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The LiederNet Archive

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Comment, disaient‑ils

Language: French (Français)

Comment, disaient-ils,
Avec nos nacelles,
Fuir les alguazils ?
-- Ramez, disaient-elles.

Comment, disaient-ils,
Oublier querelles,
Misère et périls ?
-- Dormez, disaient-elles.

Comment, disaient-ils,
Enchanter les belles
Sans philtres subtils ?
-- Aimez, disaient-elles.


List of language codes

J. Bordier sets stanzas 1, 3, 2

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Oeuvres de Victor Hugo: Les rayons et les ombres, Volume 4, Paris, V. A. Houssiaux, ed., Hébert et Cie, 1875, pages 325-326.

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:

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Yen-Chiang Che) , "“怎麼辦?” 他們問", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Faith J. Cormier) , "How then, asked he", copyright © 2000, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Faith J. Cormier) , "How, asked the men", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English [singable] (Anonymous/Unidentified Artist) , ""O how," murmured he"
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] ((Johann) Philipp Kaufmann)

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

Last modified: 2018-09-07 14:06:56

Line count: 12
Word count: 32

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     - Emily Ezust

How, asked the men

Language: English after the French (Français)

"How," asked the men, 
"can we flee the Spanish police 
in our small boats?"
"Row," replied the women.

"How," asked the men, 
"can we forget strife, 
misery and danger?" 
"Sleep," replied the women.

"How," asked the men, 
"can we enchant beautiful women 
without love potions?" 
"Love," replied the women.

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 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
  • a text in French (Français) by Victor Marie Hugo (1802 - 1885), "Autre guitare", appears in Les Rayons et les Ombres, no. 23, first published 1838 CHI RUS
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Jean Absil, Max Arham, Georges Bizet, Jules Bordier, Arthur Coquard, Paul-Charles-Marie Curet, as Paul Puget, Léon Delafosse, Léo Delibes, Pauline Duchambge, Jean-Baptiste Faure, Benjamin Louis Paul Godard, Serge Gut, Edmond Hippeau, Jean-Georges Kastner, Louis Lacombe, Edouard Lalo, Charles Lecocq, Franz Liszt, Victor Massé, Jules Massenet, Isabelle Marie Henriette Mellerio, as Ellebasi, Napoléon-Henri Reber, Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein, Charles Camille Saint-Saëns, Marcel Trémois. Go to the text.


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

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:31

Line count: 12
Word count: 49