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Language: French (Français)

Dans Venise la rouge,
Pas un bateau qui bouge,
Pas un pêcheur dans l'eau,
Pas un falot.

2. Seul, assis à la grève,
Le grand lion soulève,
Sur l'horizon serein,
Son pied d'airain.

3. Autour de lui, par groupes,
Navires et chaloupes,
Pareils à des hérons
Couchés en ronds,

4. Dorment sur l'eau qui fume,
Et croisent dans la brume,
En légers tourbillons,
Leurs pavillons.

5. La lune qui s'efface
Couvre son front qui passe
D'un nuage étoilé

6. Ainsi, la dame abbesse
De Sainte-Croix rabaisse
Sa cape aux larges plis
Sur son surplis.

7. Et les palais antiques,
Et les graves portiques,
Et les blancs escaliers
Des chevaliers,

8. Et les ponts, et les rues,
Et les mornes statues,
Et le golfe mouvant
Qui tremble au vent,

9. Tout se tait, fors les gardes
Aux longues hallebardes,
Qui veillent aux créneaux
Des arsenaux.

10. Ah! maintenant plus d'une
Attend, au clair de lune,
Quelque jeune muguet,
L'oreille au guet.

11. Pour le bal qu'on prépare,
Plus d'une qui se pare,
Met devant son miroir
Le masque noir.

12. Sur sa couche embaumée,
La Vanina pâmée
Presse encor son amant,
En s'endormant ;

13. Et Narcissa, la folle,
Au fond de sa gondole,
S'oublie en un festin
Jusqu'au matin.

14. Et qui, dans l'Italie,
N'a son grain de folie ?
Qui ne garde aux amours
Ses plus beaux jours ? 

15. Laissons la vieille horloge
Au palais du vieux doge
Lui compter de ses nuits
Les longs ennuis.

16. Comptons plutôt, ma belle,
Sur ta bouche rebelle
Tant de baisers donnés...
Ou pardonnés.

17. Comptons plutôt tes charmes,
Comptons les douces larmes,
Qu'à nos yeux a coûté
La volupté!

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

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)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in French (Français), [adaptation] by Charles Gounod.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Faith J. Cormier) , "Venice", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2017-01-12 22:32:38
Line count: 68
Word count: 280

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Language: English after the French (Français)

Not a boat is stirring 
in red Venice, 
not a fisherman is on the water, 
not a light appears.

Alone on the sand, 
the great lion lifts 
its brass paw 
on the calm horizon. 

Around him, groups  of ships 
and boats 
lie like herons, 

on the smoking water, 
and their banners 
blend in the mist 
in feeble whirlwinds.

The fading moon 
half-veils her brow 
with a cloud 
sewn with stars.

As the lady Abbess 
of Sainte-Croix 
settles the broad folds of her cape
over her surplice. 

And the ancient palaces, 
and the solemn porticos, 
and the white staircases 
of the knights, 

and the bridges, and the streets, 
and the dreary statues, 
and the moving gulf 
that trembles in the wind.

All is still, except for the guards 
with their long halberds 
keeping watch on the ramparts 
of the arsenals. 

Oh! Now more than one lady
listens anxiously 
in the moonlight
for some young gallant.

More than one lady 
is getting ready for the ball, 
putting on her black mask 
before her mirror. 

On her perfumed couch, 
Vanina still holds 
her lover 
as sleep overcomes her.

And mad Narcissa 
in her gondola 
forgets herself, 
partying till dawn. 

And who, in all Italy, 
is not a little mad? 
Who does not reserve 
the days of youth for love? 

Let the old clock 
in the old Doge's palace 
count the long boredoms 
of its nights. 

Beautiful, instead 
let us count on your rebellious lips 
so many kisses given ... 
or pardoned. 

Let us count instead your charms, 
and the sweet tears 
of passion 
in our eyes!

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  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2006 by Faith J. Cormier, (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: 2006-01-10.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:17
Line count: 68
Word count: 264