainte aille, tambour battant, (8) Lui parler de la pluie, lui parler du gros temps Auxquels on a tenu tête ensemble, Lui conter qu'un certain coup de foudre assassin Dans le mille de mon coeur a laissé le dessin (9) D'une petite fleur qui lui ressemble... (10)

1. Talk to me of the rain! Not of blue sky or sun Weather that's turning fine causes me commotion. By azure skies I feel wild driven, For the greatest love which ever was granted me To bad weather I owe, to Jupiter's trustee, Down from a stormy sky 'twas fallen. 2. A november evening, straddling rooftops around, A dreadful thunderstorm with howls of hunting hounds Set off all its firework devices. Leaping up from her bed, just in her night attire The lady next door banged on my door crying "fire!" And craving for my good offices. 3. “I’m alone, frightened, please, open for pity’s sake, For my husband's just left on the hard job he makes His money with, poor menial worker! Having to sleep outdoors when the weather is bad For the good reason that he works as a sales ad- vertiser of lightning conductors. 4. Blessing Benjamin Franklin's great name readily I put her in a safe place: my arms so cuddly... Love never makes one feel forsaken! You who scatter a lot of conductors around Why did you not stick one of them on your own home? Oh you were fatally mistaken…. 5. When Jupiter made himself heard elsewhere than here, The pretty woman who was released from her fear And with all her courage regained, To get her husband dried went back to her own home, Fixing me a date for all bad weather to come As soon as it was ascertained. 6. From that day on, I never more let my eyes drop I devoted my time to observing on top Of the skies the clouds that were drifting, Gazing at the stratus, peering at the nimbus Casting fond eyes on the least bit of cumulus, But never did see her returning. 7. So much business her husband had secured that night And sold so many wee iron parts far and wide That he had got in many millions And taken her away to skies always serene Stupid countries where never falls a drop of rain And on storms they have no opinion. 8. May God grant that my lament goes forth loud and clear To speak to her of foul weather and rain to fear That we might face up to together, To tell her that a certain deadly thunder dart Hit its target and left the trace deep in my heart Of a small flower that is like her… Transl. Christian Souchon (c) 2017

NOTES
1. Jupiter- The ancient God, Jupiter is often depicted holding thunderbolts in his hands.

2. "Tonnerre de Brest" – this is in fact a nautical expletive e.g.-“Shiver my timbers”. It is not an expletive here of course, but conveys an alarming clap of thunder.

3. Putois – un putois is a pole cat. « Crier comme un putois” means to emit deafening shrieks.

4. Mon huis – « huis » is an old word for door and survives in the expression à huis clos = in camera / behind closed doors. The word huissier is still used meaning official doorman.

5. Mercenaire means mercenary. Un ouvrier mercenaire is a contract worker. I think the main idea here is of earning a living.

6. Benjamin Franklin- physicist (1706 – 1790) invented the lightning conductor.

7. Câlin means affectionate also cuddly. Faire un câlin à qu’n means to give somebody a cuddle.
8. Tambour battant – means briskly- (Collins-Robert). In France a drum was used to draw public attention just as the town crier’s bell was in Britain.

9. Laissé le dessin. Thunderbolts, we are told, can leave behind a plant-like imprint on the skin.

10. The final line of the song is reminiscent of the final verse of "Une Jolie Fleur" where he says that the girl’s betrayal had left him with a heart incapable of love for any other woman. As a result, some commentators add l’Orage to the list of songs about his teenage mistress Jo. However the biography of the lady in this song seems completely different.

11. Like for most of the Brassens songs at this site, these notes are borrowed from David Yendley's blog (http://dbarf.blogspot.fr/2012/05/alphabetical-list-of-my-brassens-songs.html).
This singable translation is based on his prose translation.

11. Comme pour la plupart des chansons de Brassens sur ce site, ces notes sont tirées du blog de David Yendley (http://dbarf.blogspot.fr/2011/01/).
La traduction chantable anglaise est basée sur sa traduction en prose.



"L'orage" chanté par Georges Brassens

Maman, papa Index Le bistrot