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As it fell upon a day

Language: English

As it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap, and birds did sing,
Trees did grow, and plants did spring;
Every thing did banish moan,
Save the nightingale1 alone:
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean'd her breast up-till a thorn,
And there sung the dolefull'st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity:
'Fie, fie, fie!' now would she cry;
'Tereu, Tereu!' by and by;
That to hear her so complain,
Scarce I could from tears refrain;
For her griefs, so lively shown,
Made me think upon mine own.
Ah! thought I, thou mourn'st in vain,
None takes pity on thy pain:
Senseless trees they cannot hear thee,
Ruthless beasts they will not cheer thee:
King Pandion1 he is dead,
All thy friends are lapp'd in lead,
All thy fellow birds do sing
Careless of thy sorrowing.
Even so, poor bird, like thee,
None alive will pity me.
Whilst as fickle Fortune smil'd,
Thou and I were both beguil'd.
Every one that flatters thee
Is no friend in misery.
Words are easy, like the wind;
Faithful friends are hard to find:
Every man will be thy friend
Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend;
But if store of crowns be scant,
No man will supply thy want.
If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him call,
And with such-like flattering,
'Pity but he were a king.'
If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will entice;
If to women he be bent,
They have him at commandement:
But if Fortune once do frown,
Then farewell his great renown;
They that fawn'd on him before
Use his company no more.
He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need:
If thou sorrow, he will weep;
If thou wake, he cannot sleep:
Thus of every grief in heart
He with thee does bear a part.
These are certain signs to know
Faithful friend from flattering foe.

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

J. Attwater sets lines 29-56

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 See the Greek myth of Philomela, daughter of King Pandion.

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, and transliterations (if applicable):

Text added to the website: 2008-01-13.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:34
Line count: 58
Word count: 337

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C’était un jour

Language: French (Français) after the English

C’était un jour
du joyeux mois de mai ;
j’étais assis dans l’ombre
charmante que faisait un bosquet de myrtes.
Le bétail bondissait, et les oiseaux chantaient ;
les arbres poussaient et les plantes germaient ;
tout bannissait la désolation,
tout, excepté le rossignol.
Lui, pauvre oiseau, comme délaissé,
appuyait sa gorge contre un buisson,
et là chantait un lamentable refrain
qui faisait peine à entendre.
Tantôt il criait : Fi ! fi ! fi !
tantôt : Térée ! Térée !
À l’entendre ainsi se plaindre,
je pouvais à peine retenir mes larmes ;
car sa douleur, si vivement exprimée,
me faisait songer à la mienne.
Ah ! pensais-je, en vain tu te lamentes !
Personne n’a pitié de ta peine.
Les arbres insensibles ne peuvent pas t’entendre ;
les bêtes inexorables ne veulent pas te consoler ;
le roi Pandion est mort ;
tous tes amis sont enveloppés de plomb ;
tous les oiseaux, tes camarades, chantent,
sans souci de ta douleur.
Pauvre oiseau, je suis comme toi :
nul vivant ne veut me plaindre.
Tant que souriait l’inconstante fortune,
toi et moi nous étions cajolés.
Aucun de tes flatteurs
n’est ton ami dans la misère.
Les paroles sont mobiles comme le vent ;
les amis fidèles sont difficiles à trouver.
Chacun sera ton ami,
tant que tu auras de quoi dépenser.
Mais, pour peu que s’épuise ta provision d’écus,
personne ne subviendra à tes besoins.
S’il existe un prodigue,
tous le qualifient de généreux,
et l’accablent de telles flatteries
qu’il perdrait à être roi.
S’il est adonné aux vices,
bien vite ils l’entraîneront ;
s’il a du goût pour les femmes,
il en aura à commandement.
Mais, pour peu que la fortune soit contraire,
alors adieu sa grande réputation.
Ceux qui le cajolaient naguère
ne fréquentent plus sa compagnie.
Celui qui est vraiment ton ami,
celui-là t’aidera dans ton besoin ;
si tu t’affliges, il pleurera ;
si tu as des insomnies, il ne dormira pas.
Il prendra part dans son cœur
à toutes tes douleurs.
Voilà des signes certains pour distinguer
un ami fidèle d’un ennemi sincère.

About the headline (FAQ)

Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]


Based on

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

    [ None yet in the database ]

Text added to the website: 2016-01-25.
Last modified: 2016-01-25 16:39:03
Line count: 58
Word count: 351