Des de Moor

Don't Leave Me
Ne me quitte pas

Barb Jungr: Chanson The Space In Between From Chanson: The Space In Between
Barb Jungr's chanson album including five original translations by Des.
Click here for details

Barb Jungr
Russell Churney
James Tomalin
Julie Walkington
double bass

This is one of Jacques Brel's most famous songs, and one of the great songs of the 20th century. It's also his best-known outside the French-speaking world, in an English version by Rod McKuen called 'If You Go Away'. This, unfortunately, bears little relation to the poignancy and desperation of Brel's original lyric in which the narrator is not speculating about the possibility of their partner leaving in order to bring the importance of their emotions into sharper relief, but is literally begging the other person to stay while they stand with suitcases packed on the doorstep!

I was very pleased when Barb Jungr gave me the opportunity to write a new English version which might not have the Tin Pan Alley gloss of McKuen's but at least is much more faithful to the impulse of the original song and tries to capture some of its intensely poetic imagery.

Donít leave me now
We must just forget
All we can forget
All we did till now
Letís forget the cost
Of the breath weíve spent
Saying words unmeant
And the times weíve lost
Hours that must destroy
Never knowing why
Everything must die
At the heart of joy
Donít leave me now
Donít leave me now
Donít leave me now

Iíll bring back to you
The clear pearls of rain
From a distant domain
Where rain never fell
And though I grow old
Iíll keep mining the ground
To deck you around
In sunlight and gold
Iíll build you a desmene
Where loveís everything
Where love is the king
And you are the queen
Donít leave me now
Donít leave me now
Donít leave me now

Donít leave me now
For you Iíll invent
Words and what they meant
Only you will know
Tales of lovers who
Fell apart and then
Fell in love again
Since their hearts stayed true
Thereís a story too
That I can confide
Of that king who died
From not meeting you
Donít leave me now
Donít leave me now
Donít leave me now

And often itís true
That flames spill anew
From ancient volcanos
We thought were too old
When allís said and done
Scorched fields of defeat
Could give us more wheat
Than the fine April sun
And when evening is nigh
With flames overhead
The black and the red
Arenít they joined in the sky?
Donít leave me now
Donít leave me now
Donít leave me now

Donít leave me now
I will cry no more
I will talk no more
Hide myself somehow
And Iíll see your smile
And Iíll see you dance
And Iíll hear you sing
Hear your laughter ring
Let me be for you
The shadow of your shadow
The shadow of your hand
The dog at your command
Donít leave me now
Donít leave me now
Donít leave me now

Translation: Deptford and Greenwich, London, 2 August 1999

Jacques Brel

Des de Moor

Jacques Brel

Barb Jungr
Russell Churney
Julie Walkington

© Copyright 1959 Sociťtť Nouvelle des ťditions musicales Tutti/Warner Chappell Music France, Paris. Translated by permission of the publisher and France Brel.

Originally recorded by Jacques Brel in 1959, now available on Jacques Brel 2: La valse ŗ mille temps (Barclay).
This version recorded by Barb Jungr on Chanson: The Space In Between (see opposite).

Buy original version on Jacques Brel: Infiniment complilation from Amazon

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Ne me quitte pas (Jacques Brel)
Quartier Latin (Léo Ferré)
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La chanson des vieux amants (Jacques Brel/Gérard Jouannest)
Les poètes (Léo Ferré)
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