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It was not Death, for I stood up

Language: English

It was not Death, for I stood up,
And all the Dead, lie down --
It was not Night, for all the Bells
Put out their Tongues, for Noon.

It was not Frost, for on my Flesh
I felt Siroccos -- crawl --
Nor Fire -- for just my Marble feet
Could keep a Chancel, cool --

And yet, it tasted, like them all,
The Figures I have seen
Set orderly, for Burial,
Reminded me, of mine --

As if my life were shaven,
And fitted to a frame,
And could not breathe without a key,
And 'twas like Midnight, some -

When everything that ticked -- has stopped --
And Space stares all around --
Or Grisly frosts -- first Autumn morns,
Repeal the Beating Ground --

But, most, like Chaos - Stopless -- cool --
Without a Chance, or Spar --
Or even a Report of Land --
To justify -- Despair.

Translation(s): FRE

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About the headline (FAQ)

Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]


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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title unknown, copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2009-11-19.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:27
Line count: 24
Word count: 138

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Ce n'était pas la Mort, car je me tenais...

Language: French (Français) after the English

Ce n'était pas la Mort, car je me tenais debout,
Et tous les Morts sont allongés --
Ce n'était pas la nuit, car toutes les Cloches
Tiraient leurs langues, pour Midi.

Ce n'était pas le gel, car sur ma Chair
Je sentais des Siroccos -- ramper --
Ni le Feu -- car seuls mes pieds de marbre
Pouvaient garder un Chœur, frais --

Et pourtant, cela y ressemblait, comme elles toutes,
Les Formes que j'ai vues
Rangées en ordre, pour l'Enterrement,
Me rappelant, le mien --

Comme si ma vie avait été rabotée,
Et ajustée à un cadre,
Et ne pouvait plus respirer sans une clé,
Et c'était comme Minuit, un peu --

Quand tout ce qui faisait tic-tac -- s'était arrêté --
Et que l'Espace écarquille les yeux -- tout autour --
Ou que les gels Sinistres -- des premiers matins d'Automne,
Annulent la Terre qui bat --

Mais, surtout, comme le Chaos, -- sans Arrêt -- froid --
Sans une Chance, ou une vergue --
Ou même une Rumeur de la Terre --
Pour justifier -- le Désespoir.

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About the headline (FAQ)


  • 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 Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886), no title
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Gordon Getty, Paul Gibson. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2009-11-19.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:27
Line count: 24
Word count: 161