"Fantaisie aux divins mensonges" Lyrics and Translation

Gérald's Aria from the First Act of Delibes' Opera, Lakmé

French composer, Clement Leo Delibes (1836-1891). He wrote light operas of which 'Lakme' had the greatest success but is chiefly remembered for the ballet 'Coppelia' (1870) which has remained a prime favourite. Original artwork by Henri Meyer after Eaulle.
French composer, Clement Leo Delibes (1836-1891). He wrote light operas of which 'Lakme' had the greatest success but is chiefly remembered for the ballet 'Coppelia' (1870) which has remained a prime favourite. Original artwork by Henri Meyer after Eaulle. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In the first act of Leo Delibes' famous opera, Lakme, two British officers, Gérald and Frederic, and their fiancés are picnicking near the riverbank in a city in India.  As they lazily stroll down a garden path, the two women spot several elegant pieces of jewelry placed on a nearby bench.  The women beg their fiancés to draw a picture of jewels in order to have them replicated when they return home to England.

 Gérald agrees to complete the task, since Frederic offers absolutely no help, and the others continue on their walk.  As Gérald carefully studies each piece and makes his sketches within his notebook, he sings this aria, wondering what type of woman could wear such jewelry.

We hears the jewels' owners approaching, he panics and hides in the nearby shrubbery.  When the two women, Lakmé and her servant Mallika, appear, Gérald is instantly captivated by Lakmé's beauty.  When Mallika leaves, Lakmé stays behind to ponder.  After a few moments, she realizes she is being watched strange man and immediately shouts for help.  When Gérald presents himself to her and apologizes for frightening her, she, too, is captivated by his beauty.  When she learns that he is a British officer, she tries to send him away because if he is caught, her father (the High Priest of the Brahmin Temple) will likely kill him.

 Gérald is unaware that he has trespassed onto sacred grounds.  Before help arrives, Lakmé instructs Gérald to hide again so she can send them away.  Once they depart, Gérald and Lakmé confess that they'd like to see each other again, but Lakmé orders him to stay far away from her.  Though her warning does not appear to have influenced Gérald, she leaves.

 To discover how the story unfolds, read the Lakmé Synopsis.

French Lyrics

Prendre le dessin d'un bijou,
Est-ce donc aussi grave?
Ah! Frédéric est fou!
Mais d'où vient maintenant cette crainte insensée?
Quel sentiment surnaturel
A troublé ma pensée
Devant ce calme solennel!
Fille de mon caprice,
L'inconnue est devant mes yeux!
Sa voix à mon oreille glisse
Des mots mystérieux.
Non! non!

Fantaisie aux divins mensonges, tu reviens m'égarer encor.
Va, retourne au pays de songes,
O fantaisie aux ailes d'or!
Va! va! Retourne au pays des songes.
O fantaisie aux ailes d'or!

Au bras poli de la païenne
Cette annelet dut s'enlacer!
Elle tiendrait toute en la mienne,
La main qui seule y peut passer!
Ce cercle d'or
Je le suppose,
A suivi les pas voyageurs
D'un petit pied qui ne se pose
Que sur la mousse ou sur les fleurs.
Et ce collier encor parfumé d'elle,
De sa personne encor tout embaumé.
A pu sentir battre son coeur fidèle,
tout tressaillant au nom du bien aimé.
Non! Non! Fuyez!
Fuyez, chimères.
Rêves éphémères
Qui troublez ma raison.
Fantaisie aux divins mensonges,
Tu reviens m'égarer encor.
Va, retourne au pays des songes,
O fantaisie aux ailes d'or.

English Translation

Take a picture of a jewel,
Is it so serious?
Ah! Frederic is crazy!


But from where is this senseless fear coming?
What supernatural sense
Has disturbed my thoughts
Before that solemn calm!
Daughter of my whim,
The unknown is before my eyes!
The voice of Fear in my ear slides
Mysterious words.
No! No!

Fancy the divine lies, you come back to me astray.
Go, return to the land of dreams,
Fly away with golden wings!
Go! Go! Return to the land of dreams.
Fly away with golden wings!

The polished arm of a pagan
This annulet has to hug!
As it would mine,
The hand can only go there!
This circle of gold
I suppose,
Adorns the ankle of no traveler,
From a small foot that arises
As moss or flowers.
And again a fragrant necklace from her,
She is a person still completely embalmed.
My faithful heart feels drawn to her,
But I am already engaged.
No! No! Run away!
Flee, chimeras.
Ephemeral dreams
Which troubled my reason.


Fancy the divine lies,
You come back to me astray again.
Go, return to the land of dreams,
Fly away with golden wings.

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