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When I was one‑and‑twenty

Language: English

When I was one-and-twenty
 I heard [a wise man]1 say,
"Give crowns and pounds and guineas
 But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
 But keep your fancy free."
But I was one-and-twenty,
 No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
 I heard him say again,
"The heart out of the bosom
 Was never given in vain;
'Tis paid with sighs a plenty
 And sold for endless rue."
And I am two-and-twenty,
 And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

Translation(s): FRE GER HEB

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Steele: "an old man"

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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Patricia Dillard Eguchi) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "Als ich war einundzwanzig", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HEB Hebrew (עברית) (Max Mader) , "כאשר הייתי בן עשרים ואחת", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2015-11-02 11:26:06

Line count: 16
Word count: 82

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Quand j’avais vingt‑et‑un an

Language: French (Français) after the English

Quand j’avais vingt-et-un an,
J’entendis un vieil homme dire :
« Donne des couronnes, tes livres et tes guinées,1
Mais pas ton cœur,
Donne perles et rubis,
Mais garde ta volonté libre »
Mais j’avais vingt-et-un ans,
Inutile de me parler.

Quand j’avais vingt-et-un ans,
Je l’entendis ajouter,
« Le cœur une fois donné,
N’est jamais donné en vain.
Il est payé avec bien des soupirs,
Et vendu avec des regrets infinis. »
Et j’ai vingt-deux ans,
Et comme c’est vrai, trop vrai.

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.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Translations of title(s):
"Heart wounds" = "Plaies du cœur"
"When I was one and twenty" = "Quand j’avais vingt-et-un ans"

1 Pièces de monnaie anglaises


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2018 by Patricia Dillard Eguchi, (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 Alfred Edward Housman (1859 - 1936), no title, appears in A Shropshire Lad, no. 13, first published 1896 GER HEB
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Stephen Adams, Edwin Frank Avril, Robert F. Baksa, Arnold Edward Trevor Bax, Sir, H. L. Bilger, Allan Blank, Arthur Edward Drummond Bliss, Sir, Lorraine J. Burns, George Sainton Kaye Butterworth, Louis Crerar, Alfred Redgrave Cripps, Alan DeBeer, Tom Dobson, John Woods Duke, Blair Fairchild, Willard Samuel Fast, Robin Field, Isadore Freed, Henry Balfour Gardiner, Cecil Armstrong Gibbs, Joscelyn Godwin, William Parks Grant, Ivor Gurney, Mervyn, Lord Horder, the Second Baron of Ashford, John Jeffreys, Ora Agatha Johnson, Martin Kalmanoff, Alan Leichtling, Charles Fonteyn Manney, Ben Moore, Charles Wilfred Orr, Nick Peros, Jason Rico, Clarence Robinson, Arthur Somervell, Sir, Douglas Steele, Corbett C. Sumsion, David Van Vactor, Conrad F. Wedberg, Mervin Whitcomb, John Ramsden Williamson, Stanley Wilson, C. Woolley. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2018-08-21 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2018-08-21 06:02:00

Line count: 16
Word count: 83