by Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896)
Translation © by Jordyn Elizabeth Beranek

Les ingénus
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG GER
Les hauts talons luttaient avec les longues jupes,
En sorte que, selon le terrain et le vent,
Parfois luisaient des bas de [jambe]1, trop souvent
Interceptés ! — et nous aimions ce jeu de dupes.

Parfois aussi le dard d'un insecte jaloux
Inquiétait le col des belles sous les branches,
Et c'étaient des éclairs soudains des nuques blanches,
Et ce régal comblait nos jeunes yeux de fous.

Le soir tombait, un soir équivoque d'automne :
Les belles, se pendant rêveuses à nos bras,
Dirent alors des mots si spécieux, tout bas,
Que notre âme, depuis ce temps, tremble et s'étonne.

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Paul Verlaine, Fêtes galantes, Paris: Alphonse Lemerre, 1869, pages 13-14.

Note: All ampersands (&) as appear in the first publication are changed to "et".

1 Debussy: "jambes"


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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English [singable] (Nita Cox) , "Youthful lovers", first published 1904
  • ENG English (Jordyn Elizabeth Beranek) , "Young lovers", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Die Arglosen", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 12
Word count: 100

Young lovers
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
High heels struggled with long skirts,
so that, depending on the terrain and the wind,
sometimes a bit of the ankle flashed,
too often intercepted! and we loved this fool’s game.

Sometimes also the sting of a jealous insect worried
the beautiful neck under the branches,
and then there were sudden flashes
of white necks and so regal, filled our young crazy eyes.

The night fell, a clear autumn night;
the beautiful ones, dreaming while in our arms,
said then words so special, so low, that our soul
since that time trembled and surprised itself.


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2014 by Jordyn Elizabeth Beranek, (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.

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2014-04-19
Line count: 12
Word count: 95