by Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852)
Translation © by Pierre Mathé

The origin of the harp
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
'Tis believed that this Harp, which I wake now for thee
Was a Siren of old, who sung under the sea;
And who often, at eve, through the bright waters roved,
To meet, on the green shore, a youth whom she loved. 

But she loved him in vain, for he left her to weep,
And in tears, all the night, her gold tresses to steep,
Till heaven look'd with pity on true-love so warm,
And changed to this soft Harp the sea-maiden's form. 

Still her bosom rose fair — still her cheeks smiled the same -
While her sea-beauties gracefully form'd the light
And her hair, as, let loose, o'er her white arm it fell,
Was changed to bright chords uttering melody's spell. 

Hence it came, that this soft Harp so long hath been known
To mingle love's language with sorrow's sad tone;
Till thou didst divide them, and teach the fond lay
To speak love when I'm near thee, and grief when away.


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  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "L'origine de la harpe", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2003-11-03
Line count: 16
Word count: 164

L'origine de la harpe
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
On croit que cette Harpe, que je réveille maintenant pour toi
Était autrefois une sirène qui chantait sous la mer
Et qui souvent le soir traversait les eaux claires
Pour rencontrer sur le vert rivage un jeune homme qu'elle aimait..

Mais elle l'aima en vain, et il l'abandonna en pleurs,
Et toute la nuit elle mouilla de ses larmes ses blondes tresses,
Jusqu'à ce que le ciel vît avec pitié un amour si vrai, si brûlant
Et changeât en une douce Harpe le corps de cette fille de la mer. 

Pourtant son joli sein rose, pourtant ses joues souriaient encore,
Tandis que sa beauté marine irradiait avec grâce
Et que ses cheveux dénoués tombant sur son bras blanc
Étaient changés en des cordes claires, émettant de charmantes mélodies.

Ainsi cette douce Harpe est-elle reconnue depuis si longtemps
Pour mêler langage de l'amour et tristes accords du chagrin ;
Jusqu'à ce que tu les sépares et apprennes à la tendre chanson,
Auprès de toi à parler d'amour, et au loin du chagrin.


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2014 by Pierre Mathé, (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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This text was added to the website: 2014-04-16
Line count: 16
Word count: 171