Grand Jacques by Jacques Brel: English Translation

This is one of Jacques Brel’s first recorded songs and is originally titled “Grand Jacques”. It introduces listeners to the themes that would later appear throughout Jacques Brel songs, such as death, love and war.

You can hear the original and buy it for only 99p here: 


Jacques Brel Grand Jacques English Translation

It’s too easy to enter the churches
And beg for your salvation,
Face the priest who sits in the grey light
And forgives you for all that you’ve done.

But keep quiet, great Jacques,
What do you know of the Lord?
A hymn and maybe an icon,
You know that’s nothing at all.

It’s too easy when wars are over
To go out shouting that it was out last,
Bourgeois friend, I envy you
When you look straight through our graveyards.

But keep quiet, great Jacques,
What do you know about war?
Let them all weep with joy;
You were never a soldier before.

It’s too easy for love to die away,
Especially when it’s stretched too far.
It’s too easy to weep like all men weep,
As if love were forever.

But keep quiet, great Jacques,
What do you know about love?
Some blue eyes, some blonde hair,
You don’t know what you’re speaking of.

But keep quiet, great Jacques,
Tell yourself at the day’s end;
It’s too easy to just pretend.

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