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muguet

English translation: young, blooming, offering

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20:42 Mar 6, 2008
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / Alfred de Musset's Poem "Venise"
French term or phrase: muguet
Definitely not "thrush," the disease, in this case. I don't see how "lily of the valley" would fit here since de Musset is talking about military guards. But ultimately, he is talking about passionate, sensual love.

Context:

"Tout se tait, fors les gardes
Aux longues hallebardes,
Qui veillent aux créneaux
Des arsenaux.

Ah! maintenant plus d'une
Attend, au clair de lune,
Quelque jeune **muguet,**
L'oreille au guet."

Mille Mercis!

femme
Barbara Cochran, MFA
United States
Local time: 19:49
English translation:young, blooming, offering
Explanation:
(May Day) offering of the first bursts of Spring in their uncontainable vitality



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Note added at 44 mins (2008-03-06 21:26:35 GMT)
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"All is quiet, save the guards, with their long halberds standing watch at the entry to the arsenal

Ah! Now, more than one young girl , awaits , at full moon, some young blade,

Ears tight-strained."

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Note added at 1 hr (2008-03-06 22:13:25 GMT)
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Has interest wilted? We seem to think in boxes. That fop's the thing that a girl longed for in Alfred de Musset's day. I find it difficult, not to say impossible, to move from all of these hard,sharp,hidden, clandestine references to a wilting fop or dandy or "popinjay". Isn't this trivialising, defusing, hiding, separating ourselves from the "feel", the meaning, and moving straight to a safe place, a dusty book, some other sunless cleric, to answer for us? question mark.
Selected response from:

fourth
France
Local time: 01:49
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5dandyxxxgiltal
3 +2young, blooming, offering
fourth
4young manAlain Pommet
4fop
Violene Cuvillier
3 +1dandyrkillings
3young buckKari Foster
3admirerxxxBourth


Discussion entries: 4





  

Answers


28 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
young man


Explanation:
That's what it means - but it will need a 19th century touch putting to it.

un jeune muguet. Celui qui affecte de se parer avec soin et d'être galant auprès des dames.


More than one young lady will be waiting in the moonlight for her young man.

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Note added at 29 mins (2008-03-06 21:11:51 GMT)
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Maybe 'beau' - but that's maybe too old-fashioned!

Alain Pommet
Local time: 01:49
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
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32 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
dandy


Explanation:
(1458; par allus. au parfum dont usaient les élégants de l'époque). Vx. Jeune homme qui cherche à plaire par des raffinements de coquetterie excessive. è Dandy, élégant, galant.

3 Ne voudriez-vous point, dis-je, sur ces matières,
De vos jeunes muguets m'inspirer les manières ?
M'obliger à porter de ces petits chapeaux
Qui laissent éventer leurs débiles cerveaux,
Et de ces blonds cheveux, de qui la vaste enflure
Des visages humains offusque la figure ?
Molière, l'École des maris, i, 1.
[Le Grand Robert]

rkillings
United States
Local time: 16:49
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  joobie: I would agree with dandy, I have seen it used by Emily Bronté in some book or other to describe proud young men.
11 hrs
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35 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
dandy


Explanation:
Dandy or an elegant. "Ah! Now more than one (woman) , waits in the moonlight, some young dandy (or elegant)...". Here they are talking about a man. An elegant man. ''homme se piquant d'élégance et de galantrie". Allusion au parfum à base d'essence de muguet utilisé autrefois par certains élégants". Good luck with finding a rhyme.

Example sentence(s):
  • Tous vos muguets, tous vos dandys, tous vos inutiles étaient là...
  • Les muguets, raffinés mirliflors.

    www.lexilogos.com/francais_langue_dictionnaires.htm (type "muguet" then choose "trésor")
xxxgiltal
Local time: 20:49
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 4
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40 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
fop


Explanation:
That's what the Rober Collins dictionary gives to translate the meaning this word had in the 19th century. It also gives "coxcomb", and "poinjay"

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Note added at 41 mins (2008-03-06 21:23:43 GMT)
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sorry, typing problems, I meant "popinjay"

Violene Cuvillier
Local time: 19:49
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
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16 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
young, blooming, offering


Explanation:
(May Day) offering of the first bursts of Spring in their uncontainable vitality



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 44 mins (2008-03-06 21:26:35 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

"All is quiet, save the guards, with their long halberds standing watch at the entry to the arsenal

Ah! Now, more than one young girl , awaits , at full moon, some young blade,

Ears tight-strained."

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2008-03-06 22:13:25 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Has interest wilted? We seem to think in boxes. That fop's the thing that a girl longed for in Alfred de Musset's day. I find it difficult, not to say impossible, to move from all of these hard,sharp,hidden, clandestine references to a wilting fop or dandy or "popinjay". Isn't this trivialising, defusing, hiding, separating ourselves from the "feel", the meaning, and moving straight to a safe place, a dusty book, some other sunless cleric, to answer for us? question mark.

fourth
France
Local time: 01:49
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Rachel Fell: blade
2 hrs
  -> Yes, deserves separate answer!

agree  Joshua Wolfe: think of a dandy as someone cocky -- i.e. self-confident in his ability to attract. A "player" in current N-Amer urban slang. Or think Travolta in "Sat. Night Fever"
21 hrs
  -> THanks JW,I think, personally,Travolta's a blade;isn't a Dandy effeminate, affected,. Elton John too fat to be dandy? Joshua?
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
admirer


Explanation:
Lily of the valley is associated with Labour Day these days (since the early 1900s), but has historically been seen as a token of happiness and good fortune (springtime, renewal, and all that). Of course we all know what young men's and women's minds turn to in spring, if it's not there year-round ... Why, spring cleaning, of course!

Autrefois, pour le 1er mai, on organisait des "bals du muguet" où les jeunes filles étaient vêtues de blanc et où les jeunes gens fleurissaient leur boutonnière d'un brin de muguet. C'était le seul bal de l'année où les parents étaient bannis et où les jeunes se retrouvaient entre eux. [ ... ] ! On offrait du muguet à tous ceux que l'on aimait, famille et amis.
Cependant, l'usage voulait PLUS PARTICULIEREMENT QUE LE JEUNE HOMME OFFRE DU MUGUET A SA FIANCEE,
www.edu.fi/page.asp?path=498,1329,1513,10882,12652,40266

So it is possible that "muguet" is used here metonymically for "the bearer of lily of the valley", a lover, an admirer.

Maybe "More than one young lass stood in the moonlight awaiting a posy", it being understood that "posy" referred to the person who would bring it rather than the flowers themselves.

Of course if my first comment above about "muguet" being "efféminé" is correct, you could substitute "nosegay" for "posy".

While "posy" has the advantage of being sufficiently similar to "poser" to carry the image of "fop" or "dandy" in this day and age.

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Note added at 4 hrs (2008-03-07 01:14:36 GMT)
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Note too that my dictionaries give "posy" as "Now somewhat arch. or rustic." and "an old-fashioned usage".

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Note added at 11 hrs (2008-03-07 08:37:28 GMT)
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I really don't think we can decide correctly on this one without the whole poem. What is the final outcome (and what message is the poet seeking to convey), etc?

Maybe it's a "protest poem" à la Joan Baez, criticizing the fact that while staunch young men with halbards are prepared to lay down their lives to protect "la patrie" and her young women, these gutless, lazy, long-haired, scented, make-love-not-war hippy types are getting away with doing with those young women precisely what the staunch military types are there to prevent Johnny Foreigner from doing, and those fickle women are letting them ... Etcetera.

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Note added at 12 heures (2008-03-07 08:51:51 GMT)
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Oops, just spotted the title of the poem up top and found it at:
http://www.vivre-venise.com/portraits/sand-et-musset/venise-...

So it would appear to be a romantic vision, given what follows about a mask (the Venice carnaval would be too early for muguet though), a ball (see above about "le bal du muguet").

However, of De Mussy (Wiki) :

<<By the time he reached the age of 20, his rising literary fame was already accompanied by a sulphurous reputation fed by his DANDY side>>

<<During this time he also involved himself in polemics during the Rhine crisis of 1840, caused by the French prime minister Adolphe Thiers, who as Minister of the Interior had been Musset's superior. Thiers had demanded that France should own the left bank of the Rhine (described as France's "natural boundary"), as it had under Napoleon, despite the territory's German population. These demands were rejected by German songs and poems, including Nikolaus Becker's Rheinlied, which contained the verse: "Sie sollen ihn nicht haben, den freien, deutschen Rhein ..." (They shall not have it, the free, German Rhine). Musset answered to this with a poem of his own: "Nous l'avons eu, votre Rhin allemand" (We've had it, your German Rhine).>>

So he was not above entering the political arena in his works.

xxxBourth
Local time: 01:49
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 110

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Joshua Wolfe: using "nosegay" would change the orientation of the poem !
19 hrs
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1 day1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
young buck


Explanation:
Although this image involves fauna rather than flora, I think it strikes the right tone.

Also, 'fop' is one of the meanings of 'buck', and that is how I understand the meaning of 'muguet' here (as others have already said.)


    Reference: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/buck
Kari Foster
Local time: 01:49
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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