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Bacchus

Andre Marie de Chenier 1762 (Constantinople) – 1794 (Paris)

Viens, ô divin Bacchus, ô jeune Thyonée,
O Dionyse, Évan, Iacchus et Lénée;
Viens, tel que tu parus aux déserts de Naxos
Quand tu vins rassurer la fille de Minos.
Le superbe éléphant, en proie à ta victoire,
Avait de ses débris formé ton char d'ivoire.
De pampres, de raisins mollement enchaîné,
Le tigre aux larges flancs de taches sillonné,
Et le lynx étoilé, la panthère sauvage,
Promenaient avec toi ta cour sur ce rivage.
L'or reluisait partout aux axes de tes chars.
Les Ménades couraient en longs cheveux épars
Et chantaient Évoé, Bacchus et Thyonée,
Et Dionyse, Évan, Iacchus et Lénée,
Et tout ce que pour toi la Grèce eut de beaux noms.
Et la voix des rochers répétait leurs chansons,
Et le rauque tambour, les sonores cymbales,
Les hautbois tortueux, et les doubles crotales
Qu'agitaient en dansant sur ton bruyant chemin
Le faune, le satyre et le jeune Sylvain,
Au hasard attroupés autour du vieux Silène,
Qui, sa coupe à la main, de la rive indienne,
Toujours ivre, toujours débile, chancelant,
Pas à pas cheminait sur son âne indolent.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Andre Marie de Chenier

André Marie Chénier was a French poet of Greek and Franco-Levantine origin, associated with the events of the French Revolution of which he was a victim. His sensual, emotive poetry marks him as one of the precursors of the Romantic movement. His career was brought to an abrupt end when he was guillotined for supposed "crimes against the state", just three days before the end of the Reign of Terror. Chénier's life has been the subject of Umberto Giordano's opera Andrea Chénier and other works of art. more…

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