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"Que fais-tu, blanche tourterelle?" Lyrics and Text Translation

Stephano's Aria from Gounod's Opera, Romeo et Juliette


In the third act of Gounod's opera, Romeo et Juliette, Stephano, Romeo's page, sings a message to the Capulets that their beautiful white turtledove (Juliette) will one day flee to marry a pigeon (Romeo). This entices the Capulets out of their estate and into the streets where the boys can fight. Listen to the aria on YouTube.

French Lyrics
Depuis hier je cherche
en vain mon maître!
Est-il encore chez vous?
Mes seigneurs Capulet?
Voyons un peu si vos dignes valets
A ma voix ce matin
Oseront reparaître.
Que fais-tu blanche tourterelle,
Dans ce nid de vautours?
Quelque jour, déployant ton aile,
Tu suivras les amours!
Aux vautours, il faut la bataille,
Pour frapper d'estoc et de taille
Leurs becs sont aiguisés!
Laisse-là ces oiseaux de proie,
Tourterelle qui fais ta joie
Des amoureux baisers!
Garder bien la belle!
Qui vivra verra!
Votre tourtlerelle vous échappera,
Un ramier, loin du vert bocage,
Par l'amour attire,
A l'entour de ce nid sauvage
A, je crois, soupire!
Les vautours sont à la curee,
Leurs chansons, que fuit Cytheree,
Résonne a grand bruit!
Cependant en leur douce ivresse
Les amants content leurs tendresses
Aux astres de la nuit!
Gardez bien la belle!

English Lyrics
Since yesterday I try
in vain my master
Is he still with you?
My lords, Capulet?
Let's see if your worthy servants
To the sound of my voice this morning
Dare to reappear.
What do you do white dove
In this nest of vultures?
Some day, you will spread your wings,
You will follow love!
Vultures, they must battle
To hit, to cut, and thrust
Their sharp beaks!
Let these birds of prey be,
Live to your joy dove
Lovers kissing!
Keep well and beautiful!
Time will tell!
Your turtledove will escape you,
A pigeon, far from his green grove,
By love, is attracted
Round about this wild nest
A, I think, sigh!
Vultures are at the quarry,
Their songs, which fled Cytherea,
Sounds with a loud noise!
However, their sweet intoxication
Happy lovers in their loving tenderness tell
The stars of the night!
Keep well and beautiful!

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