Guillaume Apollinaire

(from Alcools, 1913)
first published, Feb. 1912

Apollinaire reading the poem (1:14): MP3
& settings by Léo Ferré, Serge Reggiani, Marc Lavoine

Le pont Mirabeau

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
           Et nos amours
     Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine

           Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
           Les jours s'en vont je demeure

Les mains dans les mains restons face à face
           Tandis que sous
     Le pont de nos bras passe
Des éternels regards l'onde si lasse

           Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
           Les jours s'en vont je demeure

L'amour s'en va comme cette eau courante
           L'amour s'en va
     Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l'Espérance est violente

           Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
           Les jours s'en vont je demeure

Passent les jours et passent les semaines
           Ni temps passé
     Ni les amours reviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine

           Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
           Les jours s'en vont je demeure


Mirabeau Bridge
Translated by Richard Wilbur

Under the Mirabeau Bridge there flows the Seine
          Must I recall
     Our loves recall how then
After each sorrow joy came back again

Let night come on bells end the day
The days go by me still I stay

Hands joined and face to face let's stay just so
          While underneath
     The bridge of our arms shall go
Weary of endless looks the river's flow

Let night come on bells end the day
The days go by me still I stay

All love goes by as water to the sea
          All love goes by
     How slow life seems to me
How violent the hope of love can be

Let night come on bells end the day
The days go by me still I stay

The days the weeks pass by beyond our ken
          Neither time past
     Nor love comes back again
Under the Mirabeau Bridge there flows the Seine

Let night come on bells end the day
The days go by me still I stay


THE MIRABEAU BRIDGE
tr.. Peter Dean

Under the Mirabeau Bridge runs the Seine
And our love
I must bring to mind once again
That joy always came after pain

Cometh the night chimeth the hour
The days go on I lack power

Hands joined face to face each of us abides
Whilst beneath
The bridge our arms form slides
The weary water of love forever's tides

Cometh the night chimeth the hour
The days go on I lack power

Love passes like this running stream
Love takes its leave
Life is a dream
And Hope a dangerous extreme

Cometh the night chimeth the hour
The days go on I lack power

On go the days and on go weeks again
Not time gone by
Nor love can one regain
Under the Mirabeau Bridge runs the Seine

Cometh the night chimeth the hour
The days go on I lack power


MIRABEAU BRIDGE
tr. James Kirkup
(tanka sequence with haiku refrain)

The Seine keeps flowing
under the Mirabeau Bridge -
and our loves also -
I need to remember that
joy always follows sorrow.

And when night's bell tolls
the days take their departure -
I alone remain

Holding hand in hand,
let us sit face to face while
underneath the bridge
of our arms pass eternal
gazings on such weary waves.

And when nights bell tolls
the days take their departuure -
I alone remain

Love is flowing fast
away, just as these flowing
waters flow away
slow as life itself flows by -
how violent Hope becomes.

And when the night's bell tolls
the days take their departure -
I alone remain

The days passing by,
the weeks passing by - and yet
neither our past time
nor our loves return - under
Mirabeau Bridee flows the Seine -

And when night s bell tolls
the days take their departure -
I alone remain


THE MIRABEAU BRIDGE
Guillaume Apollinaire trans. A. S. Kline

Under the Mirabeau flows the Seine
And our amours
Shall I remember it again
Joy always followed after Pain

Comes the night sounds the hour
The days go by I endure

Hand in hand rest face to face
While underneath
The bridge of our arms there races
So weary a wave of eternal gazes

Comes the night sounds the hour
The days go by I endure

Love vanishes like the water’s flow
Love vanishes
How life is slow
And how Hope lives blow by blow

Comes the night sounds the hour
The days go by I endure

Let the hour pass the day the same
Time past returns
Nor love again
Under the Mirabeau flows the Seine

Comes the night sounds the hour
The days go by I endur


THE PONT MIRABEAU
tr. Oliver Bernard

Under the Pont Mirabeau the Seine
Flows with our loves
Must I recall again?
Joy always used to follow after pain

Let the night come: strike the hour
The days go past while I stand here

Hands holding hands let us stay face to face
While under this
Bridge our arms make slow race
Long looks in a tired wave at a wave's pace

Let the night come: strike the hour
The days go past while I stand here

Love runs away like running water flows
Love flows away
But oh how slow life goes
How violent hope is nobody knows

Let the night come: strike the hour
The days go past while I stand here

The days pass and the weeks pass but in vain
Neither time past
Nor love comes back again
Under the Pont Mirabeau flows the Seine

Let the night come: strike the hour
The days go past but I stay here

 


 

Roger Shattuck. 1971


The Mirabeau Bridge
Tr. by Philip Nikolayev

Under the Mirabeau Bridge flows the Seine
Of our loves
And must I be reminded of them when
What joy we had forever came with pain

The hours chime as night follows day
Days go by while I stay

We’ll wait hands in hands face facing face 
As under the
Bridge of our arms the empty space lets pass 
A wave weary of our eternal gaze

The hours chime as night follows day
Days go by while I stay

Love slips away like this water’s flow
It must go
Because life is too slow
And hope is violence and vertigo

The hours chime as night follows day
Days go by while I stay

Days drag on and weeks drag on
Neither can 
Time past return nor loves gone 
Under the Mirabeau Bridge flows the Seine


Le pont Mirabeau
tr. Charles Bernstein

Under the Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine
           And our love
     Comes back to memory again
Where always joy came after pain

Comes night, the hours sound
Days go round in which to drown

Hand in hand, face to face
          While underneath
     The bridge of our embrace
Eternal gazes, weary waves

Comes night, the hours sound
Days go round in which to drown

Love goes away like the water flows
          Love goes away
     Like life is slow
And like Hopefulness is violent

Comes night, the hours sound
Days go round in which to drown

Pass the days, pass the nights
          Neither time past
     Nor love comes back
Under the Mirabeau bridge flows the Seine

Comes night, the hours sound
Days go round in which to drown


also read & hear the version of the poem by The Pogues: text & audio