The LiederNet Archive
WARNING. Not all the material on this website is in the public domain.
It is illegal to copy and distribute our copyright-protected material without permission.
For more information, contact us at the following address:
licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net

Sur l'eau

Language: French (Français)

Je n'entends que le bruit de la rive et de l'eau,
Le chagrin résigné d'une source qui pleure
Ou d'un rocher qui verse une larme par heure,
[Et]1 le vague frisson des feuilles de bouleau.

Je ne sens pas le fleuve entraîner le bateau,
Mais c'est le bord fleuri qui passe, et je demeure ;
Et dans le flot profond, que de mes yeux j'effleure,
Le ciel bleu renversé tremble comme un rideau.

On dirait que cette onde en sommeillant serpente,
Oscille, et ne sait plus le côté de la pente :
Une fleur qu'on y pose hésite à le choisir.

Et, comme cette fleur, tout ce que l'homme envie
Peut se venir poser sur le flot de ma vie,
Sans désormais m'apprendre où penche mon désir.

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Hahn: "Ou"

Submitted by Ted Perry


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):

  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , title 1: "On the water", copyright © 2017

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

Last modified: 2017-06-05 14:17:42
Line count: 14
Word count: 127

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

On the water

Language: English after the French (Français)

I don't hear anything but the sound of the shore and the water,
The resigned sadness of a spring that weeps
Or a rock that sheds one tear each hour,
[Or]1 the indistinct shivering of the leaves of the birch.

I do not sense the river carrying the boat,
But it is the blossoming shore that goes past, while I remain;
And in the watery depths that I graze with my eyes,
The reflected blue sky trembles like a curtain.

One might say that the waters meander in their sleep,
Vacillating, and no longer know the bank from the slope:
Even a flower that one throws in hesitates to choose.

And, like this flower, everything that man desires
Could be placed along the river of my life
Without teaching me which way my own desire lies.

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.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 in Hahn's version: "And"


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2017 by Emily Ezust

    Emily Ezust permits her translations to be reproduced without prior permission for printed (not online) programs to free-admission concerts only, provided the following credit is given:

    Translation copyright © by Emily Ezust,
    from the LiederNet Archive --

    For any other purpose, please write to the e-mail address below to request permission and discuss possible fees.

    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on


Text added to the website: 2017-01-05.
Last modified: 2017-06-05 14:22:53
Line count: 14
Word count: 136