Paroles 5 EN – Jacques Brel with ‘Ne me quitte pas’

Oh dear, poor old Jacques. A genius, passed away far too young, who wrote and performed his chansons struggling with life, drink and being Belgian. In the video accompanying this podcast he performs the deeply tragic chanson ‘Ne me quitte pas’ in his typical intense way, while the camera ruthlessly captures his desperation, moving in ever closer to his perspiring skin. Anyway, we’re here to honour Jacques Brel, of course, but also to discuss his song and to extract a few words and phrases in the hope that we’ll remember them better because Brel sang them to us.

Before listening to the podcast at the top of this post (it can take 10 – 20 seconds to load), please play the video below and read the written-out texts, which I have put underneath in French and English. I made the translation for direct accuracy rather than poetic effect. Play the clip a few times and listen carefully to Brel’s pronunciation of the individual words!  In the podcast, I will comment on the text and discuss specific words and turns of phrases in more detail. Hopefully this will help you remember them better and pick them out more easily in spoken French. Enjoy!

Ne me quitte pas
Il faut oublier
Tout peut s’oublier
Qui s’enfuit déjà
Oublier le temps
Des malentendus
Et le temps perdu
À savoir comment
Oublier ces heures
Qui tuaient parfois
À coups de pourquoi
Le coeur du bonheur
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Don’t leave me
We have to forget
Everything can be forgotten
That is already fleeting
Forget the time
Of the misunderstandings
And the time lost
To know how
Forget those hours
That sometimes killed
With hits of why
The heart of happiness
Don’t leave me
Don’t leave me
Don’t leave me
Don’t leave me
Moi, je t’offrirai
Des perles de pluie
Venues de pays
Où il ne pleut pas
Je creuserai la terre
Jusqu’après ma mort
Pour couvrir ton corps
D’or et de lumière
Je ferai un domaine
Où l’amour sera roi
Où l’amour sera loi
Où tu seras reine
Ne me quitte pas
Me, I will offer you
Pearls of rain
Come from a country
Where it doesn’t rain
I will dig the earth
Until after my death
To cover your body
With gold and light
I’ll create a country
Where love will be king
Where love will be law
Where you will be queen
Don’t leave me
Ne me quitte pas
Je t’inventerai
Des mots insensés
Que tu comprendras
Je te parlerai
De ces amants-là
Qui ont vu deux fois
Leurs cœurs s’embraser
Je te raconterai
L’histoire de ce roi
Mort de n’avoir pas
Pu te rencontrer
Ne me quitte pas
Don’t leave me
I’ll invent for you
Nonsense words
That you will understand
I’ll will speak to you
About those lovers
Who have seen two times
Their hearts start burning
I’ll tell you
The story of that king
Dead from not having been
Able to encounter you
Don’t leave me
On a vu souvent
Rejaillir le feu
D’un ancien volcan
Qu’on croyait trop vieux
Il est parait-il
Des terres brûlées
Donnant plus de blé
Qu’un meilleur avril
Et quand vient le soir
Pour qu’un ciel flamboie
Le rouge et le noir
Ne s’épousent-ils pas
Ne me quitte pas
We’ve often seen
The fire jump up
from an ancient volcano
That we thought was too old
There are so it seems
fields that have burnt
Giving more wheat
Than a very best April
And when the evening comes
If a sky burst in flames
Red and black
Don’t they join in marriage
Don’t leave me
Je n’vais plus pleurer
Je n’vais plus parler
Je me cacherai là
À te regarder
Danser et sourire
Et à t’écouter
Chanter et puis rire
Laisse-moi devenir
L’ombre de ton ombre
L’ombre de ta main
L’ombre de ton chien
Ne me quitte pas
I will not cry anymore
I will not talk anymore
I’ll hide here
To watch you
Dancing and smiling
And to listen to you
Singing and then laughing
Let me become
The shadow of your shadow
The shadow of your hand
The shadow of your dog
Don’t leave me

Lyrics ‘Ne me quitte pas’ by Jacques Brel with translation and comments.pdf





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