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La pieuvre

Language: French (Français)

La pieuvre est dans sa caverne.
Elle s'amuse avec un crabe.
Elle le poursuit.
Elle l'a avalé de travers.
Hagarde, elle se marche sur les pieds.
Elle boit un verre d'eau salée pour se remettre.
Cette boisson lui fait grand bien et lui change les idées.

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]


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):

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , title 1: "The octopus", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2009-02-04.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:06
Line count: 7
Word count: 46

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The octopus

Language: English after the French (Français)

The octopus is in his cave.
It plays with a crab.
It pursues it [the crab].
It chokes.
Haggard, it steps on its own toes.
It drinks a glass of salt water to recover.
This drink makes it much better and it changes its attitude.

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Translator's notes: "pieuvre" (octopus) is sometimes used as an ironic synonym for a French aristocrat, as the animal is considered to “have blue blood,” due to its having evolved a copper rather than iron-based blood, which turns its blood blue.

Line 4: (chokes) - after eating, the octopus ejects the shells.
Line 5: (steps on its own toes) - octopuses die soon after mating.
Line 7: (changes its attitude) - octopuses are able to mimic the opposite sex by changing color. In the poem, the octopus is female for all lines except the last, when it is represented by the male pronoun.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2016 by Laura Prichard, (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


Text added to the website: 2016-10-23.
Last modified: 2016-10-23 13:36:25
Line count: 7
Word count: 45