Blue (hobbitblue) wrote in linguaphiles,

French Purple.. or Crimson..?

I need some help with a colour word in French. The book of nineteenth century poetry I've got is good, and useful for me as an intermediate reader because it has english versions as parallelt texts. Only trouble is, they're verse translations rather than prose, and seem to be weighed heavier on the "produce convincing poetry using English" than "provide an accurate version of the original".

Some of the word choices are better than others, but I've got confused by one verse from the poem L'Occident by Alphonse de Lamartine. Its available online in the original language here. My problem is in the 5th verse where the word "empourprée" is used.

Et vers l'occident seul, une porte éclatante
Laissait voir la lumière à flots d'or ondoyer,
Et la nue empourprée imitait une tente
Qui voile sans l'éteindre un immense foyer;

Is this purple, or is it crimson? The english translation says crimson, but I though pourpré was purple. The French to English side of my Collins dictionary says pourpré as a colour is crimson, as an adjective is purple, but the English - French side when consulted about purple gives violet and pourpré, and for crimson suggests cramoisi

I'm very confused. What colour is Lamartine's sky, and is pourpré purple or is it crimson? And if both, when is it which?

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