Complainte de la Butte Lyrics - Rufus Wainwright

Review The Song (30)



La lune, trop bleme, (the moon, too white)
pose un diadème (puts a tiara)
sur tes cheveux roux. (on your red hair)
La lune, trop rousse, (the moon, too red)
de gloire éclabousse (with glory splashes)
ton jupon plein de trous. (your ragged underskirt)
La lune, trop pâle, (the moon, too pale)
caresse l'opale (caress the opal)
de tes yeux blasés. (of your indifferent eyes)
Princesse de la rue, (princess of the street)
soit la bienvenue (would be welcome)
dans mon coeur brisé. (in my broken heart)

The stairways up to la butte
can make the wretched sigh.
While windmill wings of the Moulin
shelter you and I.

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Ma petite mendigotte, (my little beggar)
je sens ta menotte (I feel your tiny hand)
qui cherche ma main. (searching for my hand)
Je sens ta poitrine (I feel your chest)
et ta taille fine, (and your small size)
j'oublie mon chagrin. (I forget my sorrow)
Je sens sous tes lèvres (I smell on your lips)
une odeur de fièvre, (a scent of fever)
de gosse mal nourrie, (of a malnourished kid)
et sous ta caresse, (and under your caress)
je sens une ivresse (I feel a drunkeness)
qui m'anéantit. (that kills me)

The stairways up to la butte
Can make the wretched sigh
While windmill wings of the Moulin
Shelter you and I

et voilà qu'elle trotte, (and there she goes strutting about)
la lune qui flotte, (the moon that floats)
la princesse aussi. (along with the princess)

La da da na na,
Na na na na na.

Mes rêves épanouis. (my thriving dreams)

Les escaliers de la butte (The stairways up to la butte)
sont durs aux miséreux. (are hard on the poor)
Les ailes du Moulin (the wings of the windmill)
protègent les amoureux. (protect those who love)



Click here to submit the Corrections of Complainte de la Butte Lyrics
Thanks | Reviewer: Anonymous | 5/10/12

Regardless of who may have mistranslated Bleme or the other criicims here, thanks to whoever took the time to translate this. My French is poor, but I love this song and appreciate it even more now that I can understand it all.

Bleme | Reviewer: Duffy | 1/3/12

regardless of French language education, etc. The word "bleme", I believe in this instance, refers to "the moon, too blemished" as in pock-marked-- as the surface of e moon actually is. If it meant pallid or too white that would be redundant with the last phrase of this verse-stanza. Of course, I'm a lowly linguist that simply sees the root of the word.

Regardless, it is wonderfully melancholic folk tune that has been around for many many years and that what makes it classic.

bleme | Reviewer: malory | 10/18/11

guys... about ‘bleme’ it's ‘blême’ and it means pallid or white or, yeah, something like that. though it doesn't make much difference on the pronunciation.
I feel sad for that word. it didn't do anything bad... except for existing.
[I just want to make things as clear as I could]

to the anonymous reviewer who took 9 years of french... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/24/11

9 years....bravo...
but the spelling is ok dude!!!
its not because you don't know an expression that it doesn't exist...
do research next time!(or take 9 more years in french class)
btw bleme is like pale ,faded !whatever the moon was like colorless!

Alec | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/13/11

I took French for 9 years and just finished a year ago, and your spelling is like... wow. really wrong. I mean great translation, but blanc is white not 'bleme' I dont even know what 'bleme' is. you need to check your spelling. I had a teacher for two years in a row and i know that just because you're canadienne does not me that that you spell words differently, d'accord?

The same opinion | Reviewer: dDiana | 11/28/10

I'm mexican and I didn't know RF's was from Canada, so I didn't notice the difference about the pronunciation, but I agree, I want my kids to hear the song in their childhood and later I will tell them what it means (after they have watched Moulin Rouge, and by the way is one of my favourite movies) Cause it really sounds like a lullaby without knowing the meaning and it is also romantic, that's why it fits with the movie. Great song!!
I'm 16, too.

Reply to Anonymous- | Reviewer: Katelyn | 4/13/10

He's Canadian! He's a native speaker of French!
And of the pronounciation, any other language is no difference than ours. How do you pronounce Italian? Ih-tahlian or Eye-talian?
Same thing with French. He's Canadian. Not a Frenchman.

Beautiful Song | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/27/10

The meaning of this song to me is the struggle of the moulin. This meaning comes not from the lyrics, but from the soul note pattern, emulating a very dark tone. Being music person I love wainwright, and this song is perfect for Moulin Rouge. This song is in the movie by the way, playing faintly as Christian steps off the train into the Moulin and thinks it a wonderful town.

really | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/7/09

its an old french folk song. and an old story. and its what pretty woman is based on, as well as moulin rouge. its a song about him loving her no matter what and he knows what she is, but he knows WHO she is. and he thinks she perfect, but hates the profession.

My Views, Moulin Rouge | Reviewer: Konan | 2/14/09

Alright....here's what I pick up in it.
That "drunkeness" Is the feeling of being lost in her love. and he calls her a princess despite what she is, a sinner, and how he truly does love her.... and in the end after all was said and done it could only end in sorrow, but is a love...that will live on...forever :)
I think you're taking it to litterally people, Have you ever been caressed? If so, Do you remember that feeling of loosing everything, all your worries and just loving to be with that other person, your love? ...exactly :)

It's terribly Romantic, and beautiful.

Bittersweet and Lovely | Reviewer: Jackie | 1/16/09

The song is basically about Christian and Satine (y'know, from Moulin Rouge? Since this song was on the soundtrack?). That's the reason it's on the soundtrack - it describes their relationship perfectly: a young man (Christian) who falls hopelessly in love with a courtesan (Satine), and how they love each other intensely but it can only end in sadness.

So yeah, the girl's a prostitute, but it's still a beautiful song, and would make a lovely lullaby so long as you don't tell the kid till later what the song means. Hehe =)

Unadmitting Romantic | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/8/08

I disagree with the Anonymous reviewer above who said "it is about having sex with drunken, under-aged (or at least extremely young) prostitutes..." I believe that this song goes along with the movie and the theme of the original "Roxanne" by the Police: I believe it is about a man who falls deeply in love with a prostitute, not caring that she is a prostitute and that she has lived her life in what most would believe to be a sin. I believe that she is "underfed" in love and that her "drunkeness" is the wonderful feeling she finally experiences of being loved. I think it is "killing" him to know that she has lived such a life of torment.


lullaby? | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/2/08

To the 16 yr old's comments below: While I think the song is amazing, I'm not sure about it being great children's lullaby... you realize that it is about having sex with drunken, under-aged (or at least extremely young) prostitutes, right?

R's | Reviewer: sacha | 4/4/08

I'm french, i live in france, and his r's are just perfect, not rolled, but not that gutturals: if you listen to the original song from 1955, you realize that RF's r's sound even more french than the original ones! French singers like rolling r's in this kind of songs, when it's about love and topics like that.

possible confusion | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/27/08

Maybe people are confusing the concept of rolling r's with the back-of-the-throat sound that is essential to proper french pronunciation. I can see when he sings the word "princesse" some may hear a slightly rolled r, but it's good pronunciation for a non-native speaker, like someone else said above.


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------ Performed by Rufus Wainwright

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------ 10/20/2014

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