Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Oncle Archibald Video and Text

Oncle Archibald



Uncle Archibald was a self-effacing, trusting man, too easily used by others. After he had dropped dead chasing a thief who stole his watch – and the rest of his time on earth- Brassens consoles himself with this fantasy about his death – swift, painless, humorous even, becoming a marriage which protects him eternally from the rogues and cheats who had exploited him throughout his life.

Ô vous, les arracheurs de dents,(1)
Tous les cafards, les charlatans,
Les prophètes,
Comptez plus sur Oncle Archibald
Pour payer les violons du bal (2)
À vos fêtes... (bis)

En courant sus à un voleur
Qui venait de lui chiper l'heure
À sa montre,
Oncle Archibald, - coquin de sort !(3)
Fit, de Sa Majesté La Mort,
La rencontre... (bis)

Telle un' femm' de petit' vertu,
Elle arpentait le trottoir du
Cimetière,
Aguichant(4) les homm's en troussant
Un peu plus haut qu'il n'est décent
Son suaire... (bis)

Oncle Archibald, d'un ton gouailleur(5),
Lui dit : "va-t'en fair' pendre ailleurs
Ton squelette...
Fi des femelles décharnées !
Vive les bell's un tantinet(6)
Rondelettes !" (bis)


Lors, montant sur ses grands chevaux,(7)
La mort brandit la longue faux
D'agronome(8)
Qu'elle serrait dans son linceul,
Et faucha d'un seul coup, d'un seul,
Le bonhomme... (bis)


Comme il n'avait pas l'air content,
Elle lui dit : "Ça fait longtemps
Que je t'aime...
Et notre hymen à tous les deux
Était prévu depuis l' jour de
Ton baptême... (bis)

Si tu te couches dans mes bras,
Alors la vie te semblera
Plus facile...
Tu y seras hors de portée
Des chiens, des loups, des homm's et des
Imbéciles... (bis)


Nul n'y contestera tes droits,
Tu pourras crier : viv' le roi ! (9)
Sans intrigue...
Si l'envie te prend de changer,
Tu pourras crier sans danger
Viv' la Ligue(10) ! (bis)

Ton temps de dupe est révolu,(11)
Personne ne se payera plus
Sur ta bête(12).
Les "Plaît-il, maître?" auront plus cours(13),
Plus jamais tu n'auras à cour-
-ber la tête..." (bis)


Et mon oncle emboîta le pas
De la bell', qui ne semblait pas,
Si féroce...
Et les voilà, bras d'ssus, bras d'ssous,
Les voilà partis je n' sais où
Fair' leurs noces... (bis)

Ô vous, les arracheurs de dents
Tous les cafards, les charlatans,
Les prophètes,
Comptez plus sur Oncle Archibald
Pour payer les violons du bal
À vos fêtes... (bis)

Oh you, you bare-faced liars
All the sneaks, all  the charlatans
The psychics,
Don’t count now on Archibald’s money
To grab  for yourselves’n fritter away
At y’r parties. (Repeat)

While running after a thief
Who’d just stolen his time of day
On his watch
Uncle Archibald- Goodness gracious!
Met with Her Majesty Death
Face to face.

Like a woman of loose morals
She was walking  the Cemetery
Pavements
Attracting the men by tucking
A little higher than is decent
The shroud she wore.

Uncle Archibald, derisively
Said to her “Go and hang it up elsewhere
Y’er skeleton
To hell with skinny females!
Long live the beauties a bit
On’t chubby side!


Then, getting on her high horses
Death brandished the long-bladed scythe
Used by farmers.
Which she held tightly in her shroud
And cut down with a single stoke, 
The good fellow…..


As he was looking none so pleased
She said to him : « It’s been a  time
That I’ve loved you
And the nuptials for us both
Were planned right back on the day that
You were baptised.

If you can lie down in my arms
Then life will begin to seem to you
Much easier
Safe in there you’ll be out of reach
Of dogs, of wolves, of men and of
Imbeciles


No-one will contest your rights there
You can shout out: “Long live the King” :
Quite openly…….
If you feel like making a change
You can shout out without danger
Long live the League !(4)

Your time as a dupe is over
People won’t treat themselves anymore
From your account.
“May I,  master?” will end its usage
Never again will you have to
Bow your head.


And my uncle followed on the heels
Of the beauty, who did not seem
So fierce
And there the two linked, arm in arm
There they were, gone, I know not where(6)
To their wedding.

Oh you, you bare-faced liars
All the sneaks, all  the charlatans
The psychics,
Don’t count now on Archibald’s money
To grab  for yourselves’n fritter away
At y’r parties. (Repeat)




TRANSLATION NOTES

1.      Mentir comme un arracheur de dents means to be a barefaced liar
.
2.      payer les violons du bal means to pay for something for which you get nothing.

3.      coquin de sort – this is an oath that expresses shock or anger

4.      Aguichant –Aguicher means (a) to seduce or to try to seduce (b) To excite, arouse , tickle
.
5.      D’un ton gouailleur means mockingly/derisively/ sardonically

6.      Un tantinet is a familiar word to say a little or slightly

7.      montant sur ses grands chevaux- because death is often drawn as a skeleton on a horse.

8.      Agronome means gardener/ farmer/ agriculturalist

9.      The King and the League represent conflicting political loyalties. It is a reference to lines of La Fontaine: Le sage dit, selon les gens: Vive le Roi ! Vive la Ligue !

This refers to the civil conflict in France in the 1580s, when the Duke de Guise led a league of extremist Catholics to replace Henri III by the Cardinal de Bourbon.

10.   révolu   means completely over/ past/ disappeared

11.   If people were broke and could not pay their bill, the person owed money would say “Laissez-moi votre cheval. Je me paierai sur votre bête.

12.   N’auront plus cours – One meaning of “le cours” is “currency” and so “avoir cours” means “to be legal tender”  and figuratively it means: “To be in use”


13.   As he is a sceptic, Brassens may not be too certain about his belief in  the idea of heaven.







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