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

How oft, when watching stars
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
Oft, when the watching stars grow pale,
And round me sleeps the moonlight scene,
To hear a flute through yonder vale
I from my casement lean.
"Come, come, my love!" each note then seems to say,
"Oh, come, my love! the night wears fast away!"
Never to mortal ear
Could words, tho' warm they be,
Speak Passion's language half so clear
As do those notes to me!

Then quick my own light lute I seek,
And strike the chords with loudest swell;
And, tho' they naught to others speak,
He knows their language well.
"I come, my love!" each note then seems to say,
"I come, my love! -- thine, thine till break of day."
Oh, weak the power of words,
The hues of painting dim,
Compar'd to what those simple chords
Then say and paint to him!

Confirmed with Thomas Moore, A New Edition from the last London Edition, Boston: Lee and Shepard; New York: Lee, Shepard, & Dillingham, 1876.


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  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Souvent, lorsque les étoiles de garde pâlissent", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website: 2011-07-17 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:28
Line count: 20
Word count: 137

Souvent, lorsque les étoiles de garde pâlissent
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Souvent, lorsque les étoiles de garde pâlissent
Et que autour de moi tout dort sous le clair de lune,
Pour entendre une flûte là-bas dans le val,
Je me penche à ma fenêtre.
« Viens, viens mon amour – semble dire chaque note –
Ô viens, mon amour ! La nuit disparaît vite ! »
Jamais à l'oreille d'un mortel,
Des mots, aussi ardents qu'ils soient,
Ne peuvent parler un langage aussi clairement passionné,
Que ne le font ces notes pour moi !

Alors je cherche vite mon luth léger,
Et frappe ses cordes crescendo ;
Et même si cela ne signifie rien pour les autres,
Lui  connaît bien ce langage.
« Je viens, mon amour! – semble dire chaque note –
Je viens, mon amour! – à toi, à toi jusqu'au point du jour. »
Ô qu'il est faible, le pouvoir des mots,
Faibles les nuances de la peinture,
Comparés à ce que ces simples cordes
Peuvent lui dire et lui peindre !


  • 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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Text added to the website: 2014-04-18 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:32
Line count: 20
Word count: 165