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What is't to us

Language: English

What is't to us who guides the state,
Who's out of favour, or who's great,
Who are the ministers and spies, 
Who votes for places, or who buys? 
The world will still be ruled by knaves
And fools, contending to be slaves. 
Small things, my friend, serve to support;
Life's troublesome at best, and short.
Our youth runs back, occasion flies, 
Grey hair comes on, and pleasure dies:
Who would the present blessing lose
For empire which he cannot use?
Kind Providence has us supplied
With what to others is denied: 
Virtue, which teaches to condemn
And scorn ill actions, and ill men. 

Beneath this lime tree's fragrant shade,
On beds of flowers supinely laid,
Let's then all other cares remove, 
And drink and sing to those we love:
Here's to Neaera, heaven-designed
Perfection of the charming kind;
May she be blest as she is fair,
And pity me, as I love her.

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

Submitted by John Versmoren


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 1: "Que nous importe", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:19
Line count: 24
Word count: 153

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Que nous importe

Language: French (Français) after the English

Que nous importe qui guide l'état ?
Qui a la défaveur, ou qui est grand ?
Qui sont les ministres ou les espions ?
Qui vote pour les honneurs, ou qui les achètent ?
Le monde sera toujours régi par des coquins
Et des fous, luttant pour être esclaves.
De petites choses, mon ami, servent à supporter ;
La vie est au mieux pénible et courte.
Notre jeunesse s'enfuit, l'occasion s'envole,
Les cheveux gris arrivent, et le plaisir meurt ;
Qui perdrait le présent béni
Pour un empire qu'il ne peut utiliser ?
La bonne providence nous a donné 
ce qui est refusé à d'autres :
La vertu, qui apprend à condamner
Et à mépriser les mauvaises actions et les hommes mauvais.

Sous l'ombre parfumée de ce tilleul,
Allongés mollement sur des lits de fleurs,
Laissons tous les autres soucis s'en aller,
Et buvons et chantons à ceux que nous aimons :
Voici Neaera, à la perfection
Divinement dessinée d'une charmante façon :
Qu'elle soit bénie autant qu'elle est belle,
Et ayez pitié de moi autant que je l'aime.

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  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2012 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.


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Based on


Text added to the website: 2012-10-02.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:04
Line count: 24
Word count: 179