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The LiederNet Archive
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Little Fly

Language: English

Little Fly,
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink & sing:
Till some blind hand 
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength & breath
And the want 
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

Translation(s): FRE GER RUS

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

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):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "La mouche", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Мотылёк", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2003-09-29T00:00:00.
Last modified: 2014-06-16T10:01:21
Line count: 20
Word count: 69

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Language: Russian (Русский) after the English

Взмах руки
И – кончен срок
Игры твоей,
О мотылёк!

Разве мой
Не краток век?
И разве ты
Не человек?

Песнь мою
И танец мой
Погубит взмах
Руки слепой.

Но если мысль
Есть жизнь и свет,
А смерть – лишь то,
В чём жизни нет –

Смерти срок
Пусть недалёк –
Счастлив я,
Как мотылёк.

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.

Submitted by Richard Shaw

Show a transliteration: Default | DIN | GOST

Note on Transliterations


Based on
  • a text in English by William Blake (1757 - 1827), "The fly", appears in Songs of Innocence and Experience, in Songs of Experience, no. 10, first published 1794 FRE GER
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): James R. Adler, Jeff Alexander, Violet Balestreri Archer, Rodney Ash, Granville Ransome Bantock, Sir, Seymour Barab, Maximilian Beckschäfer, William Bolcom, Hayg Boyadjian, Havergal Brian, Benjamin Britten, James Henry Baseden Butt, John Alden Carpenter, Barney Childs, Alice Upton Close, William W. Colson, John H. Corina, Elyse Donathan Curtis, Dorothy Carter Drennan, Vernon Duke, David Andross Farquhar, Donato D. Fornuto, Maurice Green, Ole Carsten Green, David Haines, Alfred Matthew Hale, Gary Michael Higginson, Arthur Hinton, Wilfred Josephs, David Stevenson Kechley, Antoinette Kirkwood, Dorothy Hill Klotzman, Meyer Kupferman, Huub de Lange, Henry George Ley, Ruth Margaret Lomon, Michael Richard Miller, Oskar Morawetz, Frederick A. Mueller, Horace Ian Parrott, Mark Raphael, Louisa Raymond, George Rochberg, Sarah L. Rodgers, Michael Edward Rose, Gerard Schürmann, Leif Segerstam, Elie Siegmeister, Irene Silbert, Netty Simons, Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov, Øistein Sommerfeldt, Christopher Steel, John Austin Sykes, Anthony J. Taffs, David Evan Thomas, Gerard Victory, Carl Paul Vollrath, Philip George Wilkinson, Malcolm Benjamin Graham Christopher Williamson, Philip Gordon Winsor, William Brocklesby Wordsworth. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2008-01-17T00:00:00.
Last modified: 2014-06-16T10:02:34
Line count: 20
Word count: 55