Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In memorium: Elizabeth Lyzenga Waterman August 7, 1974 - March 10, 2009

My friend and freshwomyn-year roommate Elizabeth died last night after a long and wretched illness. Here is an insufficient tribute to her.

Because I was a wannabe polyglot with a voracious appetite for learning how to say stupid and useless things in many languages, she taught me this song one evening when we were walking back to our dorm:



(Today is the first time I saw the video, and ain't it weird.)

Here's the words, if you'd like to learn it. I only ever clinched the first verse, but I sing it to this day when I want to annoy myself, annoy others, or entertain myself when I am experiencing the temperament of a 5-year-old child, which is often.
Qui a eu cette idée folle
Un jour d'inventer l'école ?
Qui a eu cette idée folle
Un jour d'inventer l'école ?
C'est ce sacré Charlemagne
Sacré Charlemagne
De nous laisser dans la vie
Que les dimanches, les jeudis
De nous laisser dans la vie
Que les dimanches, les jeudis
C'est ce sacré Charlemagne
Sacré Charlemagne

Ce fils de Pépin le Bref
Nous donne beaucoup d'ennuis
Et nous avons cent griefs
Contre, contre, contre lui

Qui a eu cette idée folle
Un jour d'inventer l'école ?
Qui a eu cette idée folle
Un jour d'inventer l'école ?
C'est ce sacré Charlemagne
Sacré Charlemagne

Participe passé
4 et 4 font 8
Leçon de français
De mathématiques
Que de, que de, travail, travail
Sacré sacré sacré sacré sacré Charlemagne

Il aurait dû caresser
Longtemps sa barbe fleurie
Il aurait dû caresser
Longtemps sa barbe fleurie
Oh oh sacré Charlemagne
Sacré Charlemagne
Au lieu de nous ennuyer
Avec la géographie
Au lieu de nous ennuyer
Avec la géographie
Oh oh sacré Charlemagne
Sacré Charlemagne

Il n'avait qu'à s'occuper
De batailles et de chasse
Nous n'serions pas obligés
D'aller chaque jour en classe
Il faut apprendre à compter
Et faire des tas de dictées
Il faut apprendre à compter
Et faire des tas de dictées
Oh oh sacré Charlemagne
Sacré Charlemagne

Participe passé
Participe passé
4 et 4 font 8
4 et 4 font 8
Leçon de français
Leçon de français
De mathématiques
De mathématiques
Que de, que de, travail, travail
Sacré sacré sacré sacré sacré Charlemagne

Car sans lui dans notre vie
Il n'y aurait que des jeudis
Car sans lui dans notre vie
Il n'y aurait que des jeudis
Oh oh sacré Charlemagne
Oh oh sacré Charlemagne
Oh oh sacré Charlemagne
Oh oh sacré Charlemagne
Oh oh sacré Charlemagne…

The first verse means:
Who had this stupid idea one day to invent school?
Who had this stupid idea one day to invent school?
It was bloody Charlemagne.
Bloody Charlemagne!

"Sacré" literally means "sacred," but can be used as a mild expletive, the way that "holy" is sometimes used in English. But although one might say "Holy crap!" or "Holy donuts!," I've never heard anyone say anything that would lead me to believe that "Holy Charlemagne" would be a fair translation.

"Bloody" may not be quite right, either, since no one says it in the United States and, in the United Kingdom, I understand that it's too foul to include in a children's song. But that's what Eliz and I settled upon, so that's what I'll stick with.

3 comments:

used car said...

I am sorry.

netmouse said...

I went to high school with Liz and had seen on Facebook that she was sick but was still caught off guard when my dad just forwarded word of her passing.

She had a wonderful spirit and humor and I'm sorry I didn't stay in touch with her.

A Scot said...

Elizabeth was the most caring,happy, aware of all injustices and determined to change them, young person I ever met while I lived in the U.S.A. She made a deep impact on me. She was a wonderful gift to the world.