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

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

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

La mouche

Language: French (Français) after the English

Petite mouche,
Ton jeu d'été
Ma main étourdie
L'a balayé au loin.

Ne suis-je pas
Une mouche comme toi ?
Ou n'es-tu pas
Un homme comme moi ?

Car je danse
Et bois et chante :
Jusqu'à ce qu'une main aveugle
Balaie mon aile.

Si la pensée est la vie
Et la force et le souffle
Et le manque
De penser est la mort ;

Alors je suis
Une mouche heureuse,
Si je vis,
Ou si je meurs.

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 English to French (Français) copyright © 2009 by Guy Laffaille, (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
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

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 RUS 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: 2009-07-01T00:00:00.
Last modified: 2014-06-16T10:03:17
Line count: 20
Word count: 78