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The LiederNet Archive

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Connaissez‑vous la blanche tombe

Language: French (Français)

Connaissez-vous la blanche tombe,
Où flotte avec un son plaintif
  L'ombre d'un if ?
Sur l'if une pâle colombe,
Triste et seule au soleil couchant,
  Chante son chant :

Un air maladivement tendre,
À la fois charmant et fatal,
  Qui vous fait mal,
Et qu'on voudrait toujours entendre ;
Un air, comme en soupire aux cieux
  L'ange amoureux. 

On dirait que l'âme éveillée
Pleure sous terre à l'unisson
  De la chanson,
Et du malheur d'être oubliée
Se plaint dans un roucoulement
  Bien doucement.

Sur les ailes de la musique
On sent lentement revenir
  Un souvenir;
Une [ombre de forme]1 angélique,
Passe dans un rayon tremblant,
  En voile blanc.

Les belles-de-nuit demi-closes,
Jettent leur parfum faible et doux
  Autour de vous,
Et le fantôme aux molles poses
Murmure en vous tendant les bras:
  « Tu reviendras ? »

Oh! jamais plus, près de la tombe,
Je n'irai, quand descend le soir
  Au manteau noir,
Écouter la pâle colombe
Chanter sur la [branche]2 de l'if
  Son chant plaintif !


List of language codes

H. Duparc sets stanzas 1, 3, 6
P. Hersant sets stanza 4
E. de Polignac sets stanzas 1-2

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Théophile Gauthier, La comédie de la mort, Desessart editeur, Paris, 1838, page 305.

1 Berlioz: "ombre, une forme"
2 Duparc, Berlioz: "pointe"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Pierre Mathé [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, adaptations, or excerpts:

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

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Marike Lindhout) , "Lamento", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Emily Ezust) , "Lament", copyright ©
  • ENG English (Kyle Gee) , "Lament", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Alberto Bonati) , copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2003-10-20 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2016-08-27 19:22:12

Line count: 36
Word count: 167

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Language: English after the French (Français)

Do you know the white tomb,
over which floats with a plaintive sound
the shadow of a yew tree?
On the yew a pale dove,
sad and lonely in the setting sun,
sings its song.

One would say that the awakened soul
is weeping below the earth in unison
with the song.
And from the misery of being forgotten
it laments in a coo,
very gently.

Ah! Nevermore near the tomb
shall I go, when night descends
with it's dark cloak,
to hear the pale dove
sing on the branch of the yew tree
its plaintive song!

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 French (Français) to English copyright © 2012 by Kyle Gee, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Kyle Gee. Contact:
    <kyleanthonygee (AT) gmail (DOT) com>

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:
    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on


Text added to the website: 2012-08-18 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:02

Line count: 18
Word count: 97