Categories
B. O. F. L'Eau à la bouche (1960) Gainsbourg's faves

L’Eau à la bouche

Summary

Serge, courting a shy woman, anticipates the shock she will experience when she notices that his mouth is watering.

Paroles de Gainsbourg

Écoute ma voix, écoute ma prière
Écoute mon cœur qui bat, laisse-toi faire
Je t’en prie ne sois pas farouche
Quand me vient l’eau à la bouche

Je te veux confiante, je te sens captive
Je te veux docile, je te sens craintive
Je t’en prie, ne sois pas farouche
Quand me vient l’eau à la bouche

Laisse-toi au gré du courant
Porter dans le lit du torrent
Et dans le mien
Si tu veux bien
Quittons la rive
Partons à la dérive

Je te prendrais doucement et sans contrainte
De quoi as-tu peur allons n’aie nulle crainte
Je t’en prie, ne sois pas farouche
Quand me vient l’eau à la bouche

Cette nuit près de moi tu viendras t’étendre
Oui je serai calme je saurai t’attendre
Et pour que tu ne t’effarouches
Vois, je ne prends que ta bouche

Discussion

This song, his first written for a film soundtrack, was also Serge’s first real commercial success. No wonder: it’s fabulous. Not only is it one of my favourites, it was also one of Serge’s (see this YouTube video).

The song presents a pretty straightforward situation: Serge is trying to court a shy woman, and is doing so in a mostly gallant way — with certain exceptions, most notably when make the connection between the “lit de torrent” (river bed) and his own bed. And I mean: watering at the mouth, in anticipation of sexual congress, isn’t especially gallant.

In my translation below, I’ve definitely played up the little creaks in Serge’s gallant façade. For instance, I’m sure “ne sois pas farouche” is a much more acceptable-sounding word than my Don’t act like a little savage. I mean, “savage” is there in the word “farouche”: it has a broad range of meanings, from wild (as in, an animal who is not domesticated), or fierce like a wild animal, or cruel… or just coy, or shy — which is what I expect is how it’s intended here, at least on the surface.

But what I’ve tried to do in my translation is to emphasize the inevitable moment in any courtship when you need to sort of cut the bullshit and admit to one another that you want to do something inescapably non-gallant and unrefined with one another. The fun can only start when the façade is dropped, after all.

That’s why I like my don’t act like a little savage. It puts the question back to the woman. Yes, my mouth is watering. Yes, I’m an animal. And if you can’t accept that I’m an animal — and admit that you are, too — then you’re the savage.

Traduction de “Fluid Makeup”

Listen to my voice, hear my prayer,
Listen to my beating heart, let yourself go.
Please don’t act like a little savage
When my mouth starts to water.

I want you to be confident, but I can see you feel like a prisoner.
I want to you to be docile, but I can see you’re scared.
Please don’t act like a little savage
When my mouth starts to water.

Go with the flow,
Let yourself be carried along the riverbed —
Or into my bed,
If that’s what you’d like.
Let’s leave the riverbank
And drift off together.

I’ll take you gently and without any awkwardness.
What are you afraid of? Come on, don’t worry.
Please don’t act like a little savage
When my mouth starts to water.

Tonight you’ll stretch yourself out beside me.
Yes, I’ll be calm, I’ll know how to wait for you.
And just so that you don’t act like a little savage,
Guess what? I’m only going to take your mouth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.