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Le vieux vagabond

Language: French (Français)

Dans ce fossé cessons de vivre,
Je finis vieux, infirme et las.
Les passants vont dire: il est ivre!
Tant mieux: Ils ne me plaindront pas.
J'en vois qui détournent la tête;
D'autres me jettent quelques sous.
Courez vite; allez à la fête,
Vieux vagabond, je puis mourir sans vous.

Oui, je meurs ici de vieillesse,
Parce qu'on ne meurt pas de faim.
J'espérais voir de ma détresse
L'hôpital adoucir la fin.
Mais tout est plein dans chaque hospice,
Tant le peuple est infortuné.
La rue, hélas! fut ma nourrice:
Vieux vagabond, mourons où je suis né.

Aux artisans, dans mon jeune âge,
J'ai dit: qu'on m'enseigne un métier.
Va, nous n'avons pas trop d'ouvrage,
Répondaient-ils; va mendier.
Riches qui me disiez: Travaille,
J'eus bien des os de vos repas;
J'ai bien dormi sur votre paille:
Vieux vagabond, je ne vous maudis pas.

J'aurais pu voler, moi pauvre homme;
Mais non: mieux vant tender la main:
Au plus, j'ai dérobé la pomme
Qui mûrit au bord du chemin.
Vingt fois pourtant on me verrouille
Dans les cachots, de par le roi.
De mon seul bien l'on me dépouille:
Vieux vagabond, le soleil est à moi.

La pauvre a-t-il une patrie?
Que me font vos vins et vos blés,
Votre gloire et votre industrie,
Et vos orateurs assemblés?
Dans vos murs ouverts à ses armes,
Lorsque l'étranger s'engraissait,
Comme un sot j'ai versé des larmes:
Vieux vagabond, sa main me nourrissait.

Comme un insecte, fait pour nuire,
Hommes, que ne m'écrasiez vous?
Ah! plutôt deviez m'instruire
A travailler au bien de tous.
Mis à l'abri du vent contraire
Le ver fût devenu fourmi;
Je vous aurais chéris en frère:
Vieux vagabond, je meurs votre ennemi.

Translation(s): ENG ENG ENG GER

List of language codes

E. Lalo sets stanzas 1-2, 5-6

Submitted by Sharon Krebs [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)

Settings in other languages or adaptations:

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

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

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:21
Line count: 48
Word count: 284

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Here in this ditch, I'll end Life's day

Language: English after the French (Français)

Here in this ditch, I'll end Life's day;
I die infirm, and old, and worn;
'He's drunk !' the passers-by will say;
'T is well; they will not need to mourn.
Some turn their heads; a few at least;
From others a few sous are thrown;
Run quickly, hasten to the feast! --
Old vagabond, sure I can die alone.
Yes, here I perish of old age,
For one of hunger never dies;
I hoped th' asylum would assuage,
At least, my dying agonies.
But every ward is full, and worse,
So many people are forlorn!
The street, alas, was my first nurse.
Old vagabond, I'll die where I was born.
To laborers I in youth applied;
Teach me, I said, some honest trade;
"Scarce can we for ourselves provide;
Go beg !" was the reply they made.
"Work !" said the rich. Some bones to gnaw
I had from you, I will allow;
'Tis true, I slept upon your straw.
Old vagabond, I will not curse you now.
I could have stolen, I, poor wretch;
But no, I rather chose to be
A beggar; or, at most, to catch
An apple from the wayside tree.
A score of times on me they drew
The prison bolts, by king's decree;
They stole the only wealth I knew;
Old vagabond, the sun's, at least, for me.
A country -- has the poor man one?
For me, what have your grain and wine,
Your industry and glory done?
Your throngs of orators divine?
Ah, when the armies of the foe
Were fattening on your open lands,
How like a fool my tears did flow!
Old vagabond, they fed me from their hands.
Men, will you crush me like a worm,
Made but to injure and corrode?
Oh, rather you my life should form
To labor for the general good.
When sheltered from the adverse wind,
The worm into the ant will grow;
I would have cherished all mankind.
Old vagabond! Alas! I die your foe!

About the headline (FAQ)

Submitted by Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]


Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

    [ None yet in the database ]

Text added to the website: 2011-04-21.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:20
Line count: 48
Word count: 331