You can help us modernize! The present website has been online for a very long time and we want to bring it up to date. As of May 6, we are $2,380 away from our goal of $15,000 to fund the project. The fully redesigned site will be better for mobile, easier to read and navigate, and ready for the next decade. Please give today to join dozens of other supporters in making this important overhaul possible!

The LiederNet Archive

Much of our material is not in the public domain.
It is illegal to copy and distribute our copyright-protected material without permission.
Printing texts or translations without the name of the author or translator is also illegal.
You must use the copyright symbol © when you reprint copyright-protected material.

For more information, contact us at the following address:
licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
Please read the instructions below the translations before writing!
In your e-mail, always include the names of the translators if you wish to reprint something.

À une fleur

Language: French (Français)

Que me veux-tu, chère fleurette,
Aimable et charmant souvenir?
Demi-morte et demi-coquette,
Jusqu'à moi qui te fait venir?

Sous ce cachet enveloppé,
Tu viens de faire un long chemin.
Qu'as-tu vu? que t'a dit la main 
Qui sur le buisson t'a coupée?

N'es-tu qu'une herbe desséchée
Qui vient achever de mourir?
Ou ton sein, prêt à refleurir,
Renferme-t-il une pensée?

Ta fleur, hélas! a la blancheur
De la désolante innocence;
Mais de la craintive espérance
Ta feuille porte la couleur.

As-tu pour moi quelque message?
Tu peux parler, je suis discret.
Ta verdure est-elle un secret?
Ton parfum est-il un langage?

S'il en est ainsi, parle bas,   
Mystérieuse messagère;   
S'il n'en est rien, ne réponds pas;
Dors sur mon coeur, fraîche et légère.

Je connais trop bien cette main,
Pleine de grâce et de caprice,
Qui d'un brin de fil souple et fin
A noué ton pâle calice.

Cette main là, petite fleur,
Ni Phidias ni Praxitèle
N'en auraient pu trouver la soeur
Qu'en prenant Vénus pour modèle.

Elle est blanche, elle est douce et belle,
Franche, dit-on, et plus encor;
A qui saurait s'emparer d'elle
Elle peut ouvrir un trésor.

Mais elle est sage, elle est sévère;
Quelque mal pourrait m'arriver.
Fleurette, craignons sa colère,
Ne dis rien, laisse-moi rêver.

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

E. Lalo sets stanzas 1-3, 6

First published in Revue des deux mondes, December 1, 1841.

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):

  • ENG English (Victoria de Menil) , title 1: "To a flower", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2017-02-07 10:24:41

Line count: 40
Word count: 211

Gentle Reminder
This website began in 1995 as a personal project, and I have been working on it full-time without a salary since 2008. Our research has never had any government or institutional funding, so if you found the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
     - Emily Ezust

To a flower

Language: English after the French (Français)

 What do you want from me, dear little flower,
 Friendly and charming souvenir
 Half dead and half coy,
 What makes you come up to me?
 Enveloped in this style
 You just made a long journey.
 What did you see? What said the hand 
 That cut you from the bush?
 Are you but dry grass
 That has just finished dying?
 Or does your breast, ready to flower again,
 Enclose a thought?
 Your flower, alas! has the white
 Of sorrowful innocence;
 But of fearful hope
 Your leaf wears the color.
 Do you have some message for me?
 You can talk; I am discrete.
 Is your greenery a secret?
 Is your perfume a language?
 If it is so, speak low
 Mysterious messenger!
 If it is not, do not answer;
 Sleep on my heart, fresh and light!
 I know too well that hand,
 Full of grace and caprice,
 Which with a thread of supple and thin string
 Tied your pale chalice.
 That hand, small flower,
 Neither Phidias nor Praxiteles
 Would have been able to find a sister to
 Other than by taking Venus for model.
 It is white, it is soft and beautiful,
 Honnest, they say, and more still;
 For he who knows how to grab it
 It can open a treasure.
 But it is wise, it is severe;
 Some evil could befall me.
 Little flower, let us fear its anger;
 Say nothing, let me dream.

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.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © by Victoria de Menil, (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 between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:43

Line count: 40
Word count: 233