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Ninon! Ninon! que fais‑tu de la vie?

Language: French (Français)

(Elle s'assoupit. - On entend par la fenêtre le bruit d'une
guitare et une voix.)

 Ninon! Ninon! que fais-tu de la vie?
 L'heure s'enfuit, le jour succède au jour;
 Rose ce soir, demain flétrie,
 Comment vis-tu, toi qui n'as pas d'amour?

Ninon, s'éveillant:
[ Est-ce un rêve? J'ai cru qu'on chantait dans la cour?]1

La Voix, au dehors:
[ Regarde-toi, la jeune fille,
 Ton coeur bat et ton oeil pétille,]2
 [Aujourd'hui le printemps, Ninon, demain l'hiver!]3
 Quoi! tu n'as pas d'étoile et tu vas sur la mer,
 Au combat sans musique, en voyage sans livre;
 Quoi! tu n'as pas d'amour et tu parles de vivre!
 Moi, pour un peu d'amour je donnerais mes jours;
 Et je tes donnerais pour rien sans les amours.

[ Je ne me trompe pas; - singulière romance!
 Comment ce chanteur-là peut-il savoir mon nom?
 Peut-être sa beauté s'appelle aussi Ninon.]1

La Voix:
 Qu'importe que le jour finisse et recommence
 Quand d'une autre existence le coeur est animé,
 Ouvrez-vous, jeunes fleurs, si la mort vous enlève,
 La vie est un sommeil, l'amour en est le rêve,
 Et vous aurez vécu, si vous avez aimé.

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Franck and Tosti.
2 omitted by Tosti.
3 Tosti: "Ninon, demain l'hiver! Aujourd'hui le printemps,"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Amy Pfrimmer) , copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2016-12-03 15:30:51

Line count: 27
Word count: 189

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Ninon! Ninon! What do you do in life?

Language: English after the French (Français)


Ninon! Ninon! What do you do in life? 
Time flies. Day follows day; 
A rose in bloom tonight, is withered tomorrow.
How do you live, you who have no love? 

[ ...

Look, young girl - 
your heart beats and your eyes sparkle. 
Today is spring. Tomorrow is winter. 
What! You have no star and you're going to the sea?
You go into battle without music, on a voyage without a book! 
What! You know nothing of love, and you speak of living!
For a little love I would give my life; 
and I would give nothing for a life without love.




Of what importance is it that the day begins and finishes 
when another’s heart is quickened by love?
Open, young flower; If death takes you away, 
sleep, love is a dream, 
And you will have lived, if you have loved.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Sérénade à Ninon" = "Serenade to Ninon"
"Ninon" = "Ninon"


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2019 by Amy Pfrimmer, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on


Text added to the website: 2019-07-04 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2019-07-04 22:41:22

Line count: 23
Word count: 147