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When you in sickness lie

Language: English

When you in sickness lie,
No more the field is green, nor blue the sky ;
No more invisible and lovely things
The forest haunt with songs and rustling wings ;
Back from my stricken sense the world recedes,
And beauty's garden is a patch of weeds.

Then can I [catch]1 in music's blithest tone
Nought but the closing cadence of a moan;
Then can I joy no more in sound unheard
Save in the silence of the written word;
The melodies that once could charm my ear
Forbode some final dissonance of fear.

Earth has no health, when health from you is fled;
No angel stands between the quick and death;
The awful unity of life and death
Is sacramental in your labouring breath;
And as I watch you I can hear Him call
Who is the king of Nothing or of All.

But ah! your nature surely cannot owe
To that grim tyrant such an overthrow;
You seem a creature of an alien strain
From force and fate, and unallied to pain;
Could you but meet their Master, little while
Would lapse ere you had won him to a smile.

Translation(s): FRE FRE SPA

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Albéniz: "hear"

Submitted by Alfredo García


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):

  • FRE French (Français) (Jean-Pierre Granger) , title 1: "Pour le meilleur et pour le pire", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Alfredo García) , title 1: "En la salud y en la enfermedad", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2008-12-06.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:01
Line count: 24
Word count: 192

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Quand je te vois souffrir

Language: French (Français) after the English

Quand je te vois souffrir
J'oublie les verts jardins, le bleu du ciel,
Les êtres invisibles gracieux,
Dont l'incessant babil remplit les bois
Loin de mes sens perclus le monde fuit.
Les parcs en fleur me semblent désolés.

Lors, la plus douce mélodie n'est plus
Rien qu'une plainte qui monte et s'éteint.
Lors je me berce, non de sons rêvés
Mais du silence d'un poème lu ;
Les chants harmonieux que tant j'aimais
Ne sont que dissonances et terreurs !

le monde entier languit de ta douleur
Nul ange ne vient désarmer la mort,
Ô sœurs mystérieuses, Vie et Mort
Qui de vous chante dans ce souffle brûlant?
Je crois entendre l'appel de Celui
Qui est le roi du monde et du néant.

Mais toi, très chère, vas-tu succomber
Aux lois cruelles de ce dur tyran ?
Tu sembles n'être point soumise aux coups
Du sort jaloux, être affranchie du mal ;
S'il te voyait, le Maître tu saurais
Bientôt par ta jeunesse le désarmer !

Submitted by Guy Laffaille [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)

Text added to the website: 2015-09-29.
Last modified: 2015-09-29 14:17:59
Line count: 24
Word count: 166