Language: French (Français)
Zig et zig et zig, la mort en cadence
Frappant une tombe avec son talon,
La mort à minuit joue un air de danse,
Zig et zig et zag, sur son violon.
Le vent d'hiver souffle, et la nuit est sombre,
Des gémissements sortent des tilleuls;
Les squelettes blancs vont à travers l'ombre
Courant et sautant sous leurs grands linceuls,
Zig et zig et zig, chacun se trémousse,
On entend claquer les os des danseurs,
Un couple lascif s'asseoit sur la mousse
Comme pour goûter d'anciennes douceurs.
Zig et zig et zag, la mort continue
De racler sans fin son aigre instrument.
Un voile est tombé! La danseuse est nue!
Son danseur la serre amoureusement.
La dame est, dit-on, marquise ou baronne.
Et le vert galant un pauvre charron -
Horreur! Et voilà qu'elle s'abandonne
Comme si le rustre était un baron!
Zig et zig et zig, quelle sarabande!
Quels cercles de morts se donnant la main!
Zig et zig et zag, on voit dans la bande
Le roi gambader auprès du vilain!
Mais psit! tout à coup on quitte la ronde,
On se pousse, on fuit, le coq a chanté
Oh! La belle nuit pour le pauvre monde!
Et vive la mort et l'égalité!
Translation(s): ENG ENG GER RUS
List of language codes
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: "Dance of Death", copyright © 2016
- ENG English [singable] (Peter Low) , title 1: "Dance of Death", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "Totentanz", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- RUS Russian (Русский) (Elena Kalinina) , title 1: "Пляска смерти", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2016-10-27 17:30:17
Line count: 28
Word count: 205
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
the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
- Emily Ezust
Dance of Death
Language: English after the French (Français)
Zigger-zigger-zig tapping on a coffin
here's the figure Death with a toothy grin.
On the stroke of twelve plays a crazy polka
zigger-zigger-zag on his violin.
The night is dark, the winter winds blow
the tree-branches creak in the stormy clouds
and the snow-white skeletons off they go
they run and they leap in their flowing shrouds.
Zigger-zigger-zig how they skip and toss
dancing to the beat rattling every bone.
Now a randy pair lie down on the moss
hoping to repeat pleasures they had known.
Zigger-zigger-zag Death is keeping at it
scraping out the tune on his violin.
Two have lost their wraps they are dancing naked
he gives her a squeeze like a carnal sin.
The lady they say is of noble race
her partner a lad from the market town
but oh! she yields to his close embrace
as if the young boor had a royal crown.
Zigger-zigger-zig hand in hand a-dancing
what a host of dead waltzing on the turf
zigger-zigger-zag in their ghostly party
is the king himself romping with a serf.
But hush! all at once their hands let go.
They jostle they flee they've heard the cock crow.
Oh wonderful night when poor folk are free!
So all praise to Death and Equality!
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.
- Singable translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2008 by Peter Low, (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.
(licenses at lieder dot net)
- a text in French (Français) by Henri Cazalis (1840 - 1909), as Jean Lahor GER RUS
- This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Charles Camille Saint-Saëns. Go to the text.
Text added to the website: 2008-12-03.
Last modified: 2017-06-08 21:17:43
Line count: 28
Word count: 210