by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation © by Peter Low

Bon chevalier masqué qui chevauche en...
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): CAT ENG GER
Bon chevalier masqué qui chevauche en silence,
Le Malheur a percé mon vieux cœur de sa lance.

Le sang de mon vieux cœur n'a fait qu'un jet vermeil,
Puis s'est évaporé sur les fleurs, au soleil.

L'ombre éteignit mes yeux, un cri vint à ma bouche
Et mon vieux cœur est mort dans un frisson farouche.

Alors le chevalier Malheur s'est [rapproché]1,
Il a mis pied à terre et sa main m'a touché.

Son doigt ganté de fer entra dans ma blessure
Tandis qu'il attestait sa loi d'une voix dure.

Et voici qu'au contact glacé du doigt de fer
Un cœur me renaissait, tout un cœur pur et fier

Et voici que, fervent d'une candeur divine,
Tout un cœur jeune et bon battit dans ma poitrine !

Or, je restais tremblant, ivre, incrédule un peu,
Comme un homme qui voit des visions de Dieu.

Mais le bon chevalier, remonté sur sa bête,
En s'éloignant, me fit un signe de la tête

Et me cria (j'entends encore cette voix) :
« Au moins, prudence ! Car c'est bon pour une fois. »

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Chausson: "approché"

Authorship

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):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Peter Low) , "A good masked Horseman", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
A good masked Horseman
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
A good masked Horseman who rides in silence,
Misfortune has pierced my old heart with his lance.

My old heart’s blood made only one red spurt
and then dried out on the flowers, in the sun.

The shadow blinded my eyes, a cry rose in my mouth,
and my old heart died in a cruel shudder.

That’s when the Horseman Misfortune approached
and dismounted and touched me with his hand.

His iron-gloved hand entered my wound
while his harsh voice was expounding his law.

And now on the icy contact of his iron finger
a heart was being reborn in me, pure and proud,

yes now, divinely candid and fervent,
a good young heart started beating in my chest!

There I was trembling, drunken, a little incredulous
like a man seeing visions of God.

But the good Horseman, back on his mount,
as he rode off nodded his head at me

and shouted (I hear that voice still):
"Be prudent, though!  It's good for only one time."

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2017 by Peter Low, (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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