Georges Brassens - Embrasse-les tous (English translation)

Proofreading requested
English translation

Kiss them all

You’re not one for whom an attachment is a long term commitment,
you rub your cheek on every moustache,
one has to get up early to see an innocent lad
who hasn’t known you,
open entry to no matter who in your circle,
the heart of an artichoke, you give a leaf to everyone,
never, since time immemorial, has there been
anywhere so frequently entered.1
From Peter to Paul, passing through Jules and Felix2,
kiss them all,
kiss them all,
God will recognise his own3
Pass them all through your arms,
pass them all through your charms,
until one of them, his arms outspread,
pases out in your arms,
kiss them all,
kiss them all,
God will recognise his own.
Until love follows,
until at her heart a wound lives,
the most affected amongst us
asks for mercy on his knees.
While waiting for the kiss that hits the target,
the kiss that we save for the right mouth4
while waiting to find, amongst all these dates,
the real white blackbird5,
on waiting for him to bring you a little happiness,
he after who you will condemn your door
marking on it “Closed for love
until the end of time”...
From Peter to Paul, passing through Jules and Felix,
kiss them all,
kiss them all,
God will recognise his own!
Pass them all through your arms,
pass them all through your charms,
until one of them, his arms outspread,
pases out in your arms,
from the big ones to the little ones going right up to the Lilliputians,
kiss them all,
kiss them all,
God will recognise his own.
Then all your escapades,
man-chasings and gallivantings,
your deviations and splittings up,
will be forgiven, for
girls when they say “I love you”,
it’s like a second baptism,
it gives them a completely new heart,
as on coming out of one's egg.
  • 1. literally "has a mill been so much frequented" but there's a saying "Entrer comme dans un moulin" which is used to mean "enter extremely easily" and that's where the reference to a mill here comes from.
  • 2. Félicien
  • 3. I suspect this is intended as a reference to Papal Legate Arnaud Amalric’s instructions to his troops at the Bézier massacre in 1209, when about 20.000 people were killed of whom the vast majority (including the Cathedral clergy, who were killed at their altars) were faithful Roman Catholics and should not havebeen harmed because Amalric told the army to kill them all because God would recognise the the souls of those who were good catholics! He later claimed he didn’t say this and that some army units attacked the city without orders to do so (this after he’d been besieging it for a bit longer than 24 hours, and had delivered an ultimatum that if RC people didn’t leave the city pretty quick they would be killed when the city fell). Brassens didn’t like the church or most of its clergy, so it seems unlikely tht this line is him getting a dig in – he did it often enough
  • 4. or maybe “save until the last”
  • 5. a very rare person
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Submitted by michealt on Tue, 13/02/2018 - 18:57
Last edited by michealt on Thu, 15/02/2018 - 10:51
Author's comments:

The four lines immediately after the first chorus somehow seem wrong, but I'm sure they are what hear and I've checked them in Brassens' book too. I'm not at all sure they mean what I've translated them as.

The author of translation requested proofreading.
It means that he/she will be happy to receive corrections, suggestions etc about the translation.
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Embrasse-les tous

Idioms from "Embrasse-les tous"
See also
petit élève    Tue, 13/02/2018 - 19:24

I don't see anything wrong with the transcription. These lyrics are especially elaborate so they might sound a bit unusual, but that's perfect French for all I know.

qui meurent où elles s'attachent -> that's a nice twist of "je meurs ou je m'attache", a definition of Ivy (a plant that will either grow roots or whither) used as a metaphor for a serious relationship.

you're right in the 3rd note. "Dieu reconnaîtra les siens" has become somewhat idiomatic. "let someone else sort that mess" or something like that. The next lines ("passer par les armes") allude to the massacre that has given birth to the expression.

garde pour la bonne bouche -> the idea is to save the tastiest morsel for the end of the meal, but of course there is a pun on "picking the right mouth to kiss" Regular smile

Fermé jusqu'à la fin des jours pour cause d'amour -> that sounds like a sign put on a store window (e.g. "closed for vacations"). Don't know how to render that in English though.

tes grands écarts -> there is a pun on "écart de conduite" and "grand écart" as a dance figure (meant as an erotic metaphor!)