Les Bigotes by Jacques Brel: English Translation

Below is my poetic translation of ‘Les Bigotes’ 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.


They grow old in little steps 
They turn from lions into little pets 
The Bigoted 
And they age even faster 
Confusing love with holy water 
Like all the bigoted 

If I was the devil watching them 
I think I’d have myself castrated 
If I was god hearing them pray 
I think I’d lose my faith 
Because they’re bigoted 

They progess in little steps 
As they confess, and they confess 
The bigoted 
The gossip and they bitch 
Until my ears begin to hiss 
The bigoted 

They dress in black just like the priest 
Who’s too friendly with the bad kids 
They’re bigots with lowered eyes 
And they think that god hides behind the lids 
Of the Bigoted 

On weekday nights after work 
We see the labourers return 
But not the bigoted 
Because they’re deep down inside their homes 
Trying not to have fun 
The bigoted 

Yes they prefer to shrivel up 
From church to church, to mass to mass 
And they’re totally proud to keep their diamond up their ass 
The bigoted 

And they die in little steps 
And slowly pile up into little heaps 
The bigoted 
And we carry then to the graveyard 
In the early morning cold 
The bigoted 

And in the heavens that don’t exist 
The angels create a paradise 
And with a halo, and two small 
In tiny steps they fly 
The bigoted

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