The Spectre of the Rose
Open your closed eyelids,
lightly touched by a maiden's dream;
I am the ghost of the rose
that you wore to the ball last night.
You plucked me while I was still pearly
with the silvery tears of the watering can,
and all around the glittering party
you paraded me under the stars.
To you, who brought about my death,
(for to chase death away is not possible)
every night my rose-colored phantom
will appear at your bedside, and dance.
But fear not, for I am owed
neither mass nor De Profundis.
This fragile perfume is my soul,
and I've come here from paradise.
My destiny was to be envied.
And to suffer such a lovely fate
more than one would have gladly died:
for your breast became my grave,
and on the alabaster where I repose
a poet, with a soft kiss,
has written, "here lies the rose
who even emperors would envy."
This poem by Théophile Gautier (1811-1872) was set to music by Hector Berlioz in 1841. The ghost of a rose that a young girl wore to her first ball comes to her in a dream, with luscious overblown nineteenth-century sensuality. It got stuck in my head today while I was taking pictures of roses, and I decided to experiment with trying to make a rose look ghostly. I came up with a few different versions, which I may post as a "pick your favorite" poll.
If you'd like to hear the music, here is a version sung by Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne-Sofie von Otter and conducted by Marc Minkowski https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFT4SZx2EE0
Warning: this is over-the-top romanticism in every way. If you don't like opera, give it a miss. Even if you do like opera, I recommend listening only and not watching the video :)
French text: http://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Le_Spectre_de_la_Rose
. The translation is not precise, it's an atmospheric singer's version with the spirit of the music in mind.