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"Sombre foret" Lyrics and Text Translation

Mathilde's Aria from Rossini's Opera, Guillaume Tell


Sung in the second act of Rossini's Opera, Guillaume Tell, Mathilde believes she has seen her lover, Arnold, following her as she and a hunting party make their way through a clearing within the forest. Mathilde stays behind as the hunting party leaves, hoping that she will reunite with him. Knowing their love is looked down upon, it would be best for them to meet in secret in the hills after the shepherds have returned to their homes for the evening.

French Lyrics
Ils s'éloignent enfin; j'ai cru le reconnaître:
Mon c¦ur n'a point trompé mes yeux;
Il a suivi mes pas, il est près de ces lieux.
Je tremble!.. s'il allait paraître!
Quel est ce sentiment profond, mystérieux
Dont je nourris l'ardeur, que je chéris peut-être?
Arnold! Arnold! est-ce bien toi,
Simple habitant de ces campagnes,
L'espoir, l'orgueil de tes montagnes,
Qui charme ma pensée et cause mon effroi?
Ah! que je puisse au moins l'avouer moi-même!
Melcthal, c'est toi que j'aime;
Sans toi j'aurais perdu le jour;
Et ma reconnaissance excuse mon amour.
Sombre forêt, désert triste et sauvage,
Je vous préfère aux splendeurs des palais:
C'est sur les monts, au séjour de l'orage,
Que mon c¦ur peut renaître à la paix;
Mais l'écho seulement apprendra mes secrets.
Toi, du berger astre doux et timide,
Qui, sur mes pas, viens semant tes reflets,
Ah! sois aussi mon étoile et mon guide!
Comme Arnold tes rayons sont discrets,
Et l'écho seulement redira mes secrets.

English Translation
Finally, they move away, I thought I saw my love
My heart has deceived me;
He followed my steps, it is close to these places.
I tremble!... it would seem!
What is this feeling deep, mysterious,
the ardor that I cherish perhaps?
Arnold! Arnold! Is it you,
Single inhabitant of these campaigns,
My hope, the pride of the mountains,
My thoughts and charm that causes my fear?
Ah! I can at least admit to myself!
Melcthal, it's you I love;
Without you I would have lost the day
Excuse my gratitude and love.
Dark forest, desert, wild, and sad,
I prefer the splendor of the palace
It is on the mountains, where the storms stay,
where my heart can revel in peace
and only the echo can learn my secrets.
You, the gentle and timid shepherd moon,
While on my feet, spreading your reflections,
Ah! also be my star and my guide!
Arnold, the moon's rays are discrete,
And only the echo will repeat my secrets.

More Aria Translations
Ave Maria Text and English Translation
Habanera Text and Translation
"La donna e mobile" Text and Translation

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