Sunday, April 20, 2008

Nijuu-mensou no Musume -- French Poem from OP

In the OP animation of the so-far excellent new anime Nijuu-mensou no Musume is a poem by Paul Eluard, a French poet of the first half of the 20th century. I think it expresses something of the theme of the show. You can see part of it in the background of the publicity image at right. Here is my attempt at a translation, followed by the original French poem.

Good Justice

The warm law of humans:
From grapes they make wine,
From charcoal they make fire,
From kisses they make humans

The hard law of humans:
To keep themselves safe despite
War and misery,
Despite the danger of death.

The sweet law of humans:
To change water into light,
Dream into reality,
And enemies into brothers.

A law old and new
That continues to perfect itself:
From the bottom of a child's heart
To supreme reason.


C'est la chaude loi des hommes
Du raisin ils font du vin
Du charbon ils font du feu
Des baisers ils font des hommes

C'est la dure loi des hommes
Se garder intact malgré
Les guerres et la misère
Malgré les dangers de mort

C'est la douce loi des hommes
De changer l'eau en lumière
Le rêve en réalité
Et les ennemis en frères

Une loi vieille et nouvelle
Qui va se perfectionnant
Du fond du coeur de l'enfant
Jusqu'à la raison suprême.


Sasa said...

Wow, that's quite an impressive poem. My french professor back then disliked Paul Éluard because of communistic engagement, but I must say that I find this poem really, really great. Good job translating it!

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ItAintEazy said...

Not sure if you'll ever read this, but they finally read the poem in the latest episode of Nijuu Mensou. It was a song that Oji-san shared with Chiko during their thieving days. I think the operative phrase in the poem is "change water into light"

hashihime said...

@itainteazy -- Yes, every comment is e-mailed to me, so I saw yours. And I heard the poem in the recent episode, but hadn't got as far as you in identifying which line counts. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

They sing the song in "The daughter of twenty faces" you can watch it on

and they used the song to "the lagacy of Twenty Faces" to describe the two phases of change.

Coal into fire
Kisses into men
and water into light xD

And is without servey's payment and such stupid things, plus, there's a lot of other anime series xD Hope this helps

Anonymous said...

Duuuude.... the english lyric is wrong, "hommes" means "men", not humans....

The warm law of "men"

Anonymous said...

thanks alot
i like this anime, and it was so sad in the middle of the story.
i like the poem .
but how can we spell the words which are in franch, spell them in engilish?
thank you

hashi said...

@anonymous -- It's pretty hard to spell the French words so that an English-speaking person would pronounce them correctly. Maybe the best thing is this video, which gives the song being sung, so that you can match the French writing with the sounds of the singing.