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The hero may perish his country to save

Language: English

The hero may perish his country to save,
  And he lives in the records of fame;
The sage may the dungeons of tyranny brave --
  Ever honour'd and blest be his name!
But virtue, that silently toils [or]1 expires,
  No wreath for the brow to [entwine]2,
That asks but a smile -- but a fond sigh requires --
  O woman! that virtue is thine!

Translation(s): FRE GER

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Confirmed with The Edinburgh Review: Or Critical Journal for Oct 1823 ... Jan. 1824, Vol. XXXIX, Edinburh, 1824, page 81.

Note: in the score of Beethoven's "The hero may perish", the words "hero", "sage", "virtue", and "woman" are capitalized.
1 in Beethoven's setting "Womankind" : "and"
2 in Beethoven's setting "Womankind" : "adorn"

Submitted by Ferdinando Albeggiani


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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (G. Pertz) , title unknown
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title unknown, copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2005-01-16.
Last modified: 2014-09-28 11:01:10
Line count: 8
Word count: 61

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Le héros peut mourir pour sauver son...

Language: French (Français) after the English

Le héros peut mourir pour sauver son pays,
  Et il vit dans les registres de la renommée,
Le sage peut braver les cachots de la tyrannie,
  À jamais son nom sera honoré et béni !
Mais la vertu qui silencieusement peine [ou]1 expire,
  Sans couronne, sans couronne pour orner le front,
Qui ne demande qu'un sourire, qui n'a besoin que d'un soupir affectueux ;
  Ô femme, cette vertu est la tienne !

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About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Title "Womankind = "La femme"
1 pour "Womankind" : "et"


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2014 by Guy Laffaille, (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.


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Based on
  • a text in English by William Smyth (1765 - 1849), "The fox's sleep" GER
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Ludwig van Beethoven. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2014-09-28.
Last modified: 2014-09-28 11:02:32
Line count: 8
Word count: 72