Hana a Petr Ulrychovi: Nechoď do Kláštera (Supraphon, 1968)

4 Jun

A fairly straightforward song from the Moravian brother and sister duo, Hana a Petr Ulrychovi, addressing a story as old as Hamlet and Ophelia or the letters of Heloise and Abelard, where parted lovers find themselves on opposite sides of a Convent’s walls after some unspecified misunderstanding or outside attempt at separation. The version here is somewhat elaborated around the core of the Czech text, though (I think) largely within the general mood set by the original song. It may be worth noting that the lyric here is not, slightly unusually, by Petr Ulrych himself, who in this instance restricts himself to music and performance, but is written by the rather prolific lyricist Vladimír Poštulka, among whose other works is Bludička Julie, which comprised the flipside to Hana Zagorova’s far more intriguing Rokle, which has already been featured here in an English version. The flipside to Nechoď do kláštera, incidentally, is an excellent English-language song performed by Atlantis with Hana Ulrychova, You Don’t Love Me Any More. The promotional film for Nechoď do kláštera, meanwhile, can be seen here and a version of Poštulka’s Czech lyric can be read here.

Nechoď do kláštera (Don’t Go to The Convent)

(after Vladimír Poštulka/Petr Ulrych, 1968)

In grass beneath firs at the edge of a wood
this pale girl lingers, her heart possessed.
Don’t leave her there, in a veil of black,
take her hand at the door, on the convent step,
lift her, at once – she will not be saved.
Hurry, seize her while the chance remains.
Only you can bring her laughter back…

Do not disappear among these convent stones,
stay, drink the cup of love to its end,
I’ll give you the best of what’s left in me,
do not disappear among this convent’s stones.

Sad girl, let’s go far away from here,
cast off that veil of black, those rosary beads.
Take my hand at the door, on the convent step.
You will not be saved from love by prayer.
Consider this water-lily I picked by the lake,
pale as a moon, yet bright as a sun.
Come away with me, now. Let’s sing till dawn.

Take a bow, sad girl, show a tear or two,
think of a gentle song like this:
find release in this song, my princess,
come closer and closer and closer…

You can’t leave her there, in a veil of black:
take her hand at the door, on the convent step,
lift her to her feet again. You can be saved.
Your only wish, today, is to be at her side,
so run to that convent, tell her how you feel.
Hurry, seize her while the chance remains.
Only you can bring her laughter back…

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