Isabelle By Jacques Brel: English Translation

Below is my poetic translation of Isabelle by Jacques Brel. Particular attention has been paid to keeping the rhyme and flow of the piece while retaining the poetic origins of the French lyric.


Lyrics

When Isabel dreams, the whole world stops moving
When Isabel dreams in her cradle of joy
She’s so mischievous and scheming,
She’s the oasis of the Sahara,
She’s the golden fish of China,
And the gardens of the Alhambra.
When Isabel dreams the whole world stops moving
When Isabel dreams in her cradle of joy.
She steals the flowers and the works of art
In her subconscious games
Just to put them in her heart when she dreams.

When Isabel laughs, the whole world stops moving
When Isabel laughs in her cradle of joy,
You know that she’s a little thief
And she hides out in the wilderness
That the old King he tries to keep
Under the rule of the noblesse.
When Isabel laughs the whole world stops moving
When Isabel laughs in her cradle of joy,
She steals the windows of time
And she puts them inside her heart
And opens them to paradise
Every time that she laughs.

When Isabel sings the whole world stops moving
When Isabel sings in her cradle of joy
You know she’s stealing the songs
That she’s heard lovers sing
The kisses that catch the heart
Like umbrellas taking wind
When Isabel sings the whole world stops moving
When Isabel sings in her cradle of joy
She steals the velvet and silk
The singer offers to the princess
Just to put them in her voice, Isabel
When she sings.

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