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DANSE MACABRE, Op. 40, by Camille Saint-Saens, English translation by Joel Sattler

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  • DANSE MACABRE, Op. 40, by Camille Saint-Saens, English translation by Joel Sattler




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    DANSE MACABRE, Op. 40, by Camille Saint-Saens, English translation by Joel Sattler

    Poetry

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    DANSE MACABRE, Op. 40, by Camille Saint-Saens, English translation by Joel Sattler


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      DANSE MACABRE, Op. 40, by Camille Saint-Saens, new words by Joel Sattler

      Based on [but not an exact translation of] the original poem by Henri Cazalis

      Ziggy zaggy zig, Mr. Death is dancing

      In a happy jig with a toothy grin

      Hopping on the graves, tapping on the tombs

      In the mid of night to a violin

      The wind blows cold, and the winter's nigh

      The trees are all groaning under the sky

      The music plays, the skeletons fly

      The ghosts in their coffins are glad they died

      Ziggy zaggy zig, all the bones will shake

      Clicky clicky clack such a horrid sound

      And two corpses kiss with forgotten lips

      Mockery of love - lying on the ground

      Ziggy ziggy Zag, Mr. Death is fiddling

      All the dead will jump to his violin

      Now the shrouds are ripped and the bones are naked

      Imitation of - memory of sin

      The lady she lies with the poor guttersnipes

      She'd never of touched them in her past life

      She gives all her lust, at least then she tries

      If she were still mortal she'd have no pride

      Ziggy zaggy zig, what a bacchanalia

      Look at all the damned, dancing in a ring

      Such an awful sight is beyond all horror

      Terrible the sound if they try to sing!

      But wait! The day's come round at last

      The cock's now crowing, the sky is so red

      Oh such awful night, what an awful fright - so

      Be glad that we die - all equally dead!

      ______________________________

      Original lyrics in French by Henri Cazalis:

      Zig et zig et zag, la mort crie cadence

      Frappant une tombe avec son talon,

      La mort à minuit joue un air de danse,

      Zig et zig et zag, sur son violon.

      Le vent d'hiver souffle, et la nuit est sombre,

      Des gémissements sortent des tilleuls ;

      Les squelettes blancs vont à travers l'ombre

      Courant et sautant sous leurs grands linceuls,

      Zig et zig et zag, chacun se trémousse,

      On entend claquer les os des danseurs,

      Un couple lascif s'assoit sur la mousse

      Comme pour goûter d'anciennes douceurs.

      Zig et zig et zag, la mort continue

      De racler sans fin son aigre instrument.

      Un voile est tombé ! La danseuse est nue !

      Son danseur la serre amoureusement.

      La dame est, dit-on, marquise ou baronne.

      Et le vert galant un pauvre charron - Horreur !

      Et voilà qu'elle s'abandonne

      Comme si le rustre était un baron !

      Zig et zig et zig, quelle sarabande!

      Quels cercles de morts se donnant la main !

      Zig et zig et zag, on voit dans la bande

      Le roi gambader auprès du vilain!

      Mais psit ! tout à coup on quitte la ronde,

      On se pousse, on fuit, le coq a chanté

      Oh ! La belle nuit pour le pauvre monde !

      Et vive la mort et l'égalité !

      My version is based on a recording by Jan Martinik:

      ==================================