Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Il N'y A Pas D'Amour Heureux

Il N'y A Pas D'Amour Heureux was originally a poem written in 1943 by novelist and poet Louis Aragon. It was later revised and set to music by composer Georges Brassens. While the mood of both poem and song is melancholy and pessimistic, Aragon - whose work was deeply colored by his experiences of hardship during World War II - actually focuses on both the negative and positive aspects of love. His point, essentially, is that true love is not free from sadness or pain.

Hence, the titular "There is no (perfectly) happy love."

Rien n'est jamais acquis à l'homme. Ni sa force.
                                             Man never truly possesses anything. Not his strength.

Ni sa faiblesse ni son coeur. Et quand il croit
                                              Not his weakness nor his heart. And when he thinks

Ouvrir ses bras, son ombre est celle d'une croix.
Of opening his arms, his shadow forms a cross.

Et quand il croit serrer son bonheur, il le broie.
And when he tries to embrace his happiness, he crushes it.

Sa vie est un étrange et douloureux divorce. 
His life is a strange and painful divorce.

Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux.
There is no happy love.

Mon bel amour, mon cher amour, ma déchirure.
My beautiful love, my dear love, my torn heart.

Je te porte dans moi comme un oiseau blessé.
                                                    I carry you in me just like a wounded bird.

Et ceux-là sans savoir nous regardent passer
And those who unknowingly watch us walk by

Répétant après moi les mots que j'ai tressés.
Repeat after me the words that I have woven.

Et qui pour tes grands yeux tout aussitôt moururent.
                                                And which have already died in your bright eyes.

Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux.
There is no happy love.

Le temps d'apprendre à vivre il est déjà trop tard.
The time to learn to live is already long gone.

Que pleurent dans la nuit nos cœurs à l'unisson.
Our hearts cry in unison at night.

Ce qu'il faut de regrets pour payer un frisson.
What it takes in regrets to pay for a thrill.

Ce qu'il faut de malheur pour la moindre chanson.
What it takes in sorrow for the simplest song.

Ce qu'il faut de sanglots 
What it takes in sad tears

Pour un air de guitare.
For one tune on a guitar.

Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux.
There is no happy love.

Unlike the song, the original poem ends on a more hopeful note, acknowledging that sadness, conflict and suffering are integral, unavoidable components of love. And yet,if we are genuinely in love with a person, all the unhappiness that accompanies love becomes worth it.


Il n'y a pas d'amour qui ne soit à douleur.
Il n'y a pas d'amour dont on ne soit meurtri.

There is no love which is not pain.
There is no love which does not bruise.

Il n'y a pas d'amour dont on ne soit flétri.
Il n'y a pas d'amour qui ne vive de pleurs.

There is no love which does not fade.
There is no love which does not live from tears.

Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux.
Mais c'est notre amour à tous les deux.

There is no happy love. 
But it is our own love.


  1. Beautiful Ruddie. Thanks for sharing.
    I would love to make love to those words but my French is below passable.
    Also, I can't help but notice the pattern to your posts, so...
    King's to you ;D

  2. Crushing poetry. I could taste the bitterness of such love even if I am enjoying the weebits of a recently consumed affair.

    Will this overshadow the brightness of a holiday feast that has yet to come?

  3. lovely post.. the photos add drama to the words.. :)

  4. @ Nate : Thanks. Originally these pictures were to be for a post about solitude, but I felt they fit in the mood of the song/poem in this entry, as well. Thanks for noticing the pics :)

    @ Kiks : Yes. Aragon was so affected by the horrors of the war that even his love for his wife - to whom the poem was dedicated - was thrown into doubt and despair.

    As for this "holiday feast" , oh I'm used to blue Christmases instead of white ones.

    @ db : Don't worry about it. I augment my own battered French with wild gesticulations,sign language, and cartoon doodles, when all else fails. But seriously, French is such a beautiful language that you can make love to the sound of someone reading from a Citroen repair manual.

    And, sorry for my ignorance, but what does "King's to you" mean?

  5. Ce qu'il faut de malheur pour la moindre chanson.

    This is my line.

    It's funny how the pain you thought was specific to you, pain that you struggle to verbalize, has already been written (and sang) by someone else, long before you.

  6. @ Manech : Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

    Nothing new under the sun, really.

    Or as R.E.M. sang: "Everybody hurts sometimes."

  7. I hate how this resonates. I hate you for sharing this. :(

  8. @ Nyl : Ooooh.

    Strangely enough, while I was composing this entry, I remember a fleeting thought that went "I wonder what Nyl would say if he reads it and decides to leave a comment?"

    Well, now we know.

    Pardon, je suis desole.

  9. Now that I've calmed down (and my Leo sense has been pacified), I figured I'd read this again. lol

    I think Manech said it best. It's freaky how you can think your pain is private, how it is so immense that you feel no one else could've possibly come close to the level of heartache-slash-emoness you're going through.. then to have that suddenly explained so clearly in a song and these pictures. It's enough to make anyone's head spin.

    Or I just enjoy wallowing. Perhaps it's me you must pardon. ;p

  10. @ Nyl : I think we're entitled to all the time we need whenever we get our hearts crushed.

    So wallow away :)